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The country of Jamaica has an ideal location. Located just

south of Cuba, it is the third largest island in the Caribbean Sea with

10,990 km². Although the capital is Kingston, there are many other

important centers of trade and business. The official language is English

and the major religion is Protestantism. Transportation in Jamaica connects

the entire country and movement thought out the island is very easy. There

is a coastal highway traveling the whole coast. Air Jamaica and cruise

ships make traveling to and ffrom the island very easy. But despite all of

the joys, there are very serious human-environmental interactions present.

Mining on the island causes serve pollution and soil erosion. Most of the

natural rainforest is destroyed. But the many beautiful beaches seem to

make all of the worries disappear. I. History The history of Jamaica starts

at about 1000 AD when a Tiano tribe called the Arawaks crossed the

Caribbean Sea in canoes to settle on the island. The Arawaks lived in

simple villages, relying on fishing and hhunting for substance. They lived

there peacefully for 500 years until Columbus landed at Discovery Bay in

1494. The contact with the Spanish was very traumatic to the Arawaks.

Within 70 to 100 years of first contact, the entire Arawaks population was

eliminated, leaving oonly a few artifacts behind. With the natural

inhabitants gone, the Spanish had unlimited control over the island. Since

the island had no rich abundant gold sources, it meant little to the

Spanish Crown. Instead, Jamaica was used as a base in which to launch

attacks on the rest of the Americas. The population of Jamaica, even its

capital Santiago de la Vega (now Spanish Town) never grew very large and

was easy to capture. The British, after failed to capture Hispaniola,

needed a solid base in the Caribbean. So in 1655, Admirals Penn and

Venables attacked the sparsely defended island of Jamaica. Having little

importance to the Spanish at this point, the British had no trouble seizing

the island and establishing Port Royal (near modern day Kingston) as the

capital. TThis would turn out to be a pivotal moment in Jamaica’s history.

The British brought in large numbers of slaves to the area, needing

thousands of hands to work the newly developing sugar plantations. In a

short time, Jamaica turned into the „‘jewels of the English crown’“

(Essix). Many port cities back in England that serviced trade to Jamaica,

as well as the slave traders and plantation owners all prospered during

this time. The capital city of Jamaica was moved to modern day Kingston in

1703 when PPort Royal was burned down 1838 saw great changes in Jamaica.

That year the slaves were emancipated and the whole structure of society

began to crumble. The slaves soon left the plantations to do substance

farming. The tension between the plantations owners and the representatives

from England began to grow. Several riots broke out and many plantations

struggled to pay the wages of the workers. The riots continued until 1962

when Jamaica was granted political independence. A socialist government was

soon elected, which led to immediate U.S. blockades. However, the 1980’s

began a period of a more conservative government for Jamaica. II.

Population Jamaica is a sparsely populated country of 2,600,000 people.

These 2.6 million people live on 10,990 km², for a population density of

about 1 acre per person. This gives Jamaica the distinction of being a

developed countries and being not being overpopulated. However, in some

places of Jamaica, especially along the coast, the cities are overcrowded.

The largest city is Kingston with a population of 600,000 followed by

Spanish Town, Portmore, Montego Bay and others (see graph 6). Still the

largest percentage of people live in rural areas. However, many rural

farmers are moving to the cities in search of work. Jamaica has many ethnic

groups living with its boundaries. The largest group, about 75% oof the

population, are descendants of the slaves brought to Jamaica in the 1800’s.

Another large percentage of the population is composed of descendants of

the European settlers from around the same time period. Over time, small

percentages of people from East India and China have settled in Jamaica.

The 1940’s to 1970’s saw a large emigration pattern out of Jamaica to the

United States. As many as 465,000 Jamaicans left to help in the

reconstruction of the States’ economy after World War II. Since that time,

no large scale immigration or emigration has occurred within the Jamaican

population. The average male in Jamaica has a life expectancy of 73 years,

compared to his female counterpart of 77 years. The birth rate of Jamaica

is 20/1,000, compared to its death rate of 5/1,000. This gives Jamaica a

.7% growth rate. Jamaica has a high literacy rate of 98%, but a

malnourished children rate of 7% and an infant mortality rate of 14 deaths

to 1,000 births. Jamaica has a regressive population pyramid. About 33% of

the population is under 15, while 7% of it is over 65. This leaves 60%

between the ages of 16 and 64. Some 16% of this ideal work force (about 1.5

million Jamaicans) is unemployed, while Jamaica’s debt continues to grow.

Not helped bby this fact is that the per capita income in Jamaica is only US

$1,340. III. Culture The national motto of Jamaica „Out of many, one

people“ has never been more true in any point in its history than it is

now. Almost every creed and religion of people live somewhere on the island

country. These people all speak the national language of English, but

several variations can be found on the island. Protestantism is the

predominant religion on the island. However, most Christian religions can

be found on this island „which has more churches per square mile than any

other country in the world“ (Caribbean 209). Recently, small groups of

Muslims, Jews, Hindu and Bahai have immigrated into the country. The

Rastafarians are a unique and original cult based in Jamaica. These people

follow the teachings of Ras Tafari, once a leader of Ethiopia. Many members

of this cult keep their hair in long dreadlocks and have strict rules for

dress, work and religion. They often make a ...

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