The Caribbean or the West Indies is a group of islands in the Caribbean Sea. These islands curve southward from the bottom tip of Florida to the Northwest of Venezuela in South America. There are at least 7000 islands, islets, reefs and cayes in the region. They are organized into twenty-five territories including sovereign states, overseas departments and dependencies.
The name "West Indies" originates from Christopher Columbus' idea that he had landed in India when he had in fact reached the Americas. The Caribbean consists of the Greater and Lesser Antilles and is part of North America.
At one time there was a short-lived country called the Federation of the West Indies composed of the English-speaking Caribbean islands of the region.
The Caribbean area is also famous for its sea pirates.
-- CIA World Factbook