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Cuba (or Republica de Cuba) is the largest country by land area in the Caribbean. Cuba is situated just south of the Tropic of Cancer at the intersection of the Atlantic Ocean (north and east), the Gulf of Mexico (west), and the Caribbean Sea (south) [Fig1]. Haiti, the nearest neighboring country, is 48 miles (77 km) to the east, across the Windward Passage; Jamaica is 87 miles (140 km) to the south; the Bahamas archipelago extends to within 50 miles (80 km) of the northern coast, and the United States is about 90 miles (150 km) to the north across the Straits of Florida .
The country comprises an archipelago of about 1,600 islands and cays . The islands form an important segment of the Antilles (or West Indies) island chain, which encloses the Caribbean Sea. The island of Cuba itself is the largest of the Antilles chain and constitutes one of the four islands of the Greater Antilles. In general, the island is long and narrow—1,250 km long and 191 km at its widest, and 31 km at its narrowest point. Cuba is divided into 4 main archipelagoes (Fig2): Los Colorados, to the northwest; Sabana and Camagüey, both on the north-central coast; the Jardines de la Reina (“Queen’s Gardens”), near the south coast; and Canarreos, near the southwest coast. Juventud Island (Isla de la Juventud; “Isle of Youth”). It is the second largest of the Cuban islands, covering 2,200 square km.
The article was written by Emma Verdier, Dominik Glueck
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