Once a Spanish possession known as
, in 1655
it came under the rule of Santiago
(later England ), and was called Great Britain .
It achieved full independence from the Jamaica on United Kingdom 6
August 1962. With 2.8 million people, it is
the third most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, after the United
States and Canada. is the country's largest city and its capital, with a population of
937,700. Kingston has a large diaspora around the world, due to emigration from the
The indigenous people, the Taíno, called it Xaymaca in Arawakan, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water" or the "Land of Springs".
Colloquially Jamaicans refer to their home island as the "Rock", whereof further slang names like "Jamrock", "Jamdown" ("Jamdung" in Jamaican Patois), or briefly "Ja", have derived.
Though a small nation, Jamaican culture has a strong global presence. The musical genres reggae, ska, mento, rocksteady, dub, and, more recently, dancehall and ragga all originated in the island's vibrant, popular urban recording industry. Jamaica also played an important role in the development of punk rock, through reggae and ska. Reggae has also influenced American rap music, as they share roots as rhythmic, African styles of music. Some rappers, such as The Notorious B.I.G. and Heavy D, are of Jamaican descent. Internationally known reggae musician Bob Marley was also Jamaican.
Many other internationally known artists were born in Jamaica, including Millie Small, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Big Youth, Jimmy Cliff, Dennis Brown, Desmond Dekker, Beres Hammond, Beenie Man, Shaggy, Grace Jones, Shabba Ranks, Super Cat, Buju Banton, Sean Paul, I Wayne, Bounty Killer and many others. Band artist groups that came from Jamaica include Black Uhuru, Third World Band, Inner Circle, Chalice Reggae Band, Culture, Fab Five and Morgan Heritage. The genre jungle emerged from London's Jamaican diaspora. The birth of hip-hop in New York City owed much to the city's Jamaican community.