Wild Caribbean

Wild Caribbean is a four-part BBC nature documentary series exploring the natural and cultural history of the Caribbean Islands and Sea. It was first transmitted in the UK on BBC2 in January 2007. The series was produced by the BBC Natural History Unit and narrated by actor Steve Toussaint. The series forms part of the Natural History Unit’s “Continents” strand. It was preceded by Europe: A Natural History in 2005 and followed by Wild China in 2008.

From parrots and pirates to shipwrecks, sharks and glittering seas, this wonderful series reveals what really lies behind a mysterious eden. The Caribbean is a glorious spectacle of sun, sand and warm blue seas, spiced with areas of incredible cultural diversity. In our minds, it is the embodiment of paradise crystal waters, magical coral reefs, white sandy beaches an ideal holiday destination. But the real surprise is that there is a lot more to the Caribbean than this.

It has some amazing and mysterious wildlife with strange creatures found nowhere else on earth. Fluorescent hummingbirds buzz around, impossibly bright scarlet ibis fill the sky, Cuban crocodiles patrol the waters and thousands of flamingos dance in an unrivalled spectacle.

Yet behind its tropical beauty the Caribbean conceals many dark and mysterious secrets. Its violent past is manifested in volcanic eruptions, both destructive and creative, mammoth tidal waves that can flatten whole islands and powerful hurricanes that sweep a destructive passage. The cultural past has also left its mark, scarred into the character of the individual islands.

In a land we may think we know this is still a time of exploration and discovery with new locations and stories to explore. Many secrets are still hidden and many questions remain unanswered.

The Caribbean is a region consisting of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (most of which enclose the sea), and the surrounding coasts. The region is located southeast of North America, east of Central America, and to the north of South America.

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. Also called the West Indies, since Christopher Columbus landed here in 1492 believing he was in the Indies (in Asia), the region consists of the Antilles, divided into the larger Greater Antilles which bound the sea on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), and the Bahamas. Geopolitically, the West Indies are usually reckoned as a subregion of North America and are organised into 27 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies. At one time, there was a short-lived country called the Federation of the West Indies composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were then UK dependencies.

The Caribbean islands are an island chain 4,020 kilometres (2,500 mi) long and no more than 257 kilometres (160 mi) wide at any given point. They enclose the Caribbean Sea.

The region takes its name from that of the Carib, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of European contact. In the English-speaking Caribbean, someone from the Caribbean is usually referred to as a “West Indian,” although the phrase “Caribbean person” is sometimes used.


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