Jamaica is a Caribbean Island nation, and the fourth largest Caribbean island nation.. The island was ruled by Spain following Christopher Columbus’s 1494 arrival. Many indigenous peoples died from disease brought by European colonists. Under British colonial rule, Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with its plantation economy highly dependent on African slaves. The British emancipated all slaves in 1838, and many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British utilized Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations. The island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962. Jamaica is known today for its vibrant musical culture and spicy cuisine. For a BRANCH article on the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica, see Sarah Winter, “On the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica and the Governor Eyre-George William Gordon Controversy, 1865-70.″