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Flag of Jamaica Coat of arms of Jamaica
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Jamaica ( /əˈmkə/ ( About this sound listen)) is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola). Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola (the island containing the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic); the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands lies some 215 kilometres (134 mi) to the north-west.

Originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people were either killed or died of diseases to which they had no immunity, after which the Spanish then brought large numbers of African slaves to Jamaica as labourers. The island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered it, renaming it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with a plantation economy dependent on the African slaves and later their descendants. The British fully emancipated all slaves in 1838, and many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British began using Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations. The island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962.

With 2.9 million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas (after the United States and Canada), and the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean. Kingston is the country's capital and largest city. The majority of Jamaicans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, with significant European, East Asian (primarily Chinese), Indian, Lebanese, and mixed-race minorities. Due to a high rate of emigration for work since the 1960s, there is a large Jamaican diaspora, particularly in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The country has a global influence that belies its small size; it was the birthplace of the Rastafari religion, reggae music (and associated genres such as dub, ska and dancehall), and it is internationally prominent in sports, most notably cricket, sprinting and athletics.

Jamaica is an upper-middle income country with an economy heavily dependent on tourism; it has an average of 4.3 million tourists a year. Politically it is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as its queen. Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, an office held by Patrick Allen since 2009. Andrew Holness has served as Prime Minister of Jamaica since March 2016. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with legislative power vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, consisting of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives. ( Full article...)

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"Trinity Estate, St. Mary's" by James Hakewill, 1820-21.

Trinity was a plantation in colonial Jamaica, located south of Port Maria, in Saint Mary Parish, one of several plantations owned by Zachary Bayly that formed part of the area known as Bayly's Vale. By the early nineteenth century, over 1,000 people were enslaved there producing mainly sugar and rum for which a mile-long aqueduct was built by Nathaniel Bayly to supply water for the refining process.

In 1760, slaves from Trinity started a rebellion which grew to over 400 slaves, but was put down with troops sent by the Governor. ( Full article...)
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Holness in 2020

Andrew Michael Holness, ON PC (born 22 July 1972) is a Jamaican politician who has been the Prime Minister of Jamaica since 3 March 2016, following the 2016 Jamaican general election. Holness previously served as prime minister from October 2011 to 5 January 2012. He succeeded Bruce Golding as prime minister, and decided to go to the polls in the 29 December 2011 general election in an attempt to get his own mandate from the Jamaican electorate. He failed in that bid, however, losing to the People's National Party led by Portia Simpson-Miller, with the PNP gaining 42 seats to the Jamaica Labour Party's 21. Following that defeat, Holness served as Leader of the Opposition from January 2012 to March 2016, when he once again assumed the position of prime minister. In 2020, The Labour Party won a landslide in another general election, and on 7 September Holness was sworn in for another term as prime minister.

Holness is the youngest person to have been elected and reelected prime minister in Jamaica's history. He is also the first prime minister to have been born after Jamaica gained independence in 1962. ( Full article...)

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Maymie de Mena (December 10, 1879 – October 23, 1953, also known as Maymie Aiken or Madame DeMena Aiken in her later career) was an American-born activist who became one of the highest-ranking officers in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She has been credited with keeping the organization alive after Marcus Garvey's conviction for mail fraud and deportation from the United States.

De Mena was born into a Creole family in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, and obtained her education in the United States before marrying a Nicaraguan and moving to Central America. After a decade in which she raised a daughter and taught school, she divorced, returned to the U.S., and joined the UNIA. Quickly rising in the ranks from a translator, because she was fluent in Spanish, de Mena became one of the leaders of the pan-African movement. She was responsible for increasing the membership of the organization in the Caribbean and Latin America. When Garvey was deported from the U.S. to Jamaica, de Mena became Garvey's official representative in New York and was the first woman to carry such a high distinction in the organization. ( Full article...)

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Buju Banton performing at New York's Apollo theater during the 26th International Reggae & World Music Awards
Credit: Gregg
Buju Banton performing at New York's Apollo Theater during the 26th International Reggae & World Music Awards, 2007

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