Dividing Up The New World
Spanish wanted only the larger, richer islands. The British and French
fought for the rest.
Although the Spanish claimed possession of most of the Caribbean, they did not attempt seriously to settle most islands except for Hispaniola, Puerto Rico and Cuba, the largest islands.
found far more profit in extracting gold from
the Indians on the mainland of South America .
Through default, the Spanish left many islands to the British, French and Dutch, allowing them to fight out any claims among themselves.
The British and French fought continually over their respective territories, sometimes swapping them back and forth as many as a dozen times.
some islands today, such as Dominica and St. Lucia, locals speak a
blend of both English and French, a patois
carryover from the continuous political turmoil.