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Some Spanish and Portuguese Jewish refugees went to the Netherlands and England, and from there to Jamaica.
Some of the communities were broken up and the British deported Maroons to Nova Scotia and, later, Sierra Leone.
When Christopher Columbus arrived in 1494, there were more than 200 villages ruled by caciques (chiefs of villages).
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.
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.
The colony was shaken and almost destroyed by the 1692 Jamaica earthquake.
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).