The present paper, the first one of a series on West Indian Sponges incorporated in the collections of the Zoological Museum of Amsterdam, deals with the Keratosa. A total of 33 species is described and fully illustrated. Part of the material consists of the Duchassaing & Michelotti-collection housed in Amsterdam; of all the Keratosa-types of this collection a photographic illustration and an extensive redescription is given. Most of the type specimens are designated as (para-)lectotypes. Two new species are described, viz. Ircinia hummelincki from deeper water off Barbados, and Pleraplysilla stocki from mangrove forests in Puerto Rico. Five “forgotten” species are revived, viz. ? Coscinoderma musicalis (Duch. & Mich., 1864), Fasciospongia cerebriformis (Duch. & Mich., 1864), Hyrtios proteus Duch. & Mich., 1864, Hyrtios caracasensis (Carter, 1882) and Spongia solitaria Hyatt, 1877. Application of the priority rules of zoological nomenclature has led to the renaming of five species, viz. Spongia pertusa Hyatt, 1877 (for S. anclotea De Laubenfels & Storr, 1958), Hyattella intestinalis (Lamarck, 1814) (for Aulena columbia (De Laubenfels, 1936)), Oligoceras violacea (Duch. & Mich., 1864) (for O. hemorrhages De Laubenfels, 1936), Verongula rigida (Esper, 1794) (for V. ardis sensu Wiedenmayer, 1977) and Igernella notabilis (Duch. & Mich., 1864 (for I. (Darwinella) joyeuxi (Topsent, 1889)). New records for the West Indies are Ircinia dendroides (Schmidt, 1862) and Chelonaplysilla erecta Tsurnamal, 1967. The suborders, families, genera and species of Keratosa occurring in the West Indies are discussed; a proposal is made to give suborder status to the family Aplysinidae (= Verongiidae sensu Bergquist & Hartman, 1969). The zoogeography of West Indian Keratosa is preliminarily analyzed and some ecological remarks are made.