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The West Indies is a subregion of North America, surrounded by the North Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, which comprises 13 independent island countries and 18 dependencies in three archipelagos: the Greater Antilles, the Lesser Antilles, and the Lucayan Archipelago.
The subregion includes all the islands in the Antilles, plus The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, which are in the North Atlantic Ocean. Nowadays, the term West Indies is often interchangeable with the term Caribbean, although the latter may also include some Central and South American mainland nations which have Caribbean coastlines or coastlines close to the Caribbean, such as Belize, French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname, as well as the Atlantic island nations of Barbados and Bermuda, all of which are geographically distinct from the three main island groups (except for Barbados, which is a part of the Lesser Antilles, but situated in the Atlantic Ocean, east of the other West Indies Islands), but culturally related.