British West Indies

The British West Indies, sometimes abbreviated to the BWI, is a collective term for the British territories in the Caribbean: Anguilla, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat and the British Virgin Islands.[1] Before the independence of many new nations, they included a larger number of islands in the region, together with two mainland colonies, all forming part of the British Empire.[2][3][4]

In 1912, the British West Indies were divided into different colonies: The Bahamas, Barbados, Guiana, British Honduras, Jamaica (with its dependencies the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands), Trinidad and Tobago, the Windward Islands, and the Leeward Islands.[3]

Between 1958 and 1962, all of the island territories except the British Virgin Islands and the Bahamas were organised into the West Indies Federation, which did not include the mainland colonies of British Honduras and British Guiana. It was hoped that the Federation would become independent as a single nation, but it had limited powers, many practical problems, and a lack of popular support. Consequently, the West Indies Federation was dissolved in 1962.

Most of the historic British territories, including all of the larger ones, are now independent as separate countries, with membership in various international bodies, such as the Organization of American States, the Association of Caribbean States, the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, the Caribbean Community, the Commonwealth of Nations and the Caribbean Development Bank among others. The remainder are British overseas territories.

The remaining British West Indies

Territories

The territories that were originally part of the British West Indies are (date of independence, where applicable, in brackets):