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What does the 2nd "that" refer to in this following passage?

The story of Cabeza De Vaca and his companions has its origins in the Caribbean archipelago, that immense arch of green gems set against a turquoise sea that was Spain's first foothold in America.

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It is referring to "the Caribbean archipelago".

In this sentence, "that" is used with definition 4 from here:

  1. (used as the subject or object of a relative clause, especially one defining or restricting the antecedent, sometimes replaceable by who, whom, or which):

the horse that he bought.

In this case, it could be replaced with "which" :

that immense arch of green gems set against a turquoise sea, which was Spain's first foothold in America.

If you're curious, here is a discussion about That vs. Which.

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  • I might be inclined to say the first "that" (not highlighted by OP) refers back to "the Caribbean archipelago", whereas the second one refers back to immediately-preceding "immense arch of green gems". But semantically they both refer to the same thing anyway, so it doesn't really make any difference. Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 14:27

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