The Caribbean has 16 countries and several dependent territories. Below are each country’s capital and some information about each.
Antigua’s capital, largest city, commercial center, and chief port is St. John’s. St. John’s has over 24,000 inhabitants. More than a quarter of the country’s population. The city became the administrative capital when the islands were first colonized in 1632 and then became the seat of government after independence in 1981. Investment banking, tourism, and shopping are popular in St. John’s.
Nassau is the capital of the Bahamas and is home to about 70% of the country’s population. Nassau has about 275,000 inhabitants. Following the American Revolutionary War, an influx of Loyalists and their slaves settled in Nassau, starting its modern growth and development. Nassau is considered a city of Crafts and Folk Art as part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
Bridgetown is the capital and largest city of Barbados. Bridgetown is home to over 110,000 people. It is an important tourist destination, including a cruise ship port of call and daily flights to and from major cities in the U.S., U.K., Canada, and other Caribbean islands. In 2011, Bridgetown became a UNESCO World Heritage Site as “Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison.”
Belize’s capital is Belmopan. Due to the former capital, Belize City, being destroyed by a hurricane in 1961, Belmopan was founded as a planned city in 1970, making it one of the newest capital cities globally. Belmopan is the smallest capital city in the Americas, with a population of 20,621 people. It is also the third-largest city in Belize behind Belize City and San Ignacio.
Havana is Cuba’s capital, major port city, and commercial center. Havana has 2.13 million inhabitants in the city’s 301.77 square miles. This makes Havana the largest city by area and population in the Caribbean and the fourth-largest metropolitan area. Havana’s economy is diverse, with a mix of sectors, including tourism, biotech, transportation, and manufacturing
Roseau is Dominica's largest city and capital. As of 2011, the population of Roseau is 14,725. The capital is the country's primary port for foreign trade, including exports of banks, grapefruit, coca, and more. The official language of the city is English, while French-based Antillean Creole is also spoken. French influence can also be seen in the city's architecture.
Santo Domingo is the largest city and capital of the Dominican Republic. With a population of 970,000 people and a metropolitan population of almost 3 million, Santo Domingo is the largest metropolitan area in the Caribbean. In addition to being the country's financial, political, and commercial center, the capital is also a cultural center, and its Colonial Zone was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Grenada's capital is St. George's. St. George's is located on the hillside of a volcano crater and has a population of 34,000. The city has a significant tourism sector and has many exports, including nutmeg, cocoa, mace, vanilla, cinnamon, and more.
Guyana's capital and largest urban center is Georgetown. Georgetown has about 120,000 inhabitants living in 30 square miles. The capital is also a retail, financial services, and administrative center for Guyana and accounts for a large portion of the country's total GDP. All executive government departments are located in Georgetown, including Parliament, the Legislative Building, and the Court of Appeals.
The capital of Haiti is Port-au-Prince. With about 1 million people in the capital city and over 2.6 million people in the metropolitan area, Port-au-Prince is also Haiti's largest city. Although Port-au-Prince has a tourism industry and one of Haiti's largest economic and financial centers, unemployment and underemployment are severe issues throughout the city. Some of the capital's largest exports are coffee and sugar.
Jamaica's largest city and capital is Kingston. The capital is home to over 1.24 million people and spans over 190 square miles. Kingston is also the largest predominantly English-speaking city sound of the United States. The majority of Jamaica's economic activity occurs in Kingston, and the city has the highest number of schools, hospitals, and universities in the country. The capital's major industries include shipping, apparel manufacturing, and tourism.
Basseterre is the capital of Saint Kitts and Nevis. With an estimated 14,000 inhabitants, it is also the country's largest city. Basseterre was founded in 1627 by French trader Pierre Belain d'Esnambuc, making it one of the oldest settlements in the Eastern Caribbean. The capital is established as a financial center in the Eastern Caribbean, home to the St. Kitts-Nevis-Anguilla National Bank, the largest in the Eastern Caribbean.
Saint's Lucia's capital and largest city is Castries. Castries has over 20,000 inhabitants. It is home to the seat of government and head offices of many businesses, as well as duty-free shopping facilities and the country's main post office. Castries is the birthplace of the 1979 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics winner, Arthur Lewis, and 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature winner, Derek Walcott.
Kingstown is the capital of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Kingstown is also the most populous city in the country, with 16,500 inhabitants as of 2010. The capital was founded by French settlers in 1722. It serves as the island's agricultural industry center and as an entry point for tourists.
Suriname's capital and largest city is Paramaribo. As of 2012, Paramaribo has a population of about 241,000 people comprising about half of Suriname's population. The city is the location of the first Dutch settlement in 1613 and has remained Suriname's capital through its colonial years, through independence in 1975, and to the present. In 2002, Paramaribo's inner city became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The capital of Trinidad and Tobago is Port of Spain, officially the City of Port of Spain. The city is the second-most populous in the country, with about 40,000 inhabitants. Port of Spain is home to the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange, the largest and most successful stock exchange in the Caribbean.