The Windward Islandsby Tamra B. Orr, James D. Henderson
Stretching for more than 300 miles around the southeastern end of the Caribbean Sea, from the Leeward Islands toward the northern coast of South America, the Windward Islands boast modern resort communities and warm, sunny beaches. Five countries comprise the island group: the independent nations of Dominica, St. Lucia, Grenada, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines; and the French dependency of Martinique. Settled by Europeans in the early 1600s, the islands (except France's Martinique) became British colonies that did not gain independence until the 1970s. While tourism remains an important industry in the Windward Islands, agricultural exports including bananas, nutmeg, and fruits and vegetables also help foster the economy.
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