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An early group of Jews arrived in 1510, soon after the son of Christopher Columbus settled on the island.

Primarily working as merchants and traders, the Jewish community was forced to live a clandestine life, calling themselves "Portugals".

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, an office held by Sir Patrick Allen since 2009.

Some of the communities were broken up and the British deported Maroons to Nova Scotia and, later, Sierra Leone.

The name is still used today by modern Maroon descendants, who have certain rights and autonomy at the community of Accompong.

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).

By 1660, Jamaica had become a refuge for Jews in the New World, also attracting those who had been expelled from Spain and Portugal.

Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492 and then 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, and from there to Jamaica.

Andrew Holness has served as the head of government and Prime Minister of Jamaica from 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.

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