Windward Islands
English: Windward Islands
French: Îles du Vent
LocationCaribbean Sea
North Atlantic Ocean
Coordinates14°N 61°W / 14°N 61°W / 14; -61
Total islands90+
Major islandsCarriacou
Petite Martinique
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent
Area3,232.5 km2 (1,248.1 sq mi)
Highest elevation1,447 m (4747 ft)
Highest pointMorne Diablotins, Dominica
Largest settlementRoseau
Largest settlementSt. George's
Largest settlementFort-de-France
Largest settlementCastries
Largest settlementKingstown
Populationc. 854,000
Pop. density227/km2 (588/sq mi)

The Windward Islands are the southern, generally larger islands of the Lesser Antilles. Part of the West Indies, they lie south of the Leeward Islands, approximately between latitudes 10° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W.

The name was also used to refer to a British colony which existed between 1833 and 1960 and originally consisted of the islands of Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent. Today these islands constitute three sovereign states, with the latter now known as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The island of Dominica was traditionally considered a part of the Leeward Islands until 1940 when it was transferred from the British Leeward Islands colony to the British Windward Islands. It now composes the fourth sovereign state in the group.

Barbados (until 1885) and Tobago (until 1889) were also part of the British Windward Islands colony, but are not today regarded as being part of the Windward Islands grouping.

Name and geography

The prevailing trade winds in the West Indies blow east to west. The combination of trans-Atlantic currents and winds that provided the fastest route across the ocean brought sailing ships heading to the New World to the rough dividing line between two groups of islands. Those that fell to windward became the Windward Islands, to leeward the Leeward Islands.

Sailing vessels departing from Africa would first encounter the southeasternmost "Windward" islands of the Lesser Antilles in their west-northwesterly heading to the final destinations in the Caribbean, Central America, and Northern America. The chain of Windward Islands forms a part of the easternmost boundary of the Caribbean Sea.[1][2]

However, even in modern usage in languages other than English, notably, Dutch, French, and Spanish, all of the Lesser Antilles from the Virgin Islands to Trinidad and Tobago are known as the 'Windward Islands' (Bovenwindse Eilanden in Dutch, Îles du Vent in French, and Islas de Barlovento in Spanish). The ABC Islands and the other islands along the Venezuelan coast, known in English as the Leeward Antilles, are known in languages other than English as the 'Leeward Islands'.

Countries and territories

There are four countries and one territory in the Windward Islands:[1][3][4]

The Windward Islands are on the map's lower right, above and to the right of Venezuela


This section is empty. You can help by adding to it. (November 2021)

See also


  1. ^ a b "Windward Islands". Encyclopædia Britannica. [A] line of West Indian islands constituting the southern arc of the Lesser Antilles, at the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea, between latitudes 12° and 16° N and longitudes 60° and 62° W. They include, from north to south, the English-speaking islands of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent, and Grenada; and, between Saint Vincent and Grenada, the chain of 32 islands known as the Grenadines. Though near the general area, Trinidad and Tobago (at the south end of the group) and Barbados (just east) are usually not considered part of the Windward Islands.
  2. ^ Chapter 4 - The Windward Islands and Barbados - U.S. Library of Congress
  3. ^ "Windward Islands". Footprint Travel Guides. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Windward Islands". Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. Retrieved 7 July 2018.