And why don't I know this?
I grew up going on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World way before Johnny Depp was on the boat. I've been to the Caribbean half a dozen times. We have a nanny from the Caribbean.
Growing up, I said Pirates of the caribBEan ("ker-e-be-an"). But when I went to the place, I called it the caRIBBean ("ka-rib-e-an"). Then our nanny from St Vincent started, and I stared calling at as she did, and I used to: the caribBEan ("ker-e-be-an"). I figured if anyone should know, it's her.
Then, listening to public radio the other day, I heard an expert on Roatán call it the caRIBBean ("ka-rib-e-an"). I threw my hands up in the air and declared myself officially confused.
Turns out, he was wrong and our nanny, Petmore, is right. (Just as it should be.)
A quick Google search shows that many people in travel forums are confused, and a lot of people (like me) use both pronunciations. But the way it is said by the Caribs, who own the name, is caribBEan ("ker-e-be-an"), and foreigners have corrupted it over time.
So let's get it right, folks. We watch the movies, we go to the islands, we dream about the sea. It's the least we can do.