Dividing Up The New World
The Spanish wanted only the larger, richer islands. The British and French
fought for the rest.


Island Descriptions

Hotel Search

Cruise Planning

Island Tours

Caribbean Recipes

Caribbean Weather

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.

They found far more profit in extracting gold from the Indians on the mainland of South America .

Also, the Spanish preferred not to deal with the warring Caribs.

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.

On 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.

And although these islands ended up belonging to the British, names of the towns and major landmarks kept their French names, even until today.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Sugar and Slavery

Return to History Homepage