A legend recounts how “The Creator, at the end of His seventh long day creating the World, looked down very satisfied and very tired. He carelessly flicked off the remaining bits of clay stuck to his fingers which splashed down into what we call today the Gulf of Mexico. Then He leaned back, closed His eyes and dozed off having forgotten all about putting snow-capped mountains, glaciers, deserts, ferocious beasts, poisonous snakes, nasty insects, birds and the usual assortment of creepy-crawly things. He had also forgotten about people.”
That is how the West Indies, as we call it, came to be; countless thousands of rocks, cays and islands scattered in an emerald sea basking beneath a tropical sun.
Effectively, the West Indies covers approximately 240,000 square kilometres comprising thirty-one island nations of which seventeen are still dependences of foreign states. With a total population of around 44 million, they are grouped into three geographical areas; those of the Lucayan Archipelago which lay just outside the limits of the Caribbean Sea, the Lesser Antilles and the Greater Antilles all within the Caribbean Sea.
The largest of the Greater Antilles is Cuba, a sovereign, socialist republic with a multi-ethnical population of about 11 million surrounded by an emerald sea basking beneath a tropical sun and star-filled nights.