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Dictionary Project, Volume X: West Indies

The Dictionary Project is a post-a-day exploration of The Century Dictionary and Cylopedia, a twelve-volume set printed in New York in 1901. The Project runs from October 1, 2014 to September 30, 2015, and matches volume numbers to calendar months. Volume X is The Atlas, and today is Day 7.

Every time I see a map of this part of the world, I’m surprised how much closer Cuba is to Florida than my mind’s eye pictures it. At least it is south of Florida, unlike “the Bermudas” and the Bahamas. Click on the photo to open the map in a new window, enlarge, and surf around inside.

IMG_1874I am fascinated by maps of island chains, and this one is no exception. I love the names: Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles (including the Leeward Islands and the Windward Islands), the Grenadines. I say “oh, that’s where that is!” a lot when looking at maps of island chains. My understanding of geography is directly improved by travelling, I find, and I’ve never been to any of the places shown on this map. It’s all a blur in my mind’s eye, where Cuba lies a bit further east and Bermuda is in the Caribbean.

I was amazed to discover that Bermuda is out there quite alone in the Atlantic, much further north than I thought. It’s about 1439 km (900 mi.) off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina. The nearest airport (still 1100 km away) is in Norfolk, Virginia! And at the time this map was made, there were regular sailings between Hamilton and New York.

Have you been to any of these islands? Would you go back, or recommend it to someone else?

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