Part A: POLITICAL DIVISIONS
A. Of the 51 countries or separate political entities of the Americas, 31 (over 50%) belong to the Caribbean, in both the archipelago and on the American mainland, or rimlands, to use Richard Allsopp's term. They are arranged below on the basis of official language.
List A.1 - Countries of the Caribbean
Dutch-official (5) (N = Netherlands) (10% distribution)
Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten (also English-official), the Dutch Caribbean: Bonaire, Saba and Statia (Sint Eustatius) (N), Suriname
English-official (19) (BWI below = British West Indies) (66% distribution)
Anguilla (BWI), Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands or BVI (BWI), Cayman Islands (BWI), Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat (BWI), St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands (BWI), U.S. Virgin Islands, or USVI (USA)
French-official (4) (F = France) (14% distribution)
Haiti/Haïti, French Guiana/Guyane Française (F), Guadeloupe (F), Martinique (F)
Spanish-official (3) (10% distribution)
Cuba, Dominican Republic/Republica Dominicana (DR), Puerto Rico (USA (also English-official)
A. Yes, they are part of the continental or Greater Caribbean. They are traditionally seen as part of Latin America (to which the insular Hispanic territories of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic also belong).
These eight Spanish-speaking countries are not traditionally included in the above listing (A.1) of Caribbean countries. List A.1 includes the physical islands of the archipelago (regardless of language affiliation), and the four "linguistic islands" (English, French and Dutch) in an Iberian "sea." (Latin America should really be called Iberian America, since although French is also a Latin language, French Guiana is not included in Latin America.) The four non-Iberian continental "islands" are Belize in Central America, and Guyana, Suriname and Guyane (French Guiana) in South America. (Note that Spanish is also spoken in English-official Belize.)
South and Central America are often thought to be synonymous with Latin America, but they are not. Trinidad, for example, is geologically part of both the Caribbean and South America, but ceased to belong to Latin America upon British takeover in 1797-1802.
The Association of Caribbean States (ACS-AEC) includes as member states most territories whose shores are washed by the Caribbean Sea. Included also are El Salvador on the Pacific side of Central America, and France because of its three overseas Départements ("departments") in the Caribbean and South America. (The USA is not included, although southern Florida, especially Miami, has strong cultural connections with the anglophone, francophone, hispanophone and créolophone Caribbean, and Georgia and the Carolinas share strong historical and sociolinguistic ties with the English-speaking Caribbean, and Louisiana with the French-speaking Caribbean.)
Bermuda is not part of the Caribbean due to its location in the Atlantic, but is sometimes included in a listing of Caribbean countries because of common historical links with the Caribbean islands.
Pre-Colombian Amerindians, including those who gave their name to the region, no doubt had their own worldview and way of organising their world.
PART B: GEOGRAPHY
PART C: NAMES AND PRONOUNCIATIONS
Go to Montray Kréyol for an article in French on indigenous names in the Caribbean, "Du nom indigène des îles de l’archipel des Antilles," by Thierry L'Etang.
Select Phonemic Guide (with reference to one variety of English, i.e., Trinidadian):
Here are some general pronunciation rules.
Tobago is pronounced like 'sago', 'plumbago' and 'winnebago'. Here's a limerick of interest:
There was an old man of Tobago,
Who lived on rice, gruel and sago
Till, much to his bliss,
His physician said this —
"To a leg, sir, of mutton you may go."
(Edward Lear's Limericks 1812—1888)
Like the 'a' in Tobago, the second 'a' in Barbados and the first 'a' in Grenada are pronounced /e/, as in 'bay' and 'neigh'. The second 'a' in Bahamas is pronounced /ɑ/ as in 'father', but /e/ in Bahamian (the 'a' in Trinidad /a/, as in 'bat', remains the same in Trinidad and Trinidadian, though some Trinidadians are known to say /trɪnɪˡdediʌnz/, like TriniDAYdians).
The last syllable in Haitian, St. Lucian, Vincentian, Kittitian, Montserratian and Nevisian is pronounced /ʃʌn/.
*In terms of numbers of Caribbean nations, most speak non-rhotic varieties of English — Trinidad & Tobago, the Windward Islands, and most of the Leeward Islands. (Rhotic — from the Greek letter 'rho', transliterated as 'r' in English — refers to varieties of English that pronounce the /r/ at the end of a syllable, or after a vowel.) However, in terms of actual numbers of speakers, it can be said that the majority of Caribbean speakers of English speak semi-rhotic or fully rhotic dialects of English, since most come from Jamaica (2.3 million people), Antigua, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, and Guyana.