Most islands experience a wet and a dry season; annual rainfall totals range from 30 to 80 inches to 2, mm but reach more than inches 5, mm on the highest peaks. Tropical cyclones called hurricanes locally frequently occur between August and October, and relative humidity is high throughout the year. The forests that once covered most of the West Indies were cut down in many areas by sugar - plantation owners for firewood to heat their refining vats. This practice resulted in soil impoverishment and erosion.
Destruction of primeval forest has also occurred as a result of slash-and-burn agriculture. Some countries have recognized the importance of the forests, however, and have passed laws to prevent deforestation. Surviving types of forest include mangrove swamps, which thrive along some coasts; semi-deciduous woodland, found in the Leeward Islands the northern group of the Lesser Antilles; the southern group is called the Windward Islands and other areas of prolonged drought ; tropical rainforest of the West Indies Blues - Various - Breaking Out Of New Orleans 1922-1929 (CD) lowlands; montane forest, occurring in wet highlands; and elfin woodlandwhich occurs on exposed peaks.
A large number of plant species in the Caribbean are indigenous to the region. At high elevations in the Greater Antilles, species more typical of midlatitude and subarctic flora are found.
Land fauna is an impoverished version of the fauna found on the nearby South American mainland. There are many rodents, including the rabbitlike agouti, and numerous species of bats and lizards. Bird species include several parrotshummingbirdsWest Indies Blues - Various - Breaking Out Of New Orleans 1922-1929 (CD)and flamingos.
The coastal seas are rich in marine life, West Indies Blues - Various - Breaking Out Of New Orleans 1922-1929 (CD) turtlesshellfishcaimandolphinred snapperbonitoand flying fish. Marine life is largely unexploited for food. The population of the West Indies is ethnically heterogeneous and largely the legacy of an early plantation society based on slave labour.
Most of the population is descended from African slaves or West Indies Blues - Various - Breaking Out Of New Orleans 1922-1929 (CD) Spanish, French, British, or Dutch colonists or is of mixed ethnicity. The French and English creoles are a blend of these languages with African and West Indian languages. South Asians constitute a substantial minority in the region, especially in Trinidad and Tobagowhere they make up almost four-tenths of the population. Chinese constitute a smaller minority, and people of European principally Spanish descent account for some seven-tenths of the population of Puerto Rico.
Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion in the Spanish- and French-speaking islands, while Protestantism is the norm in the English-speaking and Dutch territories. Emigration, moreover, has played a more significant role in the West Indies than in most other regions, having the effect of dampening population growth even more.
Emigration was substantial throughout the 20th century, and more than half of the natural increase in the region was lost owing to emigration. On the other hand, the death rate also declined steadily in the second half of the century, primarily because of reductions in the rate of infant mortality, and remained comparatively low for a less-developed region of the world.
With the exception of Cuba, which has a centrally planned economythe West Indies can be characterized as a predominantly free-enterprise market region. The economies of the region are marked by dependence on the export of a few commodities, commonly agricultural, and consequently are extremely vulnerable to external economic events. Weak and unstable foreign markets have contributed to the generally unfavourable international-trade accounts of many West Indian countries.
Virgin Islands. A number of international trade agreements, including the Caribbean Basin Initiative CBIhave been established to stimulate the West Indian economy, particularly manufacturing.
Agriculture is the traditional basis of the economies of the West Indies, but production and employment in agriculture have been declining. Most countries are not self-sufficient in food production, and cereals, primarily wheat, are the chief food imports. Songwriter, composer, arranger, and conductor, Paul Weston was a ubiquitous presence from the late 's through the 's. This 4CD set features a good selection of Weston's work as orchestra leader, both alone and backing other vocalists.
Four CD set with tracks. Although best known for having recorded some of the greatest pre-war country blues performances the label recorded a wide range of music. Four CDs with tracks of jazz and some blues recorded for the Starr Piano Company's small but important Gennett label between and Advanced Search Find a Library.
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