Comprising more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs and cays, the Caribbean is the region consisting of the Caribbean Sea. It is located southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and North America, east of Central America and to the north of South America. The Caribbean is also defined to include territories with strong cultural and historical connections to slavery, European colonization and the plantation system.
The Caribbean islands are part of the larger West Indies grouping, which consists of the Greater Antilles to the north, the Lesser Antilles to the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), as well as the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The region is comprised of about 30 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies.