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The island - "discovered" by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The Native Taino, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves.

England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually increased its independence from Britain. In 1958, it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica withdrew from the Federation in 1961 and gained full independence in 1962.

  • Negril Beach & Negril Cliffs;
  • rafting the Martha Brae River;
  • Dunn's River Falls;
  • Blue & John Crow Mountains National Park;
  • Port Antonio;
  • Doctor's Cave Beach
  • Private Jets, Helicopters and Airliners
  • Finest Onboard Catering
  • Ground Transport and Yachts
  • Luxury Villa & House Rentals
  • Local Guide & 24/7 Assistance
  • Customized Global Services
  • The State's Capital
  • Time Zone
    UTC -5
  • Telephone Code
  • Total Area
    10 991 Km2
  • Population
    2 820 982 (2023 est.)
  • Main Languages
    English, English patois
  • Currency
    Jamaican dollars (JMD)
  • GDP Per Capita
    USD 9600
  • Airports

    Tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior

    Black 92.1%, mixed 6.1%, East Indian 0.8%, other 0.4%, unspecified 0.7% (2011 est.)

    Men often pat each other's shoulder or arm during greetings or conversation.

    Ackee and saltfish — boiled ackee (a pear-shaped fruit) and salted codfish sautéd with onions and tomatoes; sometimes served over bammy (deep-fried cassava cakes) with fried plantains

    Upper middle-income Caribbean island economy; prior to COVID-19 disruption, declining public debt and unemployment; environmentally fragile economy due to hurricanes and rising sea levels; youth unemployment, and poverty

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