The beautiful island of Jamaica was first inhabited by the people called the Arawaks or Tainos more than 2,500 years ago. Those people were originally from South America. They named the island, Xaymaca, which is translated to mean, ‘the land of wood and water.’
Jamaica which is 4411 square feet in size is the third largest island in the Caribbean and the largest English speaking nation in the region.
Jamaica is an island country located in the Caribbean Sea. It is the third largest island in the greater Antilles. The island is 4,240 sq mi in size. It can be found about 145 kilometers, or 90 miles south of Cuba, and 191 kilometers or 119 miles west of Hispaniola, on which sits the nations of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The Spanish took over from the Arawaks in 1494 when the traveler, Christopher Columbus came upon the island.
Jamaica became a colony of Britain in 1655 following an attack on the Spanish who occupied the country. The British ruled Jamaica until 1962 when Jamaica gained full independence. On August 6, 1962, Jamaica was granted its independence from England. Jamaica now has its own constitution which sets out the laws by which the people are governed. The constitution provides for the freedom, equality and justice for all who dwell in the country.
A two major political parties have formed the government alternately between 1962 and the present. The Peoples National Party has led the country a total of 29 years and the Jamaica Labour Party a total of 23 years.
Jamaica currently has a population of approximately 2.7 million inhabitants which is made up of 51% females and 49% males.
The country is a member of the British Commonwealth and therefore has Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. She is represented in Jamaica by a governor general, Sir Patrick Allen. The Prime Minister is Portia Simpson Miller and the leader of the opposition is Andrew Holness.
Jamaica is best known worldwide for its Reggae music through artists such as Bob Marley, Sean Paul, Dennis Brown and Jimmy Cliff. It is also a powerhouse in track and field with names such Usain Bolt, Merlene Ottey, Donald Quarrie and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
Population. Ranked 139th in 2013.
GDP per capita. Ranked 87th in 2012.
10,830 sq km
Sq. km. Ranked 153th in 2008.