Jamaica, an island within the western Caribbean, is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. Located 145 km south of Cuba and 191 km. west of Hispaniola (Haiti & Dominican Republic), it immediately became a Spanish possession after Columbus’ discovery of it in 1494. With the British’s growing interest in the Caribbean, they drove the Spanish out of Jamaica by 1655. The island’s black population was first brought in by the Spaniards as slaves, with further importation of such Africans by the British in latter periods (in support of the sugar-based economy at the time). With slavery abolished in the early 1800s (decades before the USA), the British brought in Indian and Chinese laborers as indentured servants – which diversified the local population.
With Jamaica gaining independence from the UK in 1962, its economy became increasingly centered on tourism. By 2011, just over 3 million tourists visited Jamaica. The majority of them come from USA, Canada, UK and other countries – mainly by air, but 1/3 of these tourists arrived via cruise ship. The Jamaican Tourist Board is responsible for such numbers, since they make multi-million-dollar investments in advertising in these markets.