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Countries Quest, Caribbean

Carib people, Lake Maracaibo, Cayman Trench, North Equatorial, Windward Passage

Caribbean Sea, arm of the Atlantic Ocean, partially enclosed on the north and east by the islands of the West Indies, and bounded on the south by South America and Panama, and on the west by Central America. The name of the sea is derived from the Carib people, who inhabited the area when Spanish explorers arrived there in the 15th century. The Caribbean is 2,400 km (1,500 mi) long east and west and 640 to 1,400 km (400 to 1,400 mi) wide. It has an area of 2,718,000 sq km (1,049,000 sq mi). At the northwestern extremity it is connected with the Gulf of Mexico by the Yucatán Channel, a passage 190 km (120 mi) wide between Cuba and the Yucatán Peninsula. The Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti is a major shipping route between the United States and the Panama Canal. Many gulfs and bays indent the coastline of South America, notably the Gulf of Venezuela, which carries tidal waters to Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela. With a few exceptions the entire Caribbean Basin is more than 1,830 m (more than 6,000 ft) deep. Large areas of the sea exceed 3,660 m (12,000 ft) in depth; the greatest depth measured thus far is Cayman Trench (7,686 m/25,220 ft) between Jamaica and Cayman Islands. Navigation is open and clear, making the Caribbean a major trade route for Latin American countries. The main oceanic current in the Caribbean Sea is an extension of the North Equatorial and South Equatorial currents, which enter the sea at the southeastern extremity and flow in a generally northwestern direction. A popular resort area, the Caribbean Sea is noted for its mild tropical climate.

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Article key phrases:

Carib people, Lake Maracaibo, Cayman Trench, North Equatorial, Windward Passage, Yucatán Peninsula, greatest depth, tidal waters, gulfs, Spanish explorers, Panama Canal, Latin American countries, West Indies, Caribbean Sea, extension, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean, Jamaica, Haiti, bays, Cuba, exceptions, Central America, Cayman Islands, century, arm, flow, Large areas, United States, Navigation


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