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Jamaica, Caribbean

26 Jan, 2009

Jamaica, Caribbean

The island nation known as Jamaica is situated in the Caribbean and is a popular tourist destination. Jamaica is famous for a lot of things, one of which is its music. Famously linked with the island nation are genres like ska, reggae, dub, rocksteady, ragga, and dancehall. Being the home of the Rastafari movement, Jamaica was made more famous by one of the followers and believers of this movement, Bob Marley. Jamaica and Bob Marley became somewhat synonymous to one another and any mention of the famous musician often brings up thoughts and images of Jamaica and its culture.

Geography

The island that is called Jamaica is located in the Caribbean Sea and is found 90 miles to the south of the country Cuba, west of the Dominican Republic and Haiti which are both on the island called Hispaniola. This Commonwealth realm has a total land area of 10, 991 square kilometers which translates to an island that is 234 kilometers long and 80 kilometers wide. 1.5 % of the island is composed of water, which makes it reasonable that the original inhabitants of the island named it Xaymaca which can mean Land of Springs or Land of Wood and Water. The capital of Jamaica is Kingston, a name that has been heard over and over again in songs popularized by such musicians like Bob Marley and the reggae band UB40. The island is said to rank third in size in the Caribbean. It also holds the distinction of being the most populated one in the region as well.

Jamaica is composed of a few towns and cities that include Spanish Town, Portmore, Ocho Rios, Mandeville and the more famous Montego Bay. Since the island is located in what is called the Atlantic Ocean’s hurricane belt, it has seen its fair share of storms and storm damage. Some of the notable hurricanes that have wreaked havoc on the island include hurricanes Ivan, Charlie, Gilbert and Gustav. Gilbert and Charlie hit the island way back in the 1950s and the 1980s while the other hurricanes hit Jamaica sometime in the new millennium. Hurricanes are common-enough occurrences in the region but are only prevalent during certain seasons.

Jamaica, Caribbean

Ethnicity

Afro-European and African descended people populate the island of Jamaica, although there are a few other minorities to be found here. While they make up 85% of the current Jamaican populace, there are about a few thousand East Indians, or 5.2%, there. There are also Asians, Latin Americans, Caucasians that consist of British, Germans and Irish and a few thousand Americans who live here. The country generally uses English as its language, with the British kind of English taking center stage while some other languages can be heard around the cities and towns here. Jamaican patois is a language that is spoken by a lot of the people here as well. It is a combination of many different African languages and English, a few words from the Spanish, French and Portuguese as well as a spattering of Asian and Caribbean languages. This language is considered either a dialect of the more staid English language or a totally separate one.

Tourism and Culture

Being in the Caribbean, Jamaica has been known to be a prime tourist destination for a very long time. Due to the lovely beaches and the unique culture that can be only found in Jamaica, every year sees a huge number of tourists entering the island nation. The Jamaican culture has been spread by a huge number of emigrants who extol the virtues of the Rastafari Movement and a lot of them have made a mark in many different areas and aspects. The island has been featured in a number of movies as well, giving the tourism t here a huge boost, not that it needed it though.

There is a lot to experience in Jamaica, from art to dance to food. Jamaican food includes delectable local seafood, sumptuous barbecues, exotic desserts and tropical drinks. One very popular food that comes from Jamaica and is making its way around the world is the meat recipe called the Jerk. Jerk is actually a kind of marinade that is used on any piece of meat and gives people a taste of how flavorful Jamaican food is. Jamaican dance is also something you should not miss out on when on the island. The local dances are a combination of African and European influences and are a sight to see. Jamaican art is also a sight to behold with the bold and vibrant colors that make up paintings made by local artists and these art pieces show how Jamaica is as seen through the eyes of these artists as well as how the locals want the world to see them.

Jamaica, Caribbean

Economy and Business

While tourism does bring in quite a chunk of foreign income, it is not the sole source of funds for the country’s economy. The island of Jamaica can boast of numerous enterprises, both government run and privately owned, fueling its economy. Some of the industries that help the country’s GDP include mining, agriculture, insurance and financial services as well as tourism and manufacturing. Along with tourism, mining also brings in a huge amount of foreign income to the island. Jamaica exports alumina and bauxite, and increased production is seen as a way to increase income for the island as well. Agricultural products that come from the island and see its way into the many different countries that trade with Jamaica include bananas, rum, coffee beans, sugar and yams.

Other industries that help keep Jamaica’s economy on even keel include commercial and industrial businesses like metal fabrication, furniture manufacturing, industrial engineering, glassware manufacturing and the processing of food and beverage. You can also include publishing and printing, music and recording, insurance underwriting, data processing and software development as part of the list of industries that help boost the Jamaican economy. Construction businesses and the aviation industry also help employ people in the region and add to the coffers of the island nation as well.

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One Response to “Jamaica, Caribbean”

  1. I had read about a few of these things on other sites but they didn’t go into as much detail. Thanks for the posts.

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