Jamaica () is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola). Jamaica lies about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola (the island containing the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic); the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands lies some to the north-west.
Originally inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish Empire following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people were either killed or died of diseases to which they had no immunity, and the Spanish thus forcibly transplanted large numbers of African slaves to Jamaica as labourers. The island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered it, renaming it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with a plantation economy dependent on the African slaves and later their descendants. The British fully emancipated all slaves in 1838, and many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British began using Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations. The island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962.
With million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas (after the United States and Canada), and the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean. Kingston is the country's capital and largest city. The majority of Jamaicans are of African ancestry, with significant European, Chinese, Indo-Jamaican, Lebanese, and mixed-race minorities. Due to a high rate of emigration for work since the 1960s, there is a large Jamaican diaspora, particularly in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The country has a global influence that belies its small size; it was the birthplace of the Rastafari religion, reggae music (and associated genres such as dub music, ska and dancehall), and it is internationally prominent in sports, most notably cricket, sprinting and athletics."Reggae." Encyclopedia of Popular Music, 4th ed. Ed. Colin Larkin. Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.
Jamaica is an upper-middle income country with an economy heavily dependent on tourism, with an average of 4.3 million tourists a year. Politically it is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as its queen. Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, an office held by Sir Patrick Allen since 2009. Andrew Holness has served as Prime Minister of Jamaica since March 2016. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with legislative power vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, consisting of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives.
Colloquially Jamaicans refer to their home island as the "Rock." Slang names such as "Jamrock", "Jamdown" ("Jamdung" in Jamaican Patois), or briefly "Ja", have derived from this.as known from the songs "Roots, Rock, Reggae" by Bob Marley ("roots" referring to Africa, while "rock" means Jamaica), "Jahman inna Jamdown" by Peter Tosh, and "Welcome to Jamrock" by Damian Marley
Though often thought to have become extinct following contact with Europeans, the Taíno in fact still inhabited Jamaica when the English took control of the island in 1655. Some fled into interior regions, merging with African Jamaican Maroons communities. Today, only a tiny number of Jamaican natives, known as Yamaye, remain. The Jamaican National Heritage Trust is attempting to locate and document any remaining evidence of the Taíno.
When the English captured Jamaica the Spanish colonists fled after freeing their slaves. Many slaves dispersed into the mountains, joining the already established Maroon communities. During the centuries of slavery, Maroons established free communities in the mountainous interior of Jamaica, where they maintained their freedom and independence for generations.Mavis Campbell, The Maroons of Jamaica 1655-1796: a History of Resistance, Collaboration & Betrayal (Massachusetts: Bergin & Garvey, 1988), pp. 14-25. Meanwhile, the Spanish made several attempts to re-capture the island, prompting the British to support pirates attacking Spanish ships in the Caribbean; as a result piracy became rampant on Jamaica, with the city of Port Royal becoming notorious for its lawlessness. Spain later recognised English possession of the island with the Treaty of Madrid (1670).C.V. Black, History of Jamaica (London: Collins, 1975), p. 54. As a result, the English authorities sought to reign in the worst excesses of the pirates.
In 1660, the population of Jamaica was about 4,500 white and 1,500 black. Donovan, J. (1910). Jamaica. Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company By the early 1670s, as the English developed sugar cane plantations worked by large numbers of slaves, black Africans formed a majority of the population. Trevor Burnard, "A failed settler society: marriage and demographic failure in early Jamaica", Journal of Social History, Fall, 1994 The Irish in Jamaica also formed a large part of the island' /ref> Migration of large numbers of Irish to the island continued into the 18th century.
A limited form of local government was introduced with the creation of the House of Assembly of Jamaica in 1664, however it represented only a tiny number of rich plantation owners.Frank Cundall. (1915) Historic Jamaica. London: Institute of Jamaica. p. 15. In 1692 the colony was rocked by an earthquake which resulted in several thousands deaths and the almost complete destruction of Port Royal.
By the beginning of the 19th century, Jamaica's dependence on slave labour and a plantation economy had resulted in black people outnumbering white people by a ratio of almost 20 to 1. Although the UK had outlawed the importation of slaves, some were still smuggled in from Spanish colonies and directly. While planning the abolition of slavery, the British Parliament passed laws to improve conditions for slaves. They banned the use of whips in the field and flogging of women; informed planters that slaves were to be allowed religious instruction, and required a free day during each week when slaves could sell their produce, History of the Catholic Church in Jamaica p. 68 prohibiting Sunday markets to enable slaves to attend church. The House of Assembly in Jamaica resented and resisted the new laws. Members (then restricted to European-Jamaicans) claimed that the slaves were content and objected to Parliament's interference in island affairs. Slave owners feared possible revolts if conditions were lightened.
The British abolished the slave trade in 1807, but not the institution itself. The Sugar Revolutions and Slavery, U.S. Library of Congress In 1831 a Baptist War broke out, led by the Baptist preacher Samuel Sharpe. The rebellion resulted in hundreds of deaths, the destruction of many plantations, and resulted in ferocious reprisals by the plantocracy class.
Over the next 20 years, several epidemics of cholera, scarlet fever, and smallpox hit the island, killing almost 60,000 people (about 10 per day). Nevertheless, in 1871 the census recorded a population of 506,154 people, 246,573 of which were males, and 259,581 females. Their races were recorded as 13,101 white, 100,346 coloured (mixed black and white), and 392,707 black. This period was marked by an economic slump, with many Jamaicans living in poverty. Dissatisfaction with this, and continued racial discrimination and marginalisation of the black majority, led to the outbreak of the Morant Bay rebellion in 1865 led by Paul Bogle, which was put down by Governor John Eyre with such brutality that he was recalled from his position. His successor, John Peter Grant, enacted a series of social, financial and political reforms whilst aiming to uphold firm British rule over the island, which became a Crown Colony in 1866. In 1872 the capital was transferred from Spanish Town to Kingston.
Unemployment and poverty remained a problem for many Jamaicans. Various movements seeking political change arose as a result, most notably the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League founded by Marcus Garvey in 1917. As well as seeking greater political rights and an improvement for the condition of workers, Garvey was also a prominent Pan-Africanist and proponent of the Back-to-Africa movement. He was also one of the chief inspirations behind Rastafari, a religion founded in Jamaica in the 1930s that combined Christianity with an Afrocentric theology focused on the figure of Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia. Despite occasional persecution, Rastafari grew to become an established faith on the island, later spreading abroad.
The Great Depression of the 1930s hit Jamaica hard. As part of the British West Indian labour unrest of 1934–39, Jamaica saw numerous strikes, culminating in a strike in 1938 that turned into a full-blown riot.Hamilton, Janice. Jamaica in Pictures, p.30. Twenty-First Century Books (2005), As a result, the British government instituted a commission to look into the causes of the disturbances; their report recommended political and economic reforms in Britain's Caribbean colonies. A new House of Representatives was established in 1944, elected by universal adult suffrage. During this period Jamaica's two-party system emerged, with the creation of the Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) under Alexander Bustamante and the People's National Party (PNP) under Norman Manley.
Jamaica slowly gained increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. In 1958 it became a province in the Federation of the West Indies, a federation of several of Britain's Caribbean colonies. Membership of the Federation proved to be divisive however, and a referendum on the issue saw a slight majority voting to leave. After leaving the Federation, Jamaica attained full independence on 6 August 1962. The new state retained, however, its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations (with the Queen as head of state) and adopted a Westminster-style parliamentary system. Bustamante, at the age of 78, became the country's first prime minister.
The optimism of the first decade was accompanied by a growing sense of inequality among many Afro-Jamaicans, and a concern that the benefits of growth were not being shared by the urban poor, many of whom ended up living in crime-ridden shanty towns in Kingston. Combined with the effects of a slowdown in the global economy in 1970, the voters elected the PNP under Michael Manley in 1972. Manley's government enacted various social reforms, such as a higher minimum wage, land reform, legislation for women's equality, greater housing construction and an increase in educational provision. Internationally he improved ties with the Communist bloc and vigorously opposed the apartheid regime in South Africa. However the economy faltered in this period due to a combination of internal and external factors (such as the oil shocks). The rivalry between the JLP and PNP became intense, and political and gang-related violence grew significantly in this period.
By 1980, Jamaica's gross national product had declined to some 25% below its 1972 level. Seeking change, Jamaicans voted the JLP back in in 1980 under Edward Seaga. Firmly anti-Communist, Seaga cut ties with Cuba and sent troops to support the US invasion of Grenada in 1983. The economic deterioration however continued into the mid-1980s, exacerbated by a number of factors. The largest and third-largest alumina producers, Alpart and Alcoa, closed; and there was a significant reduction in production by the second-largest producer, Alcan. Reynolds Jamaica Mines, Ltd. left the Jamaican industry. There was also a decline in tourism, which was important to the economy. Owing to rising foreign and local debt, accompanied by large fiscal deficits, the government sought International Monetary Fund (IMF) financing, which was dependent on implementing various austerity measures. These resulted in strikes in 1985 and a decline in support for the Seaga government, exacerbated by criticism of the government's response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. Having now de-emphasised socialism and adopting a more centrist position, Michael Manley and the PNP were re-elected in 1989.Dieter Nohlen (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume I, p430
The PNP went on to win a string of elections, under Prime Ministers Michael Manley (1989-1992), P. J. Patterson (1992-2005) and Portia Simpson-Miller (2005-2007). During this period various economic reforms were introduced, such as deregulating the finance sector and floating the Jamaican dollar, as well as greater investment in infrastructure, whilst also retaining a strong social safety net. Political violence, so prevalent in the previous two decades, declined significantly.Franklyn, Delano (ed.): 2002. The Challenges of Change: P. J. Patterson Budget Presentations 1992–2002. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers. In 2007 the PNP were defeated by the JLP, ending 18 years of PNP rule; Bruce Golding became the new prime minister. Pollster's diary: virtual motion picture of campaign 2007 , Jamaica Gleaner, September 9, 2007 Golding's tenure (2007-2010) was dominated by the effects of the global recession, as well as the fallout from an attempt by Jamaican police and military to arrest drug lord Christopher Coke in 2010 which erupted in violence, resulting in over 70 deaths. As a result of this incident Golding resigned and was replaced by Andrew Holness in 2011; Holness was defeated in the 2011 Jamaican general election, which saw Portia Miller-Simpson return to power, but Holness began a second term after winning the 2016 Jamaican general election.
Independence, however widely celebrated in Jamaica, has been questioned in the early 21st century. In 2011, a survey showed that approximately 60% of Jamaicans believe that the country would be better off had it remained a British colony, with only 17% believing it would be worse off, citing as problems years of social and fiscal mismanagement in the country.
Jamaica's current constitution was drafted in 1962 by a bipartisan joint committee of the Jamaican legislature. It came into force with the Jamaica Independence Act, 1962 of the United Kingdom parliament, which gave Jamaica independence.
The Parliament of Jamaica is Bicameralism, consisting of the House of Representatives (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House). Members of the House (known as Members of Parliament or MPs) are directly elected, and the member of the House of Representatives who, in the governor-general's best judgement, is best able to command the confidence of a majority of the members of that House, is appointed by the governor-general to be the prime minister. Senators are nominated jointly by the prime minister and the parliamentary Leader of the Opposition and are then appointed by the governor-general.
The Judiciary of Jamaica operates on a common law system derived from English law and British Commonwealth precedents. The court of final appeal is the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, though during the 2000s parliament attempted to replace it with the Caribbean Court of Justice.
In the context of local government the parishes are designated "Local Authorities." These local authorities are further styled as "Municipal Corporations," which are either city municipalities or town municipalities. Any new city municipality must have a population of at least 50,000, and a town municipality a number set by the Minister of Local Government. There are currently no town municipalities.
The local governments of the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrews are consolidated as the city municipality of Kingston & St. Andrew Municipal Corporation. The newest city municipality created is the Municipality of Portmore in 2003. While it is geographically located within the parish of St. Catherine, it is governed independently.
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The JDF is directly descended from the British Army's West India Regiment formed during the colonial era. The West India Regiment was used extensively by the British Empire in policing the empire from 1795 to 1926. Other units in the JDF heritage include the early colonial Jamaica Militia, the Kingston Infantry Volunteers of WWI and reorganised into the Jamaican Infantry Volunteers in World War II. The West Indies Regiment was reformed in 1958 as part of the West Indies Federation, after dissolution of the Federation the JDF was established.
The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) comprises an infantry Regiment and Reserve Corps, an Air Wing, a Coast Guard fleet and a supporting Engineering Unit. The infantry regiment contains the 1st, 2nd and 3rd (National Reserve) battalions. The JDF Air Wing is divided into three flight units, a training unit, a support unit and the JDF Air Wing (National Reserve). The Coast Guard is divided between seagoing crews and support crews who conduct maritime safety and maritime law enforcement as well as defence-related operations.
The role of the support battalion is to provide support to boost numbers in combat and issue competency training in order to allow for the readiness of the force. The 1st Engineer Regiment was formed due to an increased demand for military engineers and their role is to provide engineering services whenever and wherever they are needed. The Headquarters JDF contains the JDF Commander, Command Staff as well as Intelligence, Judge Advocate office, Administrative and Procurement sections.
In recent years the JDF has been called on to assist the nation's police, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), in fighting drug smuggling and a rising crime rate which includes one of the highest murder rates in the world. JDF units actively conduct armed patrols with the JCF in high-crime areas and known gang neighbourhoods. There has been vocal controversy as well as support of this JDF role. In early 2005, an Opposition leader, Edward Seaga, called for the merger of the JDF and JCF. This has not garnered support in either organisation nor among the majority of citizens. In 2017, Jamaica signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
Tourist attractions include Dunn's River Falls in St. Ann, YS Falls in St. Elizabeth, the Blue Lagoon in Portland Parish, believed to be the crater of an extinct volcano, and Port Royal, site of a major earthquake in 1692 that helped form the island's Palisadoes tombolo.
Among the variety of terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems are dry and wet limestone forests, rainforest, riparian woodland, wetlands, caves, rivers, seagrass beds and coral reefs. The authorities have recognised the tremendous significance and potential of the environment and have designated some of the more 'fertile' areas as 'protected'. Among the island's protected areas are the Cockpit Country, Hellshire Hills, and Litchfield forest reserves. In 1992, Jamaica's first marine park, covering nearly , was established in Montego Bay. Portland Bight Protected Area was designated in 1999. The following year Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park was created, covering roughly of a wilderness area which supports thousands of tree and fern species and rare animals.
There are several small islands off Jamaica's coast, most notably those in Portland Bight such as Pigeon Island, Salt Island, Dolphin Island, Long Island, Great Goat Island and Little Goat Island, and also Lime Cay located further east. Much further out - some 50–80 km off the south coast - lie the very small Morant Cays and Pedro Cays.
Jamaica lies in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean and because of this, the island sometimes suffers significant storm damage. Hurricanes Charlie and Gilbert hit Jamaica directly in 1951 and 1988, respectively, causing major damage and many deaths. In the 2000s (decade), hurricanes Hurricane Ivan, Dean, and Hurricane Gustav also brought severe weather to the island.
Today, however, Jamaica is now the home to about 3,000 species of flowering plant (of which over 1,000 are endemism and 200 are species of Orchidaceae), thousands of species of non-flowering flora, and about 20 , some of which are several hundred years old. nAreas of heavy rainfall also contain stands of bamboo, ferns, ebony, mahogany, and rosewood. Cactus and similar dry-area plants are found along the south and southwest coastal area. Parts of the west and southwest consist of large grasslands, with scattered stands of trees.
Jamaican's fauna, typical of the Caribbean, includes highly diversified wildlife with many endemic species. As with other oceanic islands, land mammals are mostly several species of of which at least three endemic species are found only in Cockpit Country, one of which is at-risk. Other species of bat include the fig-eating and lasiurus. The only non-bat native mammal extant in Jamaica is the Jamaican hutia, locally known as the coney. Introduced mammals such as wild boar and the small Asian mongoose are also common. Jamaica is also home to about 50 species of reptiles, the largest of which is the American crocodile; however, it is only present within the Black River and a few other areas. Lizards such as , and snakes such as racers and the Jamaican boa (the largest snake on the island), are common in areas such as the Cockpit Country. None of Jamaica's eight species of native snakes is venomous.
Jamaica is home to about 289 species of birds of which 27 are endemic including the endangered black-Billed parrots and the Jamaican blackbird, both of which are only found in Cockpit Country. It is also the indigenous home to four species of (three of which are found nowhere else in the world): the black-billed streamertail, the Jamaican mango, the Vervain hummingbird, and red-billed streamertails. The red-billed streamertail, known locally as the "doctor bird", is Jamaica's National Symbol. Other notable species include the Jamaican tody and the Greater flamingo,
One species of freshwater turtle is native to Jamaica, the Jamaican slider. It is found only on Jamaica and on a few islands in the Bahamas. In addition, many types of frogs are common on the island, especially . Beautiful and exotic birds, such as the can be found among a large number of others.
Jamaican waters contain considerable resources of fresh-and saltwater fish. The chief varieties of saltwater fish are King mackerel, Carangidae, mackerel, whiting, bonito, and tuna. Fish that occasionally enter freshwater and estuarine environments include Centropomidae, jewfish, mangrove snapper, and mullets. Fish that spend the majority of their lives in Jamaica's fresh waters include many species of , killifish, freshwater Goby, the mountain mullet, and the American eel. Tilapia have been introduced from Africa for aquaculture, and are very common. Also visible in the waters surrounding Jamaica are dolphins, parrotfish, and the endangered manatee.
Insects and other invertebrates are abundant, including the world's largest centipede, the Amazonian giant centipede. Jamaica is the home to about 150 species of butterflies and moths, including 35 indigenous species and 22 subspecies. It is also the native home to the Jamaican swallowtail, the western hemisphere's largest butterfly.
Jamaica's diverse ethnic roots is reflected in the national motto 'Out of Many One People'. Most of the population of 2,812,000 (July 2018 est.) are of African or partially African descent, with many being able to trace their origins to the West African countries of Ghana and Nigeria.
The Jamaican Maroons of Accompong and other settlements are the descendant of African slaves who fled the plantations for the interior where they set up their own autonomous communities.Michael Sivapragasam, After the Treaties: A Social, Economic and Demographic History of Maroon Society in Jamaica, 1739–1842, PhD Dissertation, African-Caribbean Institute of Jamaica library (Southampton: Southampton University, 2018), pp. 23–24.E. Kofi Agorsah, "Archaeology of Maroon Settlements in Jamaica", Maroon Heritage: Archaeological, Ethnographic and Historical Perspectives, ed. E. Kofi Agorsah (Kingston: University of the West Indies Canoe Press, 1994), pp. 180-81.Craton, Michael. Testing the Chains. Cornell University Press, 1982, p. 70. Many Maroons continue to have their own traditions and speak their own language, known locally as Kromanti.
Asians form the second-largest group and include Indo-Jamaicans and Chinese Jamaicans. CIA (The World Factbook): Jamaica Most are descended from indentured workers brought by the British colonial government to fill labour shortages following the abolition of slavery in 1838. Prominent Indian Jamaicans include jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who was the first Jamaican in the Kentucky Derby, NBC Nightly News journalist Lester Holt, and Miss Jamaica World and Miss Universe winner Yendi Phillips. The southwestern parish of Westmoreland is famous for its large population of Indo-Jamaicans. title= Jamaica National Heritage Trust - The People Who Came Along with their Indian counterparts, Chinese Jamaicans have also played an integral part in Jamaica's community and history. Prominent descendants of this group include Canadian billionaire investor Michael Lee-Chin, supermodels Naomi Campbell and Tyson Beckford, and VP Records founder Vincent "Randy" Chin.
There are about 20,000 Jamaicans who have Lebanese and Syrian ancestry. Most were Christian immigrants who fled the Ottoman Empire occupation of Lebanon in the early 19th century. Eventually their descendants became very successful politicians and businessmen. Notable Jamaicans from this group include former Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga, Jamaican politician and former Miss World Lisa Hanna, Jamaican politicians Edward Zacca and Shahine Robinson, and hotelier Abraham Elias Issa.
In 1835, Lord Seaford gave 500 acres of his 10,000 acre estate in Westmoreland for the Seaford Town German settlement. Today most of the town's descendants are of full or partial German descent. Jamaica National Heritage Trust - The People Who Came
The first wave of English people immigrants arrived to the island 1655 after conquering the Spanish, and they have historically being the dominant group. Prominent descendants from this group include former Americans Governor of New York David Paterson, Sandals Hotels owner Gordon Butch Stewart, United States Presidential Advisor and "mother" of the Pell Grant Lois Rice, and former United States National Security Advisor and Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice. The first Irish immigrants came to Jamaica in the 1600s as war prisoners and later, indentured labour. Their descendants include two of Jamaica's National Heroes: Prime Ministers Michael Manley and Alexander Bustamante. Along with the English people and the Irish people, the Scottish people are another group that has made a significant impact on the island. According to the Scotland Herald newspaper, Jamaica has more people using the Campbell surnames than the population of Scotland itself, and it also has the highest percentage of Scottish surnames outside of Scotland. Scottish surnames account to about 60% of the surnames in the Jamaican phone books. The first Jamaican inhabitants from Scotland were exiled "rebels". Later, they would be followed by ambitious businessmen who spent time between their great country estates in Scotland and the island. As a result, many of the slave owning plantations on the island were owned by Scottish men, and thus a large number of mixed-race Jamaicans can claim Scottish ancestry. High immigration from Scotland continued until well after independence. Today, notable Scottish-Jamaicans include the businessman John Pringle, former American Secretary of State Colin Powell, and American actress Kerry Washington.
There is also a significant Portuguese Jamaican population that is predominantly of Sephardic Jewish heritage; they are primarily located in the Saint Elizabeth Parish in southwest Jamaica. The first Jews arrived as explorers from Spain in the 15th century after being forced to convert to Christianity or face death. A small number of them became slave owners and even famous pirates. Judaism eventually became very influential in Jamaica and can be seen today with many Jewish cemeteries around the country. During the Holocaust Jamaica became a refuge for Jews fleeing persecution in Europe. Famous Jewish descendants include the dancehall artist Sean Paul, former record producer and founder of Island Records Chris Blackwell, and Jacob De Cordova who was the founder of the Gleaner Company newspaper
In recent years immigration has increased, coming mainly from China, Haiti, Cuba, Colombia, and Latin America; 20,000 Latin Americans reside in Jamaica. In 2016, the Prime Minister Andrew Holness suggested making Spanish Jamaica's second official language. About 7,000 United States also reside in Jamaica. Notable American with connection to the island include fashion icon Ralph Lauren, philanthropist Daisy Soros, Blackstone's Schwarzman family, the family of the late Lieutenant Governor of Delaware John W. Rollins, fashion designer Vanessa Noel, investor Guy Stuart, Edward and Patricia Falkenberg, and iHeart Media CEO Bob Pittman, all of whom hold annual charity events to support the island.
Additionally, some Jamaicans use one or more of Jamaican Sign Language (JSL), American Sign Language (ASL) or the indigenous Jamaican Country Sign Language (Konchri Sain). Both JSL and ASL are rapidly replacing Konchri Sain for a variety of reasons.
British Jamaican number an estimated 800,000 making them by far the country's largest African-Caribbean group. Large-scale migration from Jamaica to the UK occurred primarily in the 1950s and 1960s when the country was still under British rule. Jamaican communities exist in most large UK cities. Concentrations of expatriate Jamaicans are quite considerable in numerous cities in the United States, including New York City, Buffalo, the South Florida metro area, Atlanta, Chicago, Orlando, Tampa, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Hartford, Providence and Los Angeles.Jones, Terry-Ann. Jamaican Immigrants in the United States and Canada: Race, Transnationalism, and Social Capital. New York, NY: LFB Scholarly Piblishing LLC, 2008. 2–3; 160–3. Print. In Canada, the Jamaican population is centred in Toronto, with smaller communities in cities such as Hamilton, Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Ottawa. Jamaican Canadians comprise about 30% of the entire Black Canadians population. Ethnic origins, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data, Statistics Canada (2006). Retrieved on August 11, 2008. Visible minority groups, 2006 counts, for Canada, provinces and territories - 20% sample data, Statistics Canada (2006). Retrieved on March 19, 2011.
A notable though much smaller group of emigrants are Jamaicans in Ethiopia. These are mostly Rastafarians, in whose theological worldview Africa is the promised land, or 'Zion', or more specifically Ethiopia, due to reverence in which former Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie is held. Most live in the small town of Shashamane about 150 miles (240 km) south of the capital Addis Ababa.
However, there were 1,682 reported murders in 2009 and 1,428 in 2010. After 2011 the murder rate continued to fall, following the downward trend in 2010, after a strategic programme was launched. In 2012, the Ministry of National Security reported a 30 percent decrease in murders.Pachico, Elyssa (2012-3-30). "Jamaica Murder Rate Dropped 30% in 2012". InSightCrime: Organized Crime in the Americas. Retrieved 2012-12-1. Nevertheless, in 2017 murders rose by 22% over the previous year.
The Rastafari has 29,026 adherents, according to the 2011 census, with 25,325 Rastafarian males and 3,701 Rastafarian females. The faith originated in Jamaica in the 1930s and though rooted in Christianity it is heavily Afrocentric in its focus, revering figures such as the Jamaican black nationalist Marcus Garvey and Haile Selassie, the former Emperor of Ethiopia.Savishinsky, Neil J. "Transnational popular culture and the global spread of the Jamaican Rastafarian movement." NWIG: New West Indian Guide/Nieuwe West-Indische Gids 68.3/4 (1994): 259-281. Rastafari has since spread across the globe, especially to areas with large black or African diasporas.Stephen D. Glazier, Encyclopedia of African and African-American Religions, 2001, p. 263.
Various faiths and traditional religious practices derived from Africa are practised on the island, notably Kumina, Convince, Myal and Obeah.
Other religions in Jamaica include Jehovah's Witnesses (2% population), the Bahá'í faith, which counts perhaps 8,000 adherents and 21 Local Spiritual Assemblies, Mormonism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. The Hindu Diwali festival is celebrated yearly among the Indo-Jamaican community. religiousintelligence.co.uk, religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu
There is also a small population of about 200 Judaism, who describe themselves as Liberal-Conservative. The first Jews in Jamaica trace their roots back to early 15th-century Spain and Portugal. Kahal Kadosh Shaare Shalom, also known as the United Congregation of Israelites, is a historic synagogue located in the city of Kingston. Originally built in 1912, it is the official and only Jewish place of worship left on the island. The once abundant Jewish population has voluntarily converted to Christianity over time. Shaare Shalom is one of the few synagogues in the world that contains sand covered floors and is a popular tourist destination.
Other small groups include Muslims, who claim 5,000 adherents. The Muslim holidays of Ashura (known locally as Hussay or Hosay) and Muslim holidays have been celebrated throughout the island for hundreds of years. In the past, every plantation in each parish celebrated Hosay. Today it has been called an Indian carnival and is perhaps most well known in Clarendon where it is celebrated each August. People of all religions attend the event, showing mutual respect.
Bob Marley is probably the best known Jamaican musician; with his band The Wailers he had a string of hits in 1960s-70s, popularising reggae internationally and going on to sell millions of records.
Roger Mais (1905 – 1955), a journalist, poet, and playwright wrote many short stories, plays, and novels, including The Hills Were Joyful Together (1953), Brother Man (1954), and Black Lightning (1955).Hawthorne, Evelyn J. "The Writer and the Nationalist Model", Roger Mais and the Decolonization of Caribbean Culture, NY: Peter Lang, 1989, p. 7.
Ian Fleming (1908-1964), who had a home in Jamaica where he spent considerable time, repeatedly used the island as a setting in his James Bond novels, including Live and Let Die, Doctor No, "For Your Eyes Only", The Man with the Golden Gun, and Octopussy and The Living Daylights. In addition, James Bond uses a Jamaica-based cover in Casino Royale. So far, the only James Bond film adaptation to have been set in Jamaica is Doctor No. Filming for the fictional island of San Monique in Live and Let Die took place in Jamaica.
Jamaica has produced some of the world's most famous cricketers, including George Headley, Courtney Walsh, and Michael Holding. The country was one of the venues of 2007 Cricket World Cup and the West Indies cricket team is one of 10 ICC full member teams that participate in international Test cricket. The Jamaica national cricket team competes regionally, and also provides players for the West Indies team. Sabina Park is the only Test venue in the island, but the Greenfield Stadium is also used for cricket. Chris Gayle is the most renowned batsman from Jamaica currently representing the West Indies cricket team.
Since independence Jamaica has consistently produced world class athletes in track and field. In Jamaica involvement in athletics begins at a very young age and most high schools maintain rigorous athletics programs with their top athletes competing in national competitions (most notably the VMBS Girls and Boys Athletics Championships) and international meets (most notably the Penn Relays). In Jamaica it is not uncommon for young athletes to attain press coverage and national fame long before they arrive on the international athletics stage.
Over the past six decades Jamaica has produced dozens of world class sprinters including Olympic and World Champion Usain Bolt, world record holder in the 100m for men at 9.58s, and 200m for men at 19.19s. Other noteworthy Jamaican sprinters include Arthur Wint, the first Jamaican Olympic gold medalist; Donald Quarrie, Elaine Thompson double Olympic champion from Rio 2016 in the 100m and 200m, Olympic Champion and former 200m world record holder; Roy Anthony Bridge, part of the International Olympic Committee; Merlene Ottey; Delloreen Ennis-London; Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, the former World and two time Olympic 100m Champion; Kerron Stewart; Aleen Bailey; Juliet Cuthbert; three-time Olympic gold medalist; Veronica Campbell-Brown; Sherone Simpson; Brigitte Foster-Hylton; Yohan Blake; Herb McKenley; George Rhoden, Olympic gold medalist; Deon Hemmings, Olympic gold medalist; as well as Asafa Powell, former 100m world record holder and 2x 100m Olympic finalist and gold medal winner in the men's 2008 Olympic 4 × 100 m. American Olympic winner Sanya Richards-Ross was also born in Jamaica.
Jamaica has also produced several world class amateur and professional boxers including Trevor Berbick and Mike McCallum. First-generation Jamaican athletes have continued to make a significant impact on the sport internationally, especially in the United Kingdom where the list of top British boxers born in Jamaica or of Jamaican parents includes Lloyd Honeyghan, Chris Eubank, Audley Harrison, David Haye, Lennox Lewis and Frank Bruno, Donovan Ruddock, Mike Tyson, and Floyd Mayweather Jr., whose maternal grandfather is Jamaican.
Association football and horse-racing are other popular sports in Jamaica. The national football team qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Horse racing was Jamaica's first sport. It was brought in the 1700s by British immigrants to satisfy their longing for their favorite pastime back at home. During slavery, the Afro-Jamaican slaves were considered the best horse jockeys. Today, horse racing provides jobs for about 20,000 people including horse breeders, groomers, and trainers. Also, several Jamaicans are known internationally for their success in horse racing including Richard DePass, who once held the Guinness Book of World Records for the most wins in a day, Canadian awards winner George HoSang, and American award winners Charlie Hussey, Andrew Ramgeet, and Barrington Harvey. Also, there are hundreds of Jamaicans who are employed in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom as exercise riders and groomers.
The Jamaica national bobsled team was once a serious contender in the Winter Olympics, beating many well-established teams. Chess and basketball are widely played in Jamaica and are supported by the Jamaica Chess Federation (JCF) and the Jamaica Basketball Federation (JBF), respectively. Netball is also very popular on the island, with the Jamaica national netball team called The Sunshine Girls consistently ranking in the top five in the world.
Rugby league has been played in Jamaica since 2006. Jamaica Rugby league History The Jamaica national rugby league team is made up of players who play in Jamaica and from United Kingdom based professional and semi professional clubs (notably in the Super League and Championship). In November 2018 for the first time ever, the Jamaican rugby league team qualified for the Rugby League World Cup after defeating the USA & Canada. Jamaica will play in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England.
Presently the following categories of schools exist:
Education is free from the early childhood to secondary levels. There are also opportunities for those who cannot afford further education in the vocational arena, through the Human Employment and Resource Training-National Training Agency (HEART Trust-NTA) programme, which is opened to all working age national population and through an extensive scholarship network for the various universities.
Students are taught Spanish in school from the primary level upwards; about 40–45% of educated people in Jamaica knows some form of Spanish.
Supported by multilateral financial institutions, Jamaica has, since the early 1980s, sought to implement structural reforms aimed at fostering private sector activity and increasing the role of market forces in resource allocation Since 1991, the government has followed a programme of economic liberalisation and stabilisation by removing exchange controls, floating the exchange rate, cutting , stabilising the Jamaican dollar, reducing inflation and removing restrictions on foreign investment. Emphasis has been placed on maintaining strict fiscal discipline, greater openness to trade and financial flows, market liberalisation and reduction in the size of government. During this period, a large share of the economy was returned to private sector ownership through divestment and privatisation programmes. The free-trade zones at Kingston, Montego Bay and Spanish Town allow duty-free importation, tax-free profits, and free repatriation of export earnings.
Jamaica's economy grew strongly after the years of independence, but then stagnated in the 1980s, due to the heavy falls in price of bauxite and fluctuations in the price of agriculture. The financial sector was troubled in 1994, with many banks and insurance companies suffering heavy losses and liquidity problems. According to the Commonwealth Secretariat, "The government set up the Financial Sector Adjustment Company (Finsac) in January 1997 to assist these banks and companies, providing funds in return for equity, and acquired substantial holdings in banks and insurance companies and related companies,.. but it only exasperated the problem, and brought the country into large external debt. From 2001, once it had restored these banks and companies to financial health, Finsac divested them." The Government of Jamaica remains committed to lowering inflation, with a long-term objective of bringing it in line with that of its major trading partners.
In 1996 and 1997 there was a decrease in GDP largely due to significant problems in the financial sector and, in 1997, a severe island-wide drought (the worst in 70 years) and hurricane that drastically reduced agricultural production. In 1997 and 1998, nominal GDP was approximately a high of about 8 percent of GDP and then lowered to 4½ percent of GDP in 1999 and 2000. The economy in 1997 was marked by low levels of import growth, high levels of private capital inflows and relative stability in the foreign exchange market.
Recent economic performance shows the Jamaican economy is recovering. Agricultural production, an important engine of growth increased to 5.5% in 2001 compared to the corresponding period in 2000, signalling the first positive growth rate in the sector since January 1997. In 2018, Jamaica reported a 7.9% increase in maize, 6.1% increase in cooking banana, 10.4% increase in , 2.2% increase in , 13.3% increase in dasheen, 24,9% increase in , and a 10.6% increase in whole milk production. Bauxite and alumina production increased 5.5% from January to December 1998, compared to the corresponding period in 1997. January's bauxite production recorded a 7.1% increase relative to January 1998 and continued expansion of alumina production through 2009 is planned by Alcoa. No gas from Trinidad, Venezuela by 2009 – Jamaica Observer.com
at www.jamaicaobserver.com Jamaica is the fifth largest exporter of bauxite in the world, after Australia, China, Brazil and Guinea. The country also exports [[limestone]] of which it holds large deposits. The government is currently implementing plans to increase its extraction.
A Canadian company, Carube Copper Corp, has found and confirmed, "...the existence of at least seven significant Cu/Au porphyry systems (in St. Catherine)." They have estimated that, "The porphyry distribution found at Bellas Gate is similar to that found in the Northparkes mining district of New South Wales, Australia (which was) sold to China in 2013 for US$820 million." Carube noted that Jamaica's geology, "... is similar to that of Chile, Argentina and the Dominican Republic — all productive mining jurisdictions." Mining on the sites began in 2017.
Tourism, which is the largest foreign exchange earner, showed improvement as well. In 1999 the total visitor arrivals was 2 million, an increase of 100,000 from the previous year. Since 2017, Jamaica's tourism has risen exponentially, rising to 4.3 million average tourists per year. Jamaica's largest tourist markets are from North America, South America, and Europe. In 2017, Jamaica recorded a 91.3% increase in stopover visitors from Southern and Western Europe (and a 41% increase in stopover arrivals from January to September 2017 over the same period from the previous year) with Germany, Portugal and Spain registering the highest percentage gains. In 2018, Jamaica won several World Travel Awards in Portugal winning the "Chairman's Award for Global Tourism Innovation", "Best Tourist Board in the Caribbean" "Best Honeymoon Destination", "Best Culinary Destination", "World's Leading Beach Destination" and "World's Leading Cruise Destination". Two months later, the Travvy Tourism Awards held in New York City, awarded Jamaica's Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, with the inaugural Chairman's Award for, "Global Tourism Innovation for the Development of the Global Tourism Resilience and Crisis Management Centre (GTRCM)". Bartlett has also won the Pacific Travel Writer's Association's award in Germany for the, "2018 Best Tourism Minister of the Year".
Petrojam, Jamaica's national and only petroleum refinery, is co-owned by the Government of Venezuela. Petrojam, "..operates a 35,000 barrel per day hydro-skimming refinery, to produce Automotive Diesel Oil; Heavy Fuel Oil; Kerosene/Jet Fuel, Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG), Asphalt and Gasoline." Customers include the Power industry, Aircraft refuelers, and Local Marketing companies. On 20 February 2019, the Jamaican Government voted to retake ownership of Venezuela's 49% share.
Jamaica's agricultural exports are sugar, bananas, cocoa bean, coconuts, molasses oranges, limes, grapefruit, rum, yams, allspice (of which it is the world's largest and "most exceptional quality" exporter), and Blue Mountain Coffee which is considered a world renowned gourmet brand.
Jamaica has a wide variety of industrial and commercial activities. The aviation industry is able to perform most routine aircraft maintenance, except for heavy structural repairs. There is a considerable amount of technical support for transport and agricultural aviation. Jamaica has a considerable amount of industrial engineering, light manufacturing, including metal fabrication, metal roofing, and furniture manufacturing. Food and beverage processing, glassware manufacturing, software and data processing, printing and publishing, insurance underwriting, music and recording, and advanced education activities can be found in the larger urban areas. The Jamaican construction industry is entirely self-sufficient, with professional technical standards and guidance.
Since the first quarter of 2006, the economy of Jamaica has undergone a period of staunch growth. With inflation for the 2006 calendar year down to 6.0% and unemployment down to 8.9%, the nominal GDP grew by an unprecedented 2.9%. Statistical Institute of Jamaica at www.statinja.com An investment programme in island transportation and utility infrastructure and gains in the tourism, mining, and service sectors all contributed this figure. All projections for 2007 show an even higher potential for economic growth with all estimates over 3.0% and hampered only by urban crime and public policies.
The global economic downturn had a significant impact on the Jamaican economy for the years 2007 to 2009, resulting in negative economic growth. The government implemented a new Debt Management Initiative, the Jamaica Debt Exchange (JDX) on 14 January 2010. The initiative would see holders of Government of Jamaica (GOJ) bonds returning the high interest earning instruments for bonds with lower yields and longer maturities. The offer was taken up by over 95% of local financial institutions and was deemed a success by the government.
Owing to the success of the JDX program, the Bruce Golding-led government was successful in entering into a borrowing arrangement with the IMF on 4 February 2010 for the amount of US$1.27b. The loan agreement is for a period of three years.
In April 2014, the Governments of Jamaica and China signed the preliminary agreements for the first phase of the Jamaican Logistics Hub (JLH) – the initiative that aims to position Kingston as the fourth node in the global logistics chain, joining Rotterdam, Dubai and Singapore, and serving the Americas. The Project, when completed, is expected to provide many jobs for Jamaicans, Economic Zones for multinational companies and much needed economic growth to alleviate the country's heavy debt-to-GDP ratio. Strict adherence to the IMF's refinancing programme and preparations for the JLH has favourably affected Jamaica's credit rating and outlook from the three biggest rating agencies. In 2018, both Moody's and Standard and Poor Credit ratings upgraded Jamaica's ratings to both "stable and positive" respectively.
There are several other ports positioned around the island, including Port Esquivel in St. Catherine (WINDALCO), Rocky Point in Clarendon, Port Kaiser in St. Elizabeth, Port Rhoades in Discovery Bay, Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios, and Boundbrook Port in Port Antonio.
To aid the navigation of shipping, Jamaica operates nine lighthouses. Annual Transport Statistics Report: Jamaica in Figures 2003-2004 , Ministry of Transport and Works, July 2005. They are maintained by the Port Authority of Jamaica, an agency of the Ministry of Transport and Works.
Jamaica's electrical power is produced by diesel (Bunker fuel) generators located in Old Harbour. Other smaller power stations (most owned by the Jamaica Public Service Company, the island's electricity provider) support the island's electrical grid including the Hunts Bay Power Station, the Bogue Power Station, the Rockfort Power Station and small hydroelectric plants on the White River, Rio Bueno, Morant River, Black River (Maggotty) and Roaring River. A wind farm, owned by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, was established at Wigton, Manchester.
Jamaica imports approximately of oil energy products per day, including asphalt and lubrication products. Just 20% of imported fuels are used for road transportation, the rest being used by the bauxite industry, electricity generation, and aviation. 30,000 barrels/day of crude imports are processed into various motor fuels and asphalt by the Petrojam Refinery in Kingston.
Jamaica produces enormous quantities of hydrous ethanol (at least 5% water content), most of which appears to be consumed as beverages, and none used as motor fuel. Facilities exist to refine hydrous ethanol feedstock into Absolute ethanol (0% water content), but as of 2007, the process appeared to be uneconomic and the production plant was idle.
The country's two mobile operators – FLOW Jamaica (formerly LIME, bMobile and Cable and Wireless Jamaica) and Digicel have spent millions in network upgrades and expansion. The newest operator, Digicel was granted a licence in 2001 to operate mobile services in the newly liberalised telecom market that had once been the sole domain of the incumbent FLOW (then Cable and Wireless Jamaica) monopoly. Digicel opted for the more widely used GSM wireless system, while a past operator, Oceanic (which became Claro Jamaica and later merged with Digicel Jamaica in 2011) opted for the CDMA standard. FLOW (formerly "LIME" – pre-Columbus Communications merger) which had begun with Digital AMPS standard, subsequently upgraded to GSM in 2002, decommissioned TDMA in 2006 and only used that standard until 2009 when LIME launched its 3G network. Both operators currently provide islandwide coverage with HSPA+ (3G) technology. Currently, only Digicel offers LTE to its customers whereas FLOW Jamaica has committed to launching LTE in the cities of Kingston and Montego Bay, places where Digicel's LTE network is currently only found in, in short order.
A new entrant to the Jamaican communications market, Flow Jamaica, laid a new submarine cable connecting Jamaica to the United States. This new cable increases the total number of submarine cables connecting Jamaica to the rest of the world to four. Cable and Wireless Communications (parent company of LIME) acquired the company in late 2014 and replaced their brand LIME with FLOW. FLOW Jamaica currently has the most broadband and cable subscribers on the island and also has 1 million mobile subscribers, second to Digicel (which had, at its peak, over 2 million mobile subscriptions on its network).
Digicel entered the broadband market in 2010 by offering WiMAX broadband, capable of up to 6 Mbit/s per subscriber. To further their broadband share post-LIME/FLOW merger in 2014, the company introduced a new broadband service called Digicel Play, which is Jamaica's second FTTx offering (after LIME's deployment in selected communities in 2011). It is currently only available in the parishes of Kingston, Portmore and St. Andrew. It offers speeds of up to 200 Mbit/s down, 100 Mbit/s up via a pure fibre optic network. Digicel's competitor, FLOW Jamaica, has a network consisting of ADSL, Coaxial and Fibre to the Home (inherited from LIME) and only offers speeds up to 100 Mbit/s. FLOW has committed to expanding its Fibre offering to more areas in order to combat Digicel's entrance into the market.
It was announced that the Office and Utilities Regulations (OUR), Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining (MSTEM) and the Spectrum Management Authority (SMA) have given approval for another mobile operator licence in January 2016. The identity of this entrant was ascertained on May 20, 2016, when the Jamaican Government named the new carrier as Symbiote Investments Limited operating under the name Caricel. The company will focus on 4G LTE data offerings and will first go live in the Kingston Metropolitan Area and will expand to the rest of Jamaica thereafter.