French, English and Dutch in the Lesser Antilles: from privateering to planting, c. 1550–c. 1650
The four Greater Antilles were part of the Spanish possession in America, las Indias occidentales.
Looking toward the North American coast of Florida, the Lucayos Islands, later to be called Bahamas, had been neglected by the Spaniards after the depletion of their Indian native population.
Closer to the continent than the Bahamas, and off the coast of Venezuela, were Curaçao, Aruba and Bonaire. These islands were more an appendix of South America than a part of the Caribbean archipelago.
A fourth entity was the Lesser Antilles, a chain of forty habitable islands (and many more deserted islets) which face the Atlantic, from east of Puerto Rico south to Trinidad.
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