Belize is a country located on the eastern coast of Central America. Belize is bordered on the northwest by Mexico, on the east by the Caribbean Sea, on the south and west by Guatemala, it has an area of 22,970 square kilometres and a population of 387,879. Its mainland is 68 mi wide, it has the lowest population density in Central America. The country's population growth rate of 1.87% per year is the second highest in the region and one of the highest in the Western Hemisphere. The Mayan civilization spread into the area of Belize between 1500 B. C. and 300 A. D. and flourished until about 1200. European exploration campaigns began in 1502 when Christopher Columbus sailed along the Gulf of Honduras. European settlement was begun by English settlers in 1638; this period was marked by Spain and Britain both laying claim to the land until Britain defeated the Spanish in the Battle of St. George's Caye, it became a British colony in 1840, known as British Honduras, a Crown colony in 1862. Independence was achieved from the United Kingdom on 21 September 1981.
Belize has a diverse society, composed of many cultures and languages that reflect its rich history. English is the official language of Belize. Over half the population is multilingual, with Spanish being the second most common spoken language, it is known for its extensive barrier reef coral reefs and punta music. Belize's abundance of terrestrial and marine species and its diversity of ecosystems give it a key place in the globally significant Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, it is considered a Central American and Caribbean nation with strong ties to both the American and Caribbean regions. It is a member of the Caribbean Community, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Central American Integration System, the only country to hold full membership in all three regional organisations. Belize is a Commonwealth realm, with Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state; the earliest known record of the name "Belize" appears in the journal of the Dominican priest Fray José Delgado, dating to 1677.
Delgado recorded the names of three major rivers that he crossed while travelling north along the Caribbean coast: Rio Soyte, Rio Xibum and Rio Balis. The names of these waterways, which correspond to the Sittee River, Sibun River and Belize River, were provided to Delgado by his translator, it is that Delgado's "Balis" was the Mayan word belix, meaning "muddy-watered". Some have suggested that the name derives from a Spanish pronunciation of the name of the Scottish buccaneer Peter Wallace, who established a settlement at the mouth of the Belize River in 1638. There is no proof that Wallace settled in this area and some scholars have characterized this claim as a myth. Writers and historians have suggested several other possible etymologies, including postulated French and African origins; the Maya civilization emerged at least three millennia ago in the lowland area of the Yucatán Peninsula and the highlands to the south, in the area of present-day southeastern Mexico, Belize and western Honduras.
Many aspects of this culture persist in the area despite nearly 500 years of European domination. Prior to about 2500 BC, some hunting and foraging bands settled in small farming villages. A profusion of languages and subcultures developed within the Maya core culture. Between about 2500 BC and 250 AD, the basic institutions of Maya civilization emerged; the peak of this civilization occurred during the classic period, which began about 250 AD. The Maya civilization spread across what is now Belize around 1500 BC, flourished there until about AD 900; the recorded history of the middle and southern regions is dominated by Caracol, an urban political centre that may have supported over 140,000 people. North of the Maya Mountains, the most important political centre was Lamanai. In the late Classic Era of Maya civilisation, as many as one million people may have lived in the area, now Belize; when Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, the area, now Belize included three distinct Maya territories: Chetumal province, which encompassed the area around Corozal Bay.
Spanish conquistadors explored the land and declared it a Spanish colony but chose not to settle and develop because of its lack of resources and the hostile Indian tribes of the Yucatán. English and Scottish settlers and pirates known as the Baymen entered the area from the 17th century, with Baymen first settling on the coast of what is now Belize in 1638, seeking a sheltered region from which they could attack Spanish ships; the settlers established a trade colony and port in what became the Belize District, during the 18th century, established a system using black slaves to cut logwood trees. This yielded a valuable fixing agent for clothing dyes, was one of the first ways to achieve a fast black before the advent of artificial dyes; the Spanish granted the British settlers the right to occupy the area and cut logwood in exchange for their help suppressing piracy. The British first appointed a superintendent over the Belize area in 1786. Before the British government had not recognized the settlement as a colony for fear of provoking a Spanish attack.
The delay in governm
The Dominican Republic is a country located in the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two sovereign states; the Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area at 48,671 square kilometers, third by population with 10 million people, of which three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city. Christopher Columbus landed on the island on December 5, 1492, which the native Taíno people had inhabited since the 7th century; the colony of Santo Domingo became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, the oldest continuously inhabited city, the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World. After more than three hundred years of Spanish rule the Dominican people declared independence in November 1821.
The leader of the independence movement José Núñez de Cáceres, intended the Dominican nation to unite with the country of Gran Colombia, but no longer under Spain's custody the newly independent Dominicans were forcefully annexed by Haiti in February 1822. Independence came 22 years after victory in the Dominican War of Independence in 1844. Over the next 72 years the Dominican Republic experienced internal conflicts and a brief return to colonial status before permanently ousting Spanish rule during the Dominican War of Restoration of 1863–1865. A United States occupation lasted eight years between 1916 and 1924, a subsequent calm and prosperous six-year period under Horacio Vásquez was followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo until 1961. A civil war in 1965, the country's last, was ended by U. S. military occupation and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer, the rules of Antonio Guzmán & Salvador Jorge Blanco. Since 1996, the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy and has been led by Leonel Fernández for most of the time since 1996.
Danilo Medina, the Dominican Republic's current president, succeeded Fernandez in 2012, winning 51% of the electoral vote over his opponent ex-president Hipólito Mejía. The Dominican Republic has the ninth-largest economy in Latin America and is the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Over the last two decades, the Dominican Republic has had one of the fastest-growing economies in the Americas – with an average real GDP growth rate of 5.4% between 1992 and 2014. GDP growth in 2014 and 2015 reached 7.3 and 7.0% the highest in the Western Hemisphere. In the first half of 2016 the Dominican economy grew 7.4% continuing its trend of rapid economic growth. Recent growth has been driven by construction, manufacturing and mining; the country is the site of the second largest gold mine in the Pueblo Viejo mine. Private consumption has been strong, as a result of low inflation, job creation, as well as a high level of remittances; the Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean.
The year-round golf courses are major attractions. A geographically diverse nation, the Dominican Republic is home to both the Caribbean's tallest mountain peak, Pico Duarte, the Caribbean's largest lake and point of lowest elevation, Lake Enriquillo; the island has an average temperature of biological diversity. The country is the site of the first cathedral, castle and fortress built in the Americas, located in Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone, a World Heritage Site. Music and sport are of great importance in the Dominican culture, with Merengue and Bachata as the national dance and music, baseball as the favorite sport; the "Dominican" word comes from the Latin Dominicus. However, the island has this name by Santo Domingo de Guzmán, founder of the Order of the Dominicans; the Dominicans established a house of high studies in the island of Santo Domingo that today is known as the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo and dedicated themselves to the protection of the native taínos of the island, who were subjected to slavery, to the education of the inhabitants of the island.
For most of its history, up until independence, the country was known as Santo Domingo—the name of its present capital and patron saint, Saint Dominic—and continued to be known as such in English until the early 20th century. The residents were called "Dominicans", the adjective form of "Domingo", the revolutionaries named their newly independent country "Dominican Republic". In the national anthem of the Dominican Republic, the term "Dominicans" does not appear; the author of its lyrics, Emilio Prud'Homme uses the poetic term "Quisqueyans". The word "Quisqueya" derives from a native tongue of the Taino Indians and means "Mother of the lands", it is used in songs as another name for the country. The name of the country is shortened to "the D. R." The Arawakan-speaking Taíno moved into Hispaniola from the north east region of what is now known as South America, displacing earlier inhabitants, c. AD 650, they engaged in hunting and gathering. The fierce Caribs drove the Taíno to the northeastern Caribbean during much of the 15th century.
The estimates of Hispaniola's population in 1492 vary including one hundred thousand, three hundred thousand, an
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a twin island country, the southernmost nation of the West Indies in the Caribbean. It is situated 130 kilometres south of Grenada off the northern edge of the South American mainland, 11 kilometres off the coast of northeastern Venezuela, it shares maritime boundaries with Barbados to the northeast, Grenada to the northwest, Guyana to the southeast, Venezuela to the south and west. The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 until Spanish governor Don José María Chacón surrendered the island to a British fleet under the command of Sir Ralph Abercromby in 1797. During the same period, the island of Tobago changed hands among Spanish, French and Courlander colonisers more times than any other island in the Caribbean. Trinidad and Tobago were ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens as separate states and unified in 1889. Trinidad and Tobago obtained independence in 1962 and became a republic in 1976.
As of 2015, the sovereign state of Trinidad and Tobago had the third highest GDP per capita based on purchasing power parity in the Americas after the United States and Canada. It is recognised by the World Bank as a high-income economy. Unlike most of the English-speaking Caribbean, the economy is industrial with an emphasis on petroleum and petrochemicals. Trinidad and Tobago is known for its Carnival and Diwali celebrations and as the birthplace of steelpan, the limbo, music styles such as calypso, soca and chutney. Historian E. L. Joseph claimed that Trinidad's Amerindian name was Cairi or "Land of the Humming Bird", derived from the Arawak name for hummingbird, ierèttê or yerettê. However, other authors dispute this etymology with some claiming that cairi does not mean hummingbird and some claiming that kairi, or iere means island. Christopher Columbus renamed it "La Isla de la Trinidad", fulfilling a vow made before setting out on his third voyage of exploration. Tobago's cigar-like shape may have given it its Spanish name and some of its other Amerindian names, such as Aloubaéra and Urupaina, although the English pronunciation is /təˈbeɪɡoʊ/, rhyming with lumbago, "may go".
Trinidad and Tobago are islands situated between 10° 2' and 11° 12' N latitude and 60° 30' and 61° 56' W longitude. At the closest point, Trinidad is just 11 kilometres from Venezuelan territory. Covering an area of 5,128 km2, the country consists of the two main islands and Tobago, numerous smaller landforms, including Chacachacare, Huevos, Gaspar Grande, Little Tobago, St. Giles Island. Trinidad is 4,768 km2 in area with an average length of 80 kilometres and an average width of 59 kilometres. Tobago has an area of about 300 km2, or 5.8% of the country's area, is 41 km long and 12 km at its greatest width. Trinidad and Tobago lie on the continental shelf of South America, are thus geologically considered to lie in South America; the terrain of the islands is a mixture of plains. The highest point in the country is found on the Northern Range at El Cerro del Aripo, 940 metres above sea level; as the majority of the population lives on the island of Trinidad, this is the location of most major towns and cities.
There are four major municipalities in Trinidad: Port of Spain, the capital, San Fernando and Chaguanas. The main town in Tobago is Scarborough. Trinidad is made up of a variety of soil types, the majority being heavy clays; the alluvial valleys of the Northern Range and the soils of the East–West Corridor are the most fertile. The Northern Range consists of Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous metamorphic rocks; the Northern Lowlands consist of younger shallow marine clastic sediments. South of this, the Central Range fold and thrust belt consists of Cretaceous and Eocene sedimentary rocks, with Miocene formations along the southern and eastern flanks; the Naparima Plains and the Nariva Swamp form the southern shoulder of this uplift. The Southern Lowlands consist of Miocene and Pliocene sands and gravels; these overlie oil and natural gas deposits north of the Los Bajos Fault. The Southern Range forms the third anticlinal uplift, it consists of several chains of hills, most famous being the Trinity Hills.
The rocks consist of sandstones, shales and clays formed in the Miocene and uplifted in the Pleistocene. Oil sands and mud volcanoes are common in this area; the climate is tropical. There are two seasons annually: the dry season for the first five months of the year, the rainy season in the remaining seven of the year. Winds are dominated by the northeast trade winds. Unlike most of the other Caribbean islands, both Trinidad and Tobago have escaped the wrath of major devastating hurricanes, including Hurricane Ivan, the most powerful storm to have passed close to the islands in recent history, in September 2004. In the Northern Range, the climate is different in contrast to the sweltering heat of the plains below. With constant cloud and mist cover, heavy rains in the mountains, the temperature is much cooler. Record temperatures for Trinidad and Tobago are 39 °C for the high in Port of Spain, a low of 12 °C; because Trinidad and Tobago lies
Haiti the Republic of Haiti and called Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola, east of Cuba in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island. Haiti is 27,750 square kilometres in size and has an estimated 10.8 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole. The region was inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people. Spain landed on the island on 5 December 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus across the Atlantic; when Columbus landed in Haiti, he had thought he had found India or China. On Christmas Day 1492, Columbus's flagship the Santa Maria ran aground north of what is now Limonade; as a consequence, Columbus ordered his men to salvage what they could from the ship, he created the first European settlement in the Americas, naming it La Navidad after the day the ship was destroyed. The island was claimed by Spain, which ruled until the early 17th century.
Competing claims and settlements by the French led to the western portion of the island being ceded to France, which named it Saint-Domingue. Sugarcane plantations, worked by slaves brought from Africa, were established by colonists. In the midst of the French Revolution and free people of color revolted in the Haitian Revolution, culminating in the abolition of slavery and the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte's army at the Battle of Vertières. Afterward the sovereign state of Haiti was established on 1 January 1804—the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic in the Americas, the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt; the rebellion that began in 1791 was led by a former slave and the first black general of the French Army, Toussaint Louverture, whose military genius and political acumen transformed an entire society of slaves into an independent country. Upon his death in a prison in France, he was succeeded by his lieutenant, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared Haiti's sovereignty and became the first Emperor of Haiti, Jacques I.
The Haitian Revolution lasted just over a dozen years. The Citadelle Laferrière is the largest fortress in the Americas. Henri Christophe—former slave and first king of Haiti, Henri I—built it to withstand a possible foreign attack, it is a founding member of the United Nations, Organization of American States, Association of Caribbean States, the International Francophonie Organisation. In addition to CARICOM, it is a member of the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, it has the lowest Human Development Index in the Americas. Most in February 2004, a coup d'état originating in the north of the country forced the resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A provisional government took control with security provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti; the name Haiti comes from the indigenous Taíno language, the native name given to the entire island of Hispaniola to mean, "land of high mountains."
The h is silent in French and the ï in Haïti has a diacritical mark used to show that the second vowel is pronounced separately, as in the word naïve. In English, this rule for the pronunciation is disregarded, thus the spelling Haiti is used. There are different anglicizations for its pronunciation such as HIGH-ti, high-EE-ti and haa-EE-ti, which are still in use, but HAY-ti is the most widespread and best-established; the name was restored by Haitian revolutionary Jean-Jacques Dessalines as the official name of independent Saint-Domingue, as a tribute to the Amerindian predecessors. In French, Haiti's nickname is the "Pearl of the Antilles" because of both its natural beauty, the amount of wealth it accumulated for the Kingdom of France. At the time of European conquest, the island of Hispaniola, of which Haiti occupies the western three-eighths, was one of many Caribbean islands inhabited by the Taíno Native Americans, speakers of an Arawakan language called Taino, preserved in the Haitian Creole language.
The Taíno name for the entire island was Haiti. The people had migrated over centuries into the Caribbean islands from South America. Genetic studies show, they originated in Central and South America. After migrating to Caribbean islands, in the 15th century, the Taíno were pushed into the northeast Caribbean islands by the Caribs. In the Taíno societies of the Caribbean islands, the largest unit of political organization was led by a cacique, or chief, as the Europeans understood them; the island of Haiti was divided among five Caciquats: the Magua in the north east, the Marien in the north west, the Xaragua in the south west, the Maguana in the center region of Cibao and the Higuey in the south east. The caciquedoms were tributary kingdoms, with payment consisting of harvests. Taíno cultural artifacts include cave paintings in several locations in the country; these have become national symbols of tourist attractions. Modern-day Léogane started as a French colonial town in the southwest, is beside the former capital of the caciquedom of Xaragua.
Trade involves the transfer of goods or services from one person or entity to another in exchange for money. A system or network that allows trade is called a market. An early form of trade, saw the direct exchange of goods and services for other goods and services. Barter involves trading things without the use of money. One bartering party started to involve precious metals, which gained symbolic as well as practical importance. Modern traders negotiate through a medium of exchange, such as money; as a result, buying can be separated from earning. The invention of money simplified and promoted trade. Trade between two traders is called bilateral trade, while trade involving more than two traders is called multilateral trade. Trade exists due to specialization and the division of labor, a predominant form of economic activity in which individuals and groups concentrate on a small aspect of production, but use their output in trades for other products and needs. Trade exists between regions because different regions may have a comparative advantage in the production of some trade-able commodity—including production of natural resources scarce or limited elsewhere, or because different regions' sizes may encourage mass production.
In such circumstances, trade at market prices between locations can benefit both locations. Retail trade consists of the sale of goods or merchandise from a fixed location, online or by mail, in small or individual lots for direct consumption or use by the purchaser. Wholesale trade is defined as traffic in goods that are sold as merchandise to retailers, or to industrial, institutional, or other professional business users, or to other wholesalers and related subordinated services. Commerce is derived from the Latin commercium, from cum "together" and merx, "merchandise."Trade from Middle English trade, introduced into English by Hanseatic merchants, from Middle Low German trade, from Old Saxon trada, from Proto-Germanic *tradō, cognate with Old English tredan. Trade originated with human communication in prehistoric times. Trading was the main facility of prehistoric people, who bartered goods and services from each other before the innovation of modern-day currency. Peter Watson dates the history of long-distance commerce from circa 150,000 years ago.
In the Mediterranean region the earliest contact between cultures were of members of the species Homo sapiens principally using the Danube river, at a time beginning 35,000–30,000 BCE. Some trace the origins of commerce to the start of transaction in prehistoric times. Apart from traditional self-sufficiency, trading became a principal facility of prehistoric people, who bartered what they had for goods and services from each other. Trade is believed to have taken place throughout much of recorded human history. There is evidence of the exchange of flint during the stone age. Trade in obsidian is believed to have taken place in Guinea from 17,000 BCE; the earliest use of obsidian in the Near East dates to the Middle paleolithic. Trade in the stone age was investigated by Robert Carr Bosanquet in excavations of 1901. Trade is believed to have first begun in south west Asia. Archaeological evidence of obsidian use provides data on how this material was the preferred choice rather than chert from the late Mesolithic to Neolithic, requiring exchange as deposits of obsidian are rare in the Mediterranean region.
Obsidian is thought to have provided the material to make cutting utensils or tools, although since other more obtainable materials were available, use was found exclusive to the higher status of the tribe using "the rich man's flint". Obsidian was traded at distances of 900 kilometres within the Mediterranean region. Trade in the Mediterranean during the Neolithic of Europe was greatest in this material. Networks were in existence at around 12,000 BCE Anatolia was the source for trade with the Levant and Egypt according to Zarins study of 1990. Melos and Lipari sources produced among the most widespread trading in the Mediterranean region as known to archaeology; the Sari-i-Sang mine in the mountains of Afghanistan was the largest source for trade of lapis lazuli. The material was most traded during the Kassite period of Babylonia beginning 1595 BCE. Ebla was a prominent trading centre during the third millennia, with a network reaching into Anatolia and north Mesopotamia. Materials used for creating jewelry were traded with Egypt since 3000 BCE.
Long-range trade routes first appeared in the 3rd millennium BCE, when Sumerians in Mesopotamia traded with the Harappan civilization of the Indus Valley. The Phoenicians were noted sea traders, traveling across the Mediterranean Sea, as far north as Britain for sources of tin to manufacture bronze. For this purpose they established trade colonies. From the beginning of Greek civilization until the fall of the Roman empire in the 5th century, a financially lucrative trade brought valuable spice to Europe from the far east, including India and China. Roman commerce allowed its empire to endure; the latter Roman Republic and the Pax Romana of the Roman empire produced a stable and secure transportation network that enabled the shipment of trade goods without fear of significant piracy, as Rome had become the sole effective sea power in the Mediterranean with the conquest of Egypt and the near east. In ancient Greece Hermes was the god of trade and weights and measures, for Romans Mercurius god of merchants, whose festival was celebrated by traders on the 25th day o
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands simply the Virgin Islands, are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean, to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands are geographically part of the Virgin Islands archipelago and are located in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles; the British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda and Jost Van Dyke, along with over 50 other smaller islands and cays. About 15 of the islands are inhabited; the capital, Road Town, is on Tortola, the largest island, about 20 km long and 5 km wide. The islands had a population of about 28,000 at the 2010 Census, of whom 23,500 lived on Tortola. For the islands, the latest United Nations estimate is 30,661. British Virgin Islanders are British Overseas Territories citizens and since 2002 are British citizens as well. Although the territory is not part of the European Union and not directly subject to EU law, British Virgin Islanders are deemed to be citizens of the EU by virtue of their British citizenship.
The official name of the territory is still the "Virgin Islands", but the prefix "British" is used. This is believed to distinguish it from the neighbouring American territory which changed its name from the "Danish West Indies" to "Virgin Islands of the United States" in 1917. However, local historians have disputed this, pointing to a variety of publications and public records dating from between 21 February 1857 and 12 September 1919 where the Territory is referred to as the British Virgin Islands. British Virgin Islands government publications continue to begin with the name "The territory of the Virgin Islands", the territory's passports refer to the "Virgin Islands", all laws begin with the words "Virgin Islands". Moreover, the territory's Constitutional Commission has expressed the view that "every effort should be made" to encourage the use of the name "Virgin Islands", but various public and quasi-public bodies continue to use the name "British Virgin Islands" or "BVI", including BVI Finance, BVI Electricity Corporation, BVI Tourist Board, BVI Athletic Association, BVI Bar Association and others.
In 1968 the British Government issued a memorandum requiring that the postage stamps in the territory should say "British Virgin Islands", a practice, still followed today. This was to prevent confusion following on from the adoption of US currency in the Territory in 1959, the references to US currency on the stamps of the Territory; the Virgin Islands were first settled by the Arawak from South America around 100 BC. The Arawaks inhabited the islands until the 15th century when they were displaced by the more aggressive Caribs, a tribe from the Lesser Antilles islands, after whom the Caribbean Sea is named; the first European sighting of the Virgin Islands was by the Spanish expedition of Christopher Columbus in 1493 on his second voyage to the Americas. Columbus gave them the fanciful name Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Vírgenes, shortened to Las Vírgenes, after the legend of Saint Ursula; the Spanish Empire claimed the islands by discovery in the early 16th century, but never settled them, subsequent years saw the English, French and Danish all jostling for control of the region, which became a notorious haunt for pirates.
There is no record of any native Amerindian population in the British Virgin Islands during this period, although most of the native population on nearby Saint Croix was killed or dispersed. The Dutch established a permanent settlement on the island of Tortola by 1648. In 1672, the English captured Tortola from the Dutch, the English annexation of Anegada and Virgin Gorda followed in 1680. Meanwhile, over the period 1672–1733, the Danish gained control of the nearby islands of Saint Thomas, Saint John and Saint Croix; the British islands were considered principally a strategic possession, but were planted when economic conditions were favourable. The British introduced sugar cane, to become the main crop and source of foreign trade, slaves were brought from Africa to work on the sugar cane plantations; the islands prospered economically until the middle of the nineteenth century, when a combination of the abolition of slavery in the territory, a series of disastrous hurricanes, the growth in the sugar beet crop in Europe and the United States reduced sugar cane production and led to a period of economic decline.
In 1917, the United States purchased St. John, St. Thomas, St. Croix from Denmark for US$25 million, renaming them the United States Virgin Islands; the British Virgin Islands were administered variously as part of the British Leeward Islands or with St. Kitts and Nevis, with an administrator representing the British Government on the islands; the islands gained separate colony status in 1960 and became autonomous in 1967. Since the 1960s, the islands have diversified away from their traditionally agriculture-based economy towards tourism and financial services, becoming one of the wealthiest areas in the Caribbean; the British Virgin Islands comprise around 60 tropical Caribbean islands, ranging in size from the largest, being 20 km long and 5 km wide, to tiny uninhabited islets, altogether about 150 square kilometres in extent. They are located in the Virgin Islands archipelago, a few miles east of the US Virgin Islands, about 95 km from the Puerto Rican mainland. About 150 km east south-east lies Anguilla.
The North Atlantic Ocean lies to the east of the islands, the Caribbean Sea lies to the
Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres south of Cuba, 191 kilometres west of Hispaniola. Inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people died of disease, the Spanish transplanted African slaves to Jamaica as labourers; the island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England conquered it and renamed it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with its plantation economy dependent on African slaves; the British emancipated all slaves in 1838, many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British utilized Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations.
The island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962. With 2.9 million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean. Kingston is the country's capital and largest city, with a population of 937,700. Jamaicans have African ancestry, with significant European, Indian and mixed-race minorities. Due to a high rate of emigration for work since the 1960s, Jamaica has a large diaspora in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States. Jamaica is an upper-middle income country with an average of 4.3 million tourists a year. Jamaica is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as its queen, her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, an office held by Sir Patrick Allen since 2009. Andrew Holness has served as Prime Minister of Jamaica since March 2016. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with legislative power vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, consisting of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives.
The indigenous people, the Taíno, called the island 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." Slang names such as "Jamrock", "Jamdown", or "Ja", have derived from this. The Arawak and Taíno indigenous people, originating in South America, first settled on the island between 4000 and 1000 BC; when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1494, there were more than 200 villages ruled by caciques. The south coast of Jamaica was the most populated around the area now known as Old Harbour; the Taino still inhabited Jamaica when the English took control of the island in 1655. The Jamaican National Heritage Trust is attempting to locate and document any evidence of the Taino/yamaye. Today, few Jamaican natives remain. Most notably among some Maroon communities as well as within some communities in Cornwall County, Jamaica Christopher Columbus claimed Jamaica for Spain after landing there in 1494, his probable landing point was Dry Harbour, called Discovery Bay, St. Ann's Bay was named "Saint Gloria" by Columbus, as the first sighting of the land.
One and a half kilometres west of St. Ann's Bay is the site of the first Spanish settlement on the island, established in 1509 and abandoned around 1524 because it was deemed unhealthy; the capital was moved to Spanish Town called St. Jago de la Vega, around 1534. Spanish Town has the oldest cathedral of the British colonies in the Caribbean; the Spanish were forcibly evicted by the English at Ocho Rios in St. Ann. 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; the name of Montego Bay, the capital of the parish of St. James, was derived from the Spanish name manteca bahía, alluding to the lard-making industry based on processing the numerous boars in the area. In 1660, the population of Jamaica was about 4,500 1,500 black. By the early 1670s, as the English developed sugar cane plantations and "imported" more slaves, black people formed a majority of the population; the colony was shaken and destroyed by the 1692 Jamaica earthquake.
The Irish in Jamaica formed a large part of the island's early population, making up two-thirds of the white population on the island in the late 17th century, twice that of the English population. They were brought in as indentured labourers and soldiers after the conquest of Jamaica by Cromwell's forces in 1655; the majority of Irish were transported by force as political prisoners of war from Ireland as a result of the ongoing Wars of the Three Kingdoms at the time. Migration of large numbers of Irish to the island continued into the 18th century. Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and 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, from there to Jamaica. Others were part of the Iberian colonisation of the New World, after overtly converting to Catholicism, as only Catholics were allowed in the Spanish colonies. By 1660, Jamaica had become a refuge for Jews in the New World attracting those, expelled from Spain and Portugal.
An early group of Jews arrived in 1510, soon after the son of Christopher Columbus settled on the island. Working as merchants and traders, the