When Jamaica was founded, it was called Sunda Kelapa. Arawak Indians lived in Jamaica when Christopher Columbus arrived in 1494 and claimed the island for Spain. The Spaniards enslaved the Arawak Indians and later brought Africans to the island to work as slaves. Diseases and being overworked killed almost all the Arawak Indians. That is mainly why they brought over Africans as slaves.
The Spaniards then used Jamaica as a supply base. Because the Spaniards didn't have any gold, the Spaniards didn't try to settle or develop the island. They thought it was useless and no good. They later changed their minds about this.
Later the British took over Jamaica in 1655. They continued to fight the slaves, called the Maroons, who escaped when the British arrived.
The British people and the Maroons signed a peace treaty in 1738. During the time of the 1670's, British pirates of the Caribbean used Jamaica as a base to attack Spanish ports and Spanish ships. Jamaica was ruled by the British until 1962 when it became an independent nation in the British Commonwealth.