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Jamaica (pronounced /dʒəˈmeɪkə/ ( listen)) is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (145 mi) in length and as much as 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width, and amounts to 10,990 square kilometres (4,243 sq mi). It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island harboring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Its indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taíno inhabitants named the island Xaymaca, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water", or the "Land of Springs".[4]

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. With 2.8 million people, it is the third most populous anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. It remains a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and Kingston is the country's largest city and the capital.[5][6]


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