Visit Jamaica – Background
The island of Jamaica is situated south of Cuba, east of the Grand Cayman and west of Haiti. Jamaica is about 230 km (140 mi) east/west and 80 km (50 mi) north/south. The country has a population of just under 3 million with one third of the people living in the capital of Kingston. The Arawak and Taino inhabited the island prior to Christopher Columbus claiming it for Spain in 1494. The British took it over in 165. Jamaica gained its independence in 1962, but remains part of the British Commonwealth. Today Jamaica is best known for reggae and Bob Marley. It also has been high profile at the Olympics with its abundance of short distance runners, such as Usain Bolt.