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Discover the legendary Lesser Antilles

View of Charlotte Amalie from Paradise Point - St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
View of Charlotte Amalie from Paradise Point - St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Anthony Dezenzio

Famous for its tropical islands, pristine beaches and a rich culture, the Caribbean is known as Earth's paradise. The region is made up of a multitude of islands that are separated into groups. The Greater Antilles make up the larger islands that include Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Hispaniola (including the Dominican Republic and Haiti), Puerto Rico, and Jamaica. The Lesser Antilles form a chain of small islands that form an arc extending from Puerto Rico south to the island of Trinidad.

Despite the fact that both the islands share a rich colonial history, it is the Lesser Antilles that have become known for their vibrant and diverse lifestyle. The cultural heritage of the Lesser Antilles has had a remarkable impact on the entire Caribbean region. There are six official languages spoken on the island that include French and Creole. Since almost all of the small islands were colonized by European settlers, the European impact is notable, but differs from one island to the next based on what country developed it.

Visitors to the island of St. Kitts will distinguish the presence that the English had on the region. The island of St. Maarten presents visitors to three distinctive cultures. One side of the island is Dutch while the other side is French.

The island of St. Thomas was conquered by the Danish in the 17th century. St. Thomas had a close relationship with Europe right up until the beginning of the twentieth century when the United States purchased it. Built in 1833, the St. Thomas Synagogue is the second oldest synagogue in the Western Hemisphere and a popular tourist attraction. The synagogue was the childhood residence of Camille Passaro, one of the world’s best known and loved French impressionists.

The culture of St. Lucia is mostly dependent on the British and the French. Both countries ruled the island seven times. While the principal language is English, visitors will find that French Creole is often spoken throughout the island. African, Indian, Caribbean, British, Spanish and French also have a strong influence on the island.

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