One of the top tourist destinations in the Western Hemisphere, Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 145 mi in length, up to 50 mi in width and 4,243 sq mi in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 90 mi south of Cuba. Its indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taíno inhabitants named the island Xaymaca, meaning the “Land of Wood and Water”, or the “Land of Springs”. Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, in 1655 it became an English, and later a British, colony, known as “Jamaica”. It achieved full independence in 1962. Jamaica is the birthplace of Reggae, one of the world’s most popular music styles.

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