- 1an island country in the Caribbean Sea, southeast of Cuba; population 2,825,900 (est. 2009); official capital, Kingston; language, English.
Visited by Columbus in 1494, Jamaica was colonized by the Spanish, who enslaved or killed the native people. Both the Spanish and the British, who took the island by force in 1655, imported slaves, mainly to work on sugar plantations. Self-government was achieved in 1944, and Jamaica became an independent Commonwealth of Nations state in 1962
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