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The british seized the Spanish Caribbean island of Santiago in 1655, establishing a slave plantation colony that would not achieve independence until 1962. Despite the optimism associated with Jamaica as a fee-market experiment built on export crops and tourism in its early years, economic downturn in the late 20th century left the country in poor condition, exacerbated by high levels of international debt, leading to further political and social instability. Bordered entirely by the Caribbean, Jamaica has 634 miles (1,022 kilometers) of coastline. The climate is temperate in the interior but tropical elsewhere. The terrain is mountainous with a narrow, discontinuous plain. While hurricanes may occur at any time on the island, they are most likely from July to November. Recovering from hurricanes such as ...

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