|an island and state in the Caribbean: colonized by the Spanish from 1494 onwards, large numbers of Black slaves being imported; captured by the British in 1655 and established as a colony in 1866; gained full independence in 1962; a member of the Commonwealth. Exports: chiefly bauxite and alumina, sugar, and bananas. Official language: English. Religion: Protestant majority. Currency: Jamaican dollar. Capital: Kingston. Pop: 2 676 000 (2004 est). Area: 10 992 sq km (4244 sq miles)|
Note: It was the leading world sugar producer in the eighteenth century, when a large slave population grew up around sugar plantations.
Note: A British colony from 1865 to 1962, Jamaica then became completely independent.
Note: The country has a high level of poverty.
Note: Tourism is a major industry.