Jamaica officially the Commonwealth of Jamaica, is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometers (145 mi) in length, up to 80 kilometers (50 mi) in width and 10,990 square kilometers (4,240 sq mi) in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea about 145 kilometers (90 mi) south of Cuba and 191 kilometers (119 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states of Haiti and Dominican Republic. The indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taino name for the island was Xaymaca, meaning the “Land of Wood and Water” for the “Land of Springs”.
Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, it became an English colony in 1655 under the name “Jamaica”. It achieved full independence from Britain on August 6, 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 in concert with the Monarchy of Jamaica holding ultimate executive power, where Queen Elizabeth II is the current head of state and Queen of Jamaica. The head of government and Prime Minister of Jamaica is currently Portia Simpson-Miller, who holds full legislative power of the country. Kingston is the country’s largest city with a population of 937,700 and its capital. Jamaica has a large diaspora around the world consisting of Jamaican citizens migrating from the country.