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Year round temperatures stay pleasantly around the 75 Fahrenheit mark. The only weather changes to mar the islands' natural beauty are the yearly summer hurricanes. At 80 to 120 miles per hour, and anywhere from 375 to 500 miles in diameter, they can and have been very destructive.

The European history of the West Indies begins when the Spanish landed in the late 1400's, followed by the British, French, and Dutch. Through ensuing wars, decease and piracy, the native population that was estimated anywhere between 200,000 and several million, became extinct. When the raising of sugarcane began, millions of slaves were brought from Africa to work on the plantations. Eventually, the African peoples became the majority and today, about 70 percent of the people living on most of the islands are of African descent. The next immigration of large numbers took place after the emancipation of the slaves. Today, almost half of the population in countries such as Trinidad and Tobago are Hindustanis from East India. Other races in the West Indies are Portuguese, Chinese and a growing number of North Americans.

Although the islands export sugar and other commodities, the influx of visitors is becoming more important and depended upon.


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