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White Jamaicans

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The proportion of white people among the overall population in Jamaica has varied considerably since the establishment of a permanent Spanish settlement in 1509 by Juan de Esquivel. The native Taíno people were virtually extinct by 1600 and the island's population of about 3,000 was then overwhelmingly European. However, over the next century a significant numbers of African slaves were brought to the island. Jamaica became a colony of England in 1655 and a census in 1662 recorded 3,653 whites (87% of the population) and 552 blacks (13% of the population). However, by 1673 there were 7,768 whites (45% of the population) and 9,504 blacks (55% of the population). By the end of the century only about 7,000 out of a total population of 47,000 (or 15%) were white. Most white immigrants were British, many coming voluntarily from other North American colonies or as refugees from colonies like Montserrat and Suriname which were captured by other European powers. There were also thousands of Irish people sent to Jamaica involuntarily in the early years of the colony.

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