History of Jamaica

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Jamaica, the 3rd largest Caribbean island, was inhabited by Arawak natives. When Christopher Columbus arrived at the island, he claimed the land for Spain. Still, it was not truly colonized until after his death. But only a few decades after Columbus' death almost all Arawaks were disappearing[citation needed]. Spain held the island against many buccaneer raids at the main city, which is now called Spanish Town. Eventually England claimed the island in a raid, but the Spanish did not relinquish their claim to the island until 1670.

Jamaica became a base of operations for buccaneers, including Captain Henry Morgan. In return these buccaneers kept the other colonial powers from attacking the island. Africans were captured, kidnapped, and forced into slavery to work on plantations when sugarcane became the most important export on the island.

Many slaves arrived in Jamaica via the Atlantic slave trade during the same time enslaved Africans arrived in North America. During this time there were many racial tensions, and Jamaica had one of the highest instances of slave uprisings of any Caribbean island.[1] After the British crown abolished slavery, the Jamaicans began working toward independence. Since independence there have been political and economic disturbances, as well as a number of strong political leaders.

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Spanish rule

The settlers later moved to Villa de la Vega, now called Spanish Town. This settlement became the capital of Jamaica. By the 1640s many people were attracted to Jamaica, which had a reputation for stunning beauty, not only when referring to the island but also to the natives. In fact, pirates were known to desert their raiding parties and stay on the island.[citation needed] For 100 years between 1555 and 1655 Spanish Jamaica was subject to many pirate attacks, the final attack left the island in the hands of the English. The English were also subject to pirate raids after they began their occupation of the island.

The 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia states, "A review of the period of Spanish occupation is one which reflects very little credit on Spanish colonial administration in those days. Their treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants, whom they are accused of having practically exterminated, Morales PadrĂ³n

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