- from Caribbean
When someone says the word Caribbean, you might think of a tropical vacation paradise. The islands in the Caribbean Sea are a place to play for many, but they are also home to about 40 million people.
A few can trace their roots to the first settlers – Ciboney, Arawak, and Carib – who sailed over from South America. Others are descended from European colonists of different nationalities. Some are of East Indian ancestry. Still others are descendants of Africans brought to the islands as enslaved people. And, of course, many islanders have mixed heritages.
The first Europeans who saw the islands got there in 1492 on three ships captained by Christopher Columbus. He believed he had arrived in the East Indies, a part of Asia. Years later, it became clear that Columbus was wrong. He had come upon and claimed a part of the world Europeans did not know about at the time. The islands were named the West Indies, to distinguish them from the East Indies.