History of West Indies. West Indies culture, West Indies people, West Indies facts, West Indies location, West Indies information. Introduction; West Indies are Spanish Indias Occidentales, French Indes Occidentales, Dutch West-Indië, are crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles (3,200 km) long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north. From the peninsula of Florida on the mainland of the United States, the islands stretch 1,200 miles (1,900 km) southeastward, then 500 miles (800 km) south, then west along the north coast of Venezuela on the South American mainland. “West Indies History” West Indies history book.