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Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.
Arm of the Atlantic Ocean. It covers about 1,063,000 sq mi (2,753,000 sq km) and washes the northern coast of South America, eastern Central America, and eastern Mexico. It reaches its greatest known depth, about 25,216 ft (7,686 m), in Cayman Trench, between Cuba and Jamaica. Its generally tropical climate varies, depending on mountain elevations, water currents, and trade winds. The economies of its island countries, including Saint Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, Saint Lucia, and Barbados, are greatly dependent on tourism; the region is one of the world's principal winter resort areas.
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