Protestantism in the Caribbean

The Anglophone Caribbean stands out as unique from its neighbors in many ways. Although language is one easy way to differentiate these islands, religion is another. Protestant beliefs are a mainstay of most English-speaking Caribbean islands, though specific denominations do differ.

British immigrants to the islands were often, though not always, Anglican - meaning they worship under the Church of England. This same church is called the Episcopal church in the United States. Many other British immigrants were Catholic, but other Protestant faiths have easily surpassed Catholicism on many islands that hosted British settlers.

Recent census data about a number of Caribbean islands shows the breakdown of their Protestant groups. However, most islands list a category of "Other Protestant," which is not listed in the breakdown of the following chart but is factored into the total percent value:

Island Total % Protestants Individual Groups
Anguilla 83.1 Anglican: 29%
Methodist: 23.9%
Aruba 8 N/A
The Bahamas 82.8 Baptist: 35.4%
Anglican: 15.1%
Pentecostal: 8.1%
Church of God: 4.8%
Methodist: 4.2%
Barbados 67 Anglican: 40%
Pentecostal: 8%
Methodist: 7%
Bermuda 52
Anglican: 23%
African Methodist Episcopal: 11%
British Virgin Islands 86 Methodist: 33%
Anglican: 17%
Church of God: 9%
Seventh-Day Adventist: 5%
Baptist: 4%
Jehovah's Witness: 2%
Dominica 15 Methodist: 5%
Pentecostal: 3%
Seventh-Day Adventist: 3%
Baptist: 2%
Grenada 45.8 Anglican: 13.8%
Guadeloupe 1 N/A
Martinique 10.5 N/A
Netherlands Antilles
(Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten)
16.1 Pentecostal: 4.9%
Seventh-Day Adventist: 3.1%
Methodist: 2.9%
Jehovah's Witness: 1.7%
Puerto Rico 15 * Number includes Protestant faiths and "other"
St. Lucia 22.8 Seventh-Day Adventist: 8.5%
Pentecostal: 5.7%
Anglican: 2%
Evangelical: 2%

Trinidad and Tobago
31.6 Anglican: 7.8%
Baptist: 7.2%
Pentecostal: 6.8%
Seventh-Day Adventist: 4%
Turks and Caicos 86 Baptist: 40%
Anglican: 18%
Methodist: 16%
Church of God: 12%
U.S. Virgin Islands 59 Baptist: 42%
Episcopalian: 17%

The Baptist church has spread widely among islands that have a great deal of contact with the United States. Trinidad also is unique, as a large number of its residents are Hindu because of the many indentured servants who came from India. While Protestants as a whole make up the islands' largest group, the Hindu portion of the population is larger than any of the individual Protestant denominations.

Another important religious change occurred when African Myalism - a spiritual faith that relied heavily on pagan practices - was joined with the Methodist and Baptist churches. Revivalism, the name given to this new fusion of religious groups, includes trances and manifestations by the Holy Spirit, but also (importantly) allowed blacks to become ministers. Zion Revivalism and Rastafarianism each took Afro-Christian beliefs a step further.

There is a representation of nearly every Protestant group found throughout the Caribbean. Islanders follow a wide variety of spiritual beliefs, from the Anglicans who follow the doctrines of the Church of England to the Revivalist Christians, who have combined non-Western spiritual beliefs with those of Methodist and Baptist Christianity.


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