The British leaders agreed with the viability of this strategy to forestall outside aggression.During the centuries of slavery, Maroons established free communities in the mountainous interior of Jamaica, where they maintained their freedom and independence for generations.Jamaica is a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state.Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, an office held by Sir Patrick Allen since 2009.Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola (the island containing the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic).Previously inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494.
The south coast of Jamaica was the most populated, especially around the area now known as Old Harbour. Ann's Bay was named "Saint Gloria" by Columbus, as the first sighting of the land. Ann's Bay is the site of the first Spanish settlement on the island, Sevilla, which was established in 1509 and abandoned around 1524 because it was deemed unhealthy.With 2.9 million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas (after the United States and Canada), and the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean.Kingston is the country's capital and largest city, with a population of 937,700.Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and then forcibly converted to Christianity in Portugal, during a period of persecution by the Inquisition.Some Spanish and Portuguese Jewish refugees went to the Netherlands and England, and from there to Jamaica.The Spanish were forcibly evicted by the English at Ocho Rios in St. In the 1655 Invasion of Jamaica, the English, led by Sir William Penn and General Robert Venables, took over the last Spanish fort on the island.