Jamaica is a nation that is comprised of many islands and is found in the Caribbean Sea. It is the third-largest island in both the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean, with a total area of 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 square miles) (after Cuba and Hispaniola). Jamaica is located approximately 145 kilometres (90 miles) south of Cuba and 191 kilometres (119 miles) west of Hispaniola, which is the island that is home to both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands is located approximately 215 kilometres (134 miles) to the north-west of Jamaica.
Following Christopher Columbus's arrival in 1494, the island, which had been inhabited by the indigenous Taino peoples for most of its history, fell under the control of the Spanish. After a significant proportion of Jamaica's indigenous population had been either eradicated or taken by illness, the Spanish colonisers brought vast numbers of African slaves to the island to work in the sugar cane fields. After being given the name Santiago by the Spanish, the island continued to be a territory of Spain until 1655, when it was acquired by England (which would eventually become Great Britain) and renamed Jamaica. Jamaica became a top exporter of sugar while under the control of the British colonial government. The economy of the island was based on the labour of African slaves and, subsequently, the descendants of those slaves. In 1838, the British government granted complete freedom to all slaves, and many of those newly-freed people decided to start their own subsistence farms rather than labour on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British government started using Chinese and Indian people who were held in indentured servitude in order to labour on plantations. On August 6, 1962, the island broke away from the control of the United Kingdom and became independent.
Jamaica's population of 2.8 million makes it the fourth-most populated nation in the Caribbean and the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, behind only the United States and Canada. Jamaica is also the third-most populous country in the Caribbean. Both the nation's capital and its biggest city are located in Kingston. A substantial minority of Jamaicans are of European, East Asian (mainly Chinese), Indian, Lebanese, and mixed-race descent, although the bulk of Jamaicans have ancestry that originates in sub-Saharan Africa. Since the 1960s, there has been a significant increase in the number of Jamaicans leaving the country in search of employment. As a result, there is a sizeable Jamaican diaspora, mainly in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and Canada. It was the origin of the Rastafari religion, reggae music (and allied genres like as dub, ska, and dancehall), and it is globally notable in sports, most notably cricket, sprinting, and athletics. The country has a worldwide impact that defies its modest size. The island nation of Jamaica is often cited as the cultural powerhouse with the smallest population in the world.
Jamaica is a nation with an upper-middle class and an economy that is highly reliant on tourism; the country receives an annual average of 4.3 million visitors. On the other hand, it has a terrible rating when it comes to the civil rights of LGBT people, coming in dead bottom in the Western Hemisphere. In terms of politics, it is a Commonwealth country, and Queen Elizabeth II serves as its head of state. Patrick Allen has held the position of Governor-General of Jamaica since 2009, and she is represented in the nation by a representative who was selected by the Queen. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, and its legislative authority is vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, which is comprised of an appointed Senate and a House of Representatives that is elected directly by the people.