Jamaica

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My first card from Jamaica comes from Rachel. 🙂

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Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, comprising the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. Jamaica is the fifth-largest island country in the Caribbean.

Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, in 1655 it came under the rule of England (later Great Britain), and was called Jamaica. It achieved full independence from the United Kingdom on 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. Kingston is the country’s largest city and its capital, with a population of 937,700.

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, currently Patrick Allen. The head of government and Prime Minister of Jamaica is Portia Simpson-Miller. 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.

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Bahamas

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My first card from Bahamas comes from Niki. 🙂

The Bahamas is an island country consisting of more than 700 islands, cays, and islets in the Atlantic Ocean. Its capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence.

Originally inhabited by the Lucayan, a branch of the Arawakan-speaking Taino people, the Bahamas were the site of Columbus’ first landfall in the New World in 1492. Although the Spanish never colonized the Bahamas, they shipped the native Lucayans to slavery in Hispaniola. The islands were mostly deserted from 1513 until 1648, when English colonists from Bermuda settled on the island of Eleuthera.

The Bahamas became a British Crown colony in 1718, when the British clamped down on piracy. After the American War of Independence, thousands of American Loyalists, taking their enslaved Africans, moved to the Bahamas, where the Americans set up a plantation economy. After Britain abolished the international slave trade in 1807, the Royal Navy resettled many free Africans liberated from illegal slave ships in the Bahamas during the 19th century. Hundreds of American slaves and Black Seminoles escaped to the islands from Florida, and nearly 500 were freed from American merchant ships in the domestic trade. Slavery in the Bahamas was abolished in 1834. Today the descendants of slaves and free Africans form the majority of the population; issues related to the slavery years are part of society. The Bahamas became an independent Commonwealth realm in 1973, retaining Queen Elizabeth II as its monarch.

 

Mauritius

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My very first card from the beautiful island of Mauritius comes from Tasneem. 🙂

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean about 2,000 kilometres off the southeast coast of the African continent. The country includes the islands of Mauritius, Rodrigues, the islands of Agalega and the archipelago Saint Brandon.

The first Portuguese explorers found no indigenous people living on the island in 1507. The Dutch settled on the island in 1638 and abandoned it in 1710. Five years later, the island became a French colony and was renamed Isle de France. The British took control of Mauritius in 1810 during the Napoleonic Wars. The country remained under British rule until it became an independent Commonwealth realm on 12 March 1968 and a republic within the Commonwealth on 12 March 1992.

The country is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural; most Mauritians are multilingual, and English, French, Creole and Asian languages are used. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system. Mauritius is highly ranked for democracy and for economic and political freedom.

The island of Mauritius was the only home of the Dodo bird. The bird became extinct fewer than eighty years after its discovery.