San Andrés Island

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San Andrés Island

San Andrés is the largest and most populous of the islands comprising the Colombian department of San Andrés y Providencia, located slightly more than a hundred miles east of Nicaragua and about four hundred miles northwest of Cartagena, Colombia. There was no permanent colonization of San Andrés until the eighteenth century, when settlers arrived from Jamaica, closely connecting the island to other British settlements on the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua. Spanish claims to the islands were recognized in the Convention of London in 1786, but a strong African-English cultural and economic influence remains. Colombia claimed the islands in 1810, although Nicaragua maintains a claim.

San Andrés was declared a free port in 1953, greatly increasing its economic activity, and an airport was built in 1955. San Andrés' population has grown slowly from about 3,000 in 1900 to over 100,000 in 2006. Over 60 percent are Spanish-speaking Colombians.

See alsoDrugs and Drug Trade; Nicaragua.


Morren, R. C. "Creole-Based Trilingual Education in the Caribbean Archipelago of San Andre's, Providence and Santa Catalina," Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 22:3 (2002): 227-241.

                                   Anthony P. Maingot

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San Andrés Island

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