Definition of Terms & History

West Indies:
A. In a broader sense, (Time Encyclopedia 1277) 
1. The chain of islands extending from Florida to the North coast of South America, separating the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico from the Atlantic Ocean.  Also called Antilles (excluding Bahamas). 
2. Including three groups: a. the Bahamas to the North East of Cuba 
                                         b. the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, 
                                       Jamaica and Puerto Rico 
                                         c. the Lesser Antilles (Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, & other 
                                             windward and leeward islands). 
B. In a narrower sense, (Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English 199-)
1. Called "British West Indies" before the Caribbean nations gained independence in 1960's. 
2. Concept resulting from Christopher Columbus' mistake in thinking that he had reached India. 
3. Strictly speaking, 'West Indies' refers to the Anglophone islands, but has been used more widely and conveniently to include as well the former British mainland territories, more or less adjacent to the Caribbean, of Belize in Central America, and Guyana in South America. 
4. Sometimes even including Bahamas and Bermuda.
West Indian Literature:
1. Anglophone Caribbean literature, sometimes called "Commonwealth Caribbean Literature." 
2. Literature of the Caribbean diaspora in U.K., U.S. and Canada.
Caribbean Literature
1. to define the literatures not linguistically but geographically. 
2. showing the awareness of the pan-Caribbean context of West Indian literature. 
Important Names: Trinidad-- CLR James, Eric Williams, V.S. Naipaul, The Mighty Sparrow, Neil Bissoondath
Barbados--George Lamming, Austin Clark 
Martinique--Aime Cesaire 
St Lucia--Derek Walcott (Get more names from Relevant Links page)