The island – discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 – was settled
by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians, who
had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and
replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and
established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa,...
Mayen This desolate, arctic, mountainous island was named after a Dutch
whaling captain who indisputably discovered it in 1614 (earlier claims
are inconclusive). Visited only occasionally by seal hunters and
trappers over the following centuries, the island came under Norwegian
sovereignty in 1929. The long dormant Beerenberg volcano, the
northernmost active volcano on...
In 1603, after decades of civil warfare, the Tokugawa shogunate (a
military-led, dynastic government) ushered in a long period of relative
political stability and isolation from foreign influence. For more than
two centuries this policy enabled Japan to enjoy a flowering of its
indigenous culture. Japan opened its ports after signing the Treaty...
Island Jarvis Island: First discovered by the British in 1821, the
uninhabited island was annexed by the US in 1858 but abandoned in 1879
after tons of guano had been removed. The UK annexed the island in 1889
but never carried out plans for further exploitation. The US occupied
and reclaimed the island...
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Jersey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the
medieval Dukedom of Normandy that held sway in both France and England.
These islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops in
World War II. Jersey is a British crown dependency but is not part of
the UK or...
Atoll Both the US and the Kingdom of Hawaii annexed Johnston Atoll in
1858, but it was the US that mined the guano deposits until the late
1880s. Johnston and Sand Islands were designated wildlife refuges in
1926. The US Navy took over the atoll in 1934. Subsequently, the US Air
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Following World War I and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the UK
received a mandate to govern much of the Middle East. Britain separated
out a semi-autonomous region of Transjordan from Palestine in the early
1920s, and the area gained its independence in 1946; it adopted the
name of The Hashemite Kingdom...