The Caribbean sea is the fifth largest body of water with a total area of 970,000 square miles. It is slightly bigger than the Mediterranean.
It stretches from the western part of the Atlantic Ocean between Cuba to the north and the northern coasts of South America to the south. Central America is to the west and to the east are the West Indies. It is linked with the Gulf of Mexico via the Yucatan Strait. It is from here that the Gulf Stream turns towards Europe.
The Caribbean Sea was named after the Carib Indians who inhabited the area when it was reached by Spanish explorers, beginning with Christopher Columbus in 1492.
The Caribbean Sea as well as the English word cannibal are results of the Arawakan equivalent of Carib. Today the term Cariban is used to designate a linguistic group that includes not only the language of the Antillean Carib, but also many related Indian languages spoken in South America. In traditional Caribbean society, Men spoke the Caribe language and women used Arawark.
The Island Carib were warlike immigrants from the mainland. They were expert navigators, who made distant raids in large dugout canoes. Internal conflict was common in their non-stratified society. The men strove to be individualistic warriors and boasted of their heroic exploits. Carib people of the South American mainland lived in the Guianas. Some were also warlike and were alleged to have practiced cannibalism. But, most of them were less aggressive than Antillean people. They lived in small villages and haunted animals by arrow or bow. Their culture was typical of a tribe of the tropical forest.