Jamaica was first occupied by the peaceful Arawak Indians from South America. Then, in 1949 a European explorer by the name of Christopher Columbus sailed to the Carribean. In 1510 Pain claimed the island. Sadly, disease, war, and slavery eliminated the Arawak. Slaves were brought to Jamaica from Africa to work the land and grow sugarcane. In 1655 Britain took over the island from Spain, and it soon became a British colony. When the English arrived, the Spaniards took off, but made sure to free their slaves first. The slaves escaped to the mountains and called themselves the Jamaican Maroons. The Jamaican Marrons fought against the British in the 18th century. They established free communities in the mountains and remained independent and free from the British for several years. In the early 1900s, Jamaica gained a more stabilized self-government and control from Britain. On August 6, 1962 Jamaican became a fully indpendent country.