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Jamaica MAP AND DESCRIPTION
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Jamaica is an island nation in the Caribbean, located to the south of Cuba and to the west of the island of Hispaniola.

Understand

With 2.8 million people, Jamaica is the third most populous anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. It remains a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State.

History

The Arawak and Taino indigenous people originating from South America settled on the island between 4000 and 1000 BC. Christopher Columbus claimed Jamaica for Spain after landing there in 1494. Columbus' probable landing point was Dry Harbour, now called Discovery Bay. St. Ann's Bay was the "Saint Gloria" of Columbus who first sighted Jamaica at this point. The Spanish were forcibly evicted by the British at Ocho Rios in St. Ann and in 1655 the British took over the last Spanish fort in Jamaica. The Spanish colonists fled leaving a large number of African slaves. Rather than be re-enslaved by the English, they escaped into the hilly, mountainous regions of the island, joining those who had previously escaped from the Spanish to live with the TaĆ­nos.

These runaway slaves, who became known as the Jamaican Maroons, fought the British during the 18th century. During the long years of slavery Maroons established free communities in the mountainous interior of Jamaica, maintaining their freedom and independence for generations.During its first 200 years of British rule, Jamaica became one of the world's leading sugar-exporting, slave-dependent nations. After the abolition of the slave trade in 1807, the British imported Indian and Chinese workers as indentured servants to supplement the labour pool.

Descendants of indentured servants of Asian and Chinese origin continue to reside in Jamaica today. By the beginning of the 19th century, Jamaica's heavy reliance on slavery resulted in blacks (Africans) outnumbering whites (Europeans) by a ratio of almost 20 to 1. Even though England had outlawed the importation of slaves, some were still smuggled into the colonies.

In the 1800s, the British established a number of botanical gardens. These included the Castleton Garden, set up in 1862 to replace the Bath Garden (created in 1779) which was subject to flooding. Bath Garden was the site for planting breadfruit brought to Jamaica from the Pacific by Captain William Bligh. Other gardens were the Cinchona Plantation founded in 1868 and the Hope Garden founded in 1874. In 1872, Kingston became the island's capital.

Jamaica slowly gained increasing independence from the United Kingdom and in 1958, it became a province in the Federation of the West Indies before attaining full independence by leaving the federation in 1962.

Jamaica has a large population of Chinese and East Indians. Sizable numbers of Whites and Mulattoes, and persons of Syrian/Lebanese descent, many of which have intermixed throughout the generations. Individuals on the island seldom belong to one racial group as mixed-race Jamaicans are the second largest racial group; the genetic roots of many people can be traced to origins that are not necessarily physically apparent. Christianity is the major religion in the island.Jamaica's resources include coffee, papaya, bauxite, gypsum, limestone and sugar cane.

Climate

The climate in Jamaica is tropical, with hot and humid weather, although higher inland regions are more temperate. Some regions on the south coast are relatively dry rain-shadow areas. Jamaica lies in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean; as a result, the island sometimes experiences significant storm damage.

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