Jamaica

jamaica

 

Also known as:

Land of Wood and Water (Root: Xaymaca (Arawak) ) (Source: Caribbean Islands Handbook (Footprint Handbooks), 8th edition)

Motto:

Out of Many One People

Location:

In the Caribbean Sea, 145 km (90 miles) south of Cuba and 160 km (100 miles) west of Haiti.

History:

Jamaica was first settled by Amerindians. Columbus visited the island in 1494, and it fell under Spanish possession from 1509-1655, before becoming a British sugar colony. During the social unrest of the 1930s, two major political parties were formed - the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) by Alexander Bustamante, and the People's National Party (PNP) by Norman Manley. Jamaica joined the West Indies Federation in 1958, but withdrew following a referendum in 1961. The country gained independence in 1962. The PNP instituted a democratic socialist government from 1974-80, and the JLP established free-enterprise government from 1980.

Status:

Independent - 6 August 1962

Capital:

Kingston

Area:

10,991 km2 (4,243 square miles)

Population:

2,717,000 (IMF Estimate 2010)

Currency:

Jamaica Dollar

Airport:

Norman Manley International; Donald Sangster International

Date of joining CARICOM:

1 August 1973

 

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