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Jamaica

Jamaica

Location

Jamaica

Jamaica is a beautiful mountainous island in the Caribbean Sea that has an area of 4,244 square miles or 10.991 square kilometers. Almost oval in shape, Jamaica lies south of Cuba. How far is Jamaica from your place? It is the largest island in the Caribbean Sea. Jamaica has mostly mountains, with narrow coastal plains where most Jamaicans live; in the west and along the coasts are savannas, plains, and scattered trees.

Climate

Jamaica's climate is tropical; hot, and humid; but its interior has temperate temperatures. Temperatures are higher along the coasts and cooler in the mountains. Rainfall changes with the region; northeastern Jamaica gets more than 250 cm or 100 in of rainfall each year, making it one of the wettest regions in the world. Most of the country experiences severe fluctuations of drought and flood. Very little rain falls on the hot, dry southern and southwestern plains. The average annual temperature in Jamaica is 26 degrees C.

People

Jamaica

During the 18th century, the English, French, and Spanish kidnapped more than 600,000 Africans and deported them to Jamaica to force them to work as slaves on their sugar, coffee, and other plantations. Today, Jamaica's population of 2,520,000 people consists mainly of the descendants of those African slaves. There are also groups of East Indian, Chinese, Syrian, Lebanese and European ancestry. More than half of Jamaica's population lives in cities.

Economy

About 25% of the people depend on farming for a living. Half of the arable land is controlled by about 1,000 large farms or estates, while the other half is divided into 185,000 small farms. The larger farms mainly produce sugarcane, citrus fruits, coffee, bananas, pimentos, and cattle, often for export. The small farms grow a variety of crops and raise goats and pigs for local markets and subsistence.

Life

Jamaica

The official language of Jamaica is English, but many people speak a popular Creole dialect. Originally developed as a means of communication between the African slaves, it contains parts from African languages as well as from English, French, and Spanish. Education is theoretically free, but illiteracy is still a problem. Near Kingston, the capital and chief port, is the main campus of the University of the West Indies, and a technical college.

Government

Jamaica is a parliamentary democracy, with a lower house elected by universal suffrage and an appointed senate. It belongs to the Commonwealth, and the head of state is the governor-general, who is appointed by the monarch of England. The prime minister is the leader of the majority party in the House of Representatives.

By Ryan Hicken