AskDefine | Define Jamaica

Dictionary Definition



1 a country on the island of Jamaica; became independent of England in 1962; much poverty; the major industry is tourism
2 an island in the West Indies south of Cuba and west of Haiti

User Contributed Dictionary

see jamaica



  • jə-mā'kə, /dʒˈmeɪkə/, /dZ@"meIk@/

Proper noun

  1. Country in the Caribbean.


island country in the Caribbean
  • Albanian: Xhamajka
  • Arabic: جامايكا
  • Aragonese: Chamaica
  • Asturian: Xamaica
  • Azerbaijani: Yamayka
  • Basque: Jamaika
  • Belarusian: Ямайка
  • Bengali: জামাইকা
  • Bosnian: Jamajka
  • Breton: Jamaika
  • Bulgarian: Ямайка
  • Catalan: Jamaica
  • Chinese: 牙買加/牙买加
  • Cornish: Jamayka
  • Croatian: Jamajka
  • Czech: Jamajka
  • Danish: Jamaica
  • Dimili:
  • Dutch: Jamaica
  • Esperanto: Jamajko
  • Estonian: Jamaica
  • Finnish: Jamaika
  • French: Jamaïque
  • Galician: Xamaica, Jamaica
  • Georgian: იამაიკა
  • German: Jamaika
  • Greek: Τζαμάικα
  • Hebrew: ג'מייקה
  • Hungarian: Jamaica
  • Icelandic: Jamaíka
  • Ido: Jamaika
  • Indonesian: Jamaika
  • Interlingua: Jamaica
  • Italian: Giamaica
  • Japanese: ジャマイカ (Jamaika)
  • Kashmiri: जमैका
  • Korean: 자메이카
  • Kurdish: Jamaîka
  • Latin: Iamaica
  • Latvian: Jamaika
  • Lithuanian: Jamaika
  • Low German: Jamaika
  • Macedonian: Јамајка
  • Malay: Jamaika
  • Maltese: Ġammajka
  • Manx: Yn Yamaicey
  • Nauruan: Jamaica
  • Norwegian: Jamaica
    Nynorsk: Jamaica
  • Novial:
  • Occitan: Jamaica
  • Pashto: جمايکا
  • Persian: جامائیکا
  • Piemontese:
  • Polish: Jamajka
  • Portuguese: Jamaica
  • Romanian: Jamaica
  • Russian: Ямайка
  • Sanskrit: जमैका
  • Serbian:
    Cyrillic Јамајка
    Roman: Jamajka
  • Sicilian: Giamaica
  • Slovak: Jamajka
  • Slovenian: Jamajka
  • Spanish: Jamaica
  • Swahili: Jamaika
  • Swedish: Jamaica
  • Tagalog: Jamaica
  • Tamil: யமேக்கா
  • Thai: ประเทศจาเมกา
  • Tibetan:
  • Turkish: Jamaika
  • Uighur: يامايكا
  • Ukrainian: Ямайка
  • Vietnamese: Jamaica
  • Volapük: Camekeän
  • Welsh: Jamaica

Derived terms


Proper noun



Proper noun

  1. Jamaica.

Extensive Definition

Jamaica () is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (146 mi) in length and as much as 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width situated in the Caribbean Sea. It is about 620 kilometres (385 mi) northeast of the Central American, 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 190 kilometres (120 mi) west of the island of Hispaniola, on which Haiti and the Dominican Republic are situated. Its indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taíno inhabitants named the island Xaymaca, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water", or the "Land of Springs". Formerly a Spanish possession known as Santiago, it later became the British West Indies Crown colony of Jamaica. It is the third most populous anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada.


The original Arawak and possibly Taino people from South America first settled on the island between 4000 and 1000 BC. Although some claim they became virtually extinct following contact with Europeans, others claim that some survived for a while. There is very little trace of the Arawak culture, and the Jamaican National Heritage Trust is attempting to locate and document any evidence of the Arawaks. Jamaica was claimed for Spain after Christopher Columbus first landed there in 1494. Columbus' probable landing point was Dry Harbour, now called Discovery Bay, where he took formal possession of the island. St. Ann's Bay was the "Saint Gloria" of Columbus who first sighted Jamaica at this point. One mile west of St. Ann's Bay is the site of the first settlement on the island -Sevilla. Sevilla was later abandoned in 1554 because of numerous pirate raids, and the capital was moved to Spanish Town, now located in the parish of St. Catherine, as early as 1534 being then St. Jago de la Vega or Santiago de la Vega. Spanish Town has the oldest Cathedral in the British colonies. The Spanish were forcibly evicted by the English at Ocho Rios in St. Ann. However, it was not until 1655 that at Tower Isle [the site for the last Spanish fort in Jamaica] that the English took over Jamaica. The Spaniard Don Arnoldo de Yassi kept Tower Hill [the site for Tower Isle] from the English for five years, before escaping to Cuba. The site of his departure was fittingly "Runaway Bay" [also in St. Ann]. Names like Montego Bay, the capital of the parish of St. James, derived from the Spanish name manteca bahía (or Bay of Lard) for the large quantity of boar used for the lard-making industry.
The English Admiral William Penn (father of William Penn of Pennsylvania) and General Robert Venables seized the island in 1655. During its first 200 years of English (then British) rule, post Spanish rule, Jamaica became one of the world's leading sugar exporting nations and produced over 77,000 tons of sugar annually between 1820 and 1824, which was achieved through the massive use of imported African slave labour. After the abolition of the slave trade the British imported Indian and Chinese indentured servants in the early 1800s as more cheap labour. The descendants of the Chinese and Indian indentured servants continue to reside in Jamaica today.
By the beginning of the 19th century, the United Kingdom's heavy reliance on slavery resulted in blacks (Africans) outnumbering whites (Europeans) by a ratio of almost 20 to 1, leading to constant opportunities for revolt. Following a series of rebellions, slavery was formally abolished in 1834, with full emancipation from chattel slavery declared in 1838.
During the 1800’s a number of botanical gardens were established. These included the Castleton Garden in 1862 (set up to replace the Bath Garden which was established during the late 1770s and where breadfruit brought to Jamaica by Captain William Bligh was planted but which was subject to flooding), the Cinchona Plantation in 1868 and the Hope Garden during 1874.
In 1945, Sir Horace Hector Hearne became Chief Justice and Keeper of the Records in Jamaica and sat in the Supreme Court, Kingston between 1945 and 1950/1951 before going on to become Chief Justice in Kenya.
Jamaica slowly gained increasing independence from the United Kingdom. In 1958, it became a province in the Federation of the West Indies, a federation among all of the British West Indies. Jamaica attained full independence by leaving the federation in 1962. Strong economic growth averaging about six percent per annum marked its first ten years of independence under conservative governments led successively by Prime Ministers Alexander Bustamante, Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer. The growth was fueled by strong investments in bauxite/alumina, tourism, manufacturing industry and to a lesser extent the agricultural sector. However, the initial optimism of the first decade was accompanied by a growing sense of inequality and a sense that the benefits of growth were not being experienced by the urban poor. This, combined with the effects of a slow-down in the global economy in 1970, prompted the electorate to change the government, electing the PNP (People's National Party) in 1972. However, despite efforts to create more socially equitable policies in education and health, Jamaica continued to lag economically, with its gross national product having fallen in 1980 to some twenty-five percent below the 1972 level. Rising foreign and local debt accompanied by large fiscal deficits resulted in the invitation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) financing from the USA and others, and the imposition of IMF austerity measures (with a greater than 25% interest rate per year).
Economic deterioration continued into the mid 1980s, exacerbated by the closure of the first (Alpart) and third (Alcoa) largest alumina producers, significant reduction in production by the second largest (Alcan), the exit of Reynolds Jamaica Mines Ltd from the Jamaican industry and reduced flows from tourism. During the 1980s Jamaica was still a prosperous country though increases in crime and petty theft began to weigh on the island.
The early capital of Jamaica was Spanish Town in the parish of St. Catherine, the site of the old Spanish colonial capital. The Spanish named the town Santiago de la Vega. In 1655 when the English captured the island, much of the old Spanish capital was burned by the invading troops. The town was rebuilt by the English and renamed Spanish Town. It remained the capital until 1872, when the city of Kingston was named the capital.

Government and politics

Jamaica is a constitutional monarchy with the monarch being represented by a Governor-General. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who officially uses the title "Queen of Jamaica" when she visits the country or performs duties overseas on Jamaica's behalf. See Jamaican Royal Family. The Governor-General is nominated by the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet and appointed by the monarch. All the members of the Cabinet are appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. The monarch and the Governor-General serve largely ceremonial roles, apart from their potent reserve power to dismiss the Prime Minister or Parliament.
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 political independence. This was followed by a reformation of the island's flag.
The Parliament of Jamaica is bicameral, 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 appointed jointly by the Prime Minister and the parliamentary Leader of the Opposition.
In February 2006, Portia Simpson-Miller was elected by delegates of the ruling People's National Party (PNP) to replace P. J. Patterson as President of the Party. At the end of March 2006 when Patterson demitted office, Simpson-Miller became the first female Prime Minister of Jamaica. Former Prime Minister Patterson had held office since the 1992 resignation of Michael Manley. Patterson was re-elected three times, the last being in 2002.
On 3 September 2007, Bruce Golding of the Jamaica Labour Party was voted in as Prime Minister-Designate after achieving a 33 - 27 seat victory over Portia Simpson-Miller and the PNP in the 2007 Jamaican general election. Portia Simpson-Miller conceded defeat on the 5 September 2007. On 11 September 2007, after being sworn in by Governor-General Kenneth Hall, The Hon. Bruce Golding assumed office as Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Jamaica has traditionally had a two-party system, with power often alternating between the People's National Party and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). However, over the past decade a new political party called the National Democratic Movement (NDM) emerged in an attempt to challenge the two-party system. Unfortunately, the NDM has almost become irrelevant in the two party system as it garnered only 540 votes of the over 800,000 votes cast in the September 3 elections. Jamaica is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).


Jamaica is divided into 14 parishes, which are grouped into three historic counties that have no administrative relevance.


Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean, and the most populous English-speaking island in that region. The island of Jamaica is home to the Blue Mountains inland, and is surrounded by a narrow coastal plain. Most major towns and cities are located on the coast. Chief towns and cities include the capital Kingston, Portmore, Spanish Town, Mandeville, Ocho Rios, Port Antonio, and Montego Bay.
The climate in Jamaica is tropical, with hot and humid weather, although higher inland regions have a more temperate climate. Some regions on the south coast, such as the Liguanea Plain and the Pedro Plains are relatively dry rain-shadow areas. Jamaica lies in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean; as a result, the island sometimes experiences significant storm damage. Hurricanes Charlie and Gilbert hit Jamaica directly in 1951 and 1988, respectively, causing major damage, destruction, and many deaths. In the 2000s, hurricanes Ivan and Dean also brought severe weather to the island.


see Demographics of Jamaica

Ethnic origins

Jamaica's population consists mainly of people of African descent, comprising about 90.9% of the demographics. Other populations on the island are as follows: East Indian 1.3%, White 0.2%, Chinese 0.2%, Lebanese 0.1%, Multiracial 7.3%. Immigration from regions such as China, Colombia, South Asia, and other areas of the Caribbean have seen a steady rise.


The official language of Jamaica is English. Informally Jamaican Patois (pronounced patwah) is more commonly spoken by a majority of the population. Although British English or "The Queen's English" is the most obvious influence on patois, it includes words and syntax from various African languages (including Akan Ewe and Yoruba); other European languages (Spanish, Portuguese and French); Pre-Columbian Caribbean languages (Arawak); and Asian languages (Hindi and Hakka) which is evidence of the long standing mixing of the people. In general, patois differs from English in pronunciation, grammar, nominal orthography and syntax, having many intonations to indicate meaning and mood. The language's characteristics include pronouncing /θ/ as [t] and /ð/ as [d], and omitting some initial consonant sounds, principally /h/. For example, the word "there" is . A number of linguists classify Jamaican Patois as a separate language, while others consider it to be a dialect of English.


Over the past several decades, close to a million Jamaicans have emigrated, especially to the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. This emigration appears to have been tapering off somewhat in recent years. However, the great number of Jamaicans living abroad has become known as the "Jamaican diaspora". There has also been emigration of Jamaicans to Cuba.
Concentrations of expatriate Jamaicans are large in a number of cities in the United States, including New York City, Buffalo, the Miami metro area, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, Washington, D.C, Philadelphia, Hartford and Los Angeles. In Canada, the Jamaican population is centred in Toronto, and there are smaller communities in cities such as Montreal and Ottawa. In the United Kingdom, Jamaican communities exist in most large cities where they make up the larger part of the British-Caribbean community.


Christians make up 65.3% of Jamaica's population, with the majority being Protestant, partly due to the influence of the Christian leadership in the British Anti-Slavery Society, and the later influence of abolitionist denominations from the U.S. In spite of resistance by the slave owners, the Christian faith spread rapidly as British Christian abolitionists and educated former slaves joined local Jamaican Christian leaders in the struggle against slavery. Today, the five largest denominations in Jamaica are: Church of God, Seventh-day Adventist, Baptist, Pentecostal and Anglican.
The Rastafari movement was founded in Jamaica. This Back to Africa movement believes that Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was God incarnate, the returned black messiah, come to take the lost Twelve Tribes of Israel back to live with him in Holy Mount Zion in a world of perfect peace, love and harmony. Bob Marley, a convert to the faith, spread the message of Rastafari to the world. There are now estimated to be more than a million Rastafarians throughout the world.
Other non-Christian religions in Jamaica include Bahá'í, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism. There is also a small population of Jews, about 200, who describe themselves as Liberal-Conservative. The first Jews in Jamaica trace their roots back to early 15th century Spain and Portugal. The West African folk cult of Obeah is found in poor urban and rural areas of Jamaica.


Though a small nation, Jamaica is rich in culture, and has a strong global presence. The musical genres reggae, ska, mento, rocksteady, dub, and, more recently, dancehall and ragga all originated in the island's vibrant popular urban recording industry. Jamaica also played an important role in the development of punk rock, through reggae and ska. Internationally known reggae musician Bob Marley was born in Jamaica and is very respected there. Many other internationally known artists were born in Jamaica including Lee "Scratch" Perry, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Big Youth, Jimmy Cliff, Dennis Brown, Desmond Dekker, Beres Hammond, Beenie Man, Shaggy, Grace Jones, Shabba Ranks, Supercat, Buju Banton, Sean Paul, I Wayne, Capleton, Bounty Killer and many others. Famous band artist groups that came from Jamaica include Black Uhuru, Third World Band, Inner Circle, Chalice Reggae Band, Fab Five, and Morgan Heritage. The genre jungle emerged from London's Jamaican diaspora. The birth of hip-hop in New York also owed much to the city's Jamaican community.
Ian Fleming, who lived in Jamaica, repeatedly used the island as a setting in the James Bond novels, including Live and Let Die, Doctor No, For Your Eyes Only, The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy. In addition, James Bond uses a Jamaica-based cover in Casino Royale. So far, the only Bond film to have been set in Jamaica is Doctor No. However, filming for the fictional island of San Monique in Live and Let Die took place in Jamaica.
The American film Cocktail, starring Tom Cruise, is one of the most popular films to depict Jamaica. A look at delinquent youth in Jamaica is presented in the 1970s cops-and-robbers musical film The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff as a frustrated (and psychopathic) reggae musician who descends into a murderous crime spree.
Errol Flynn lived with his third wife Patrice Wymore in Port Antonio in the 1950s. He was responsible for developing tourism to this area, popularising raft trips down rivers on bamboo rafts.

National symbols


Jamaicans, in general, have a large interest in sports. Cricket, Football (soccer), athletics and horse-racing are several popular sports. The Jamaican national cricket team competes regionally, and also provides players for the West Indies. The national football team qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Jamaican athletics have been well represented at the Olympics, World Championships and other major athletics events over the years with leading athletes obtaining medals. Usain Bolt, world record holder in the 100m for men at 9.72s is among a rich heritage of Jamaican athletes to compete on the world stage. The bobsled team was once a serious contender in the Winter Olympics, beating many well-established teams.
There is a notable amount of golf in Jamaica, but it appears to be focused on the international tourism market.


The emancipation of the slaves heralded in the establishment of the Jamaican education system for the masses. Prior to emancipation there were few schools for educating locals. Many sent their children off to England to access quality education.
After emancipation the West Indian Commission granted a sum of money to establish Elementary Schools, now known as All Age Schools. Most of these schools were established by the churches. This was the genesis of the modern Jamaican school system:
Presently the following categories of schools exist:
  • Early childhood – Basic, Infant and privately operated pre- school. Age cohort – 1 – 5 years.
  • Primary – Publicly and privately owned (Privately owned being called Preparatory Schools). Ages 5 – 10 years.
  • Secondary – Publicly and privately owned. Ages 10 – 16 years. The high schools in Jamaica may be either single-sex or co-educational institutions, and many schools follow the traditional English grammar school model used throughout the British West Indies.
Although there is no free education in Jamaica above the primary level, there are 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 and through an extensive scholarship network for the various universities.


Jamaica is a mixed, free-market economy with state enterprises as well as private sector businesses. Major sectors of the Jamaican economy include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism and financial and insurance services. Tourism and mining are the leading foreign exchange earners.
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 liberalization and stabilization by removing exchange controls, floating the exchange rate, cutting tariffs, stabilising the Jamaican currency, 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 macroeconomic stabilisation programme introduced in 1991, which focused on tight fiscal and monetary policies, has contributed to a controlled reduction in the rate of inflation. The annual inflation rate has decreased from a high of 80.2% in 1991 to 7.9% in 1998. inflation for FY1998/99 was 6.2% compared to 7.2% in the corresponding period in CUU1997/98. 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.
After a period of steady growth from 1985 to 1995, real GDP decreased by 1.8% and 2.4% in 1996 and 1997, respectively. The decrease in GDP in 1996 and 1997 was largely due to significant problems in the financial sector and, in 1997, a severe island-wide drought (the worst in 70 years) that drastically reduced agricultural production. In 1997, nominal GDP was approximately J$220,556.2 million (US$6,198.9 million based on the average annual exchange rate of the period).
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 15.3% in third quarter of 1998 compared to the corresponding period in 1997, signaling the first positive growth rate in the sector since January 1997. 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 Tourism, which is the largest foreign exchange earner, showed improvement as well. In the third quarter of 1998, growth in tourist arrivals accelerated with an overall increase of 8.5% in tourism earnings in 1998 when compared to the corresponding period in 1997. Jamaica's agricultural exports are sugar, bananas, coffee, rum,and yams.
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, computer 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% 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.
In 2006, Jamaica became part of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as one of the pioneering members.

International trade

Exports: (1999) 1,238 billion $ (Natural resources: 55.7%, Food 19.1%, Bananas 4%, Chemicals 3.6%, Machinery 2.2%). The main export countries: USA 33.4% , United Kingdom 13.4%, France 5%, Germany 4%, Canada 14.1%, Netherlands 10.2%, Norway 5.8%, Japan 2.3%.
Imports: (1999) 2,89 billion $ (Energy 50.5%, Machinery and Equipment 7.6%, Consumer goods 33.2%). The main import countries: USA 48.1%, Trinidad and Tobago 7.8%, Japan 6.9%, United Kingdom 3.7%, France 5%, Canada 3%.
Exports and Imports for January 2007 -
Exports: (January 2007) Total Goods Exports 166,495 (US$000) (General Merchandise Exports 93.4%, Freezone Exports 2.6%, Goods Procured in Ports 4.0%).
Imports: (January 2007) : Total Goods Import 511,015 (US$000); General Merchandise Imports 97.8%, Freezone Imports 0.3%, Goods Procured in Ports 1.8%).



see Transport in Jamaica The transportation infrastructure in Jamaica consists of roadways, railways, ship and air transport – with roadways forming the backbone of the island's internal transportation system.
The Jamaican road network consists of almost 21,000 kilometres of roads, of which over 15,000 kilometres is paved. The Jamaican Government has, since the late 1990s and in cooperation with private investors, embarked on a campaign of infrastructural improvement projects, one of which includes the creation of a system of freeways, the first such access-controlled roadways of their kind on the island, connecting the main population centers of the island. This project has so far seen the completion of 33 kilometres of freeway.
The Highway 2000 project, which seeks ultimately to link Kingston with Montego Bay and the north coast, is currently undergoing a series of phases/legs. Phase 1 is the highway network between Kingston and Mandeville which itself has been divided into sub-phases: Phase 1a (Kingston-Bushy Park (in actuality, Kingston-Sandy Bay) highway and the upgrade of the Portmore Causeway) which was completed June 2006, and Phase 1b (Sandy Bay-Williamsfield). Phase 2a is the highway between Old Harbour and Ocho Rios, and Phase 2b is the highway between Mandeville and Montego Bay.
Railways in Jamaica, as in many other countries, no longer enjoy the prominent position they once did, having been largely replaced by roadways as the primary means of transport. Of the 272 kilometres of railway found in Jamaica, only 57 kilometres remain in operation, currently used to transport bauxite. There are several other ports positioned around the island, including the alumina ports, Port Esquivel in St.Catherine (WINDALCO), Rocky Point in Clarendon and Port Kaiser in St. Elizabeth. Port Rhoades in Discovery Bay is responsible for transporting bauxite dried at the adjacent Kaiser plant. Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios is responsible for exporting sugar. Montego Freeport in Montego Bay also handles a variety of cargo like(though more limited than) the Port of Kingston, mainly agricultural products. Boundbrook Port in Port Antonio exports bananas. There are also three cruise ship piers along the island, in Ocho Rios, Montego Bay and Port Antonio.
As the island is a large exporter of bauxite, there is considerable freighter traffic. To aid navigation, Jamaica operates nine lighthouses.


Jamaica depends on petroleum imports to satisfy its national energy needs. Many test sites have been explored for oil, but no commercially viable quantities have been found. The most convenient sources of imported oil and motor fuels (diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel) are from Mexico and Venezuela.
Jamaica's electrical power is produced by diesel (bunker oil) 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 80,000 barrels 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.
Jamaica produces enormous quantities of hydrous ethanol (5% water content), most of which appears to be consumed as beverages, and none of it used as motor fuel. Facilities exist to refine hydrous ethanol feedstock into anhydrous ethanol (0% water content), but the process appears to be uneconomic at this time and the facility remains idle.


Jamaica has a fully digital telephone communication system with a mobile penetration of over 95%.
The country’s three mobile operators - Cable and Wireless (marketed as bmobile), Digicel, and Oceanic Digital (operating as MiPhone) - have spent millions in network upgrade and expansion. The Irish owned Digicel has become a generic term for mobile phones in Jamaica. Both Digicel and Oceanic Digital were granted licenses in 2001 to operate mobile services in the newly liberalised telecom market that had once been the sole domain of the incumbent Cable and Wireless monopoly. Digicel opted for the more widely used GSM wireless system, while Oceanic opted for the CDMA standard. Cable and Wireless, which had begun with TDMA standard, subsequently upgraded to GSM, and currently utilises both standards on its network.
With wireless usage increasing, land lines supplied by Cable and Wireless have declined from just over half a million to roughly about three hundred thousand as of 2006. Jamaica's former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson described the situation as "a national challenge of unprecedented proportions". In 2005, Jamaica had 1,674 murders for a murder rate of 64.10 per 100,000 people; that year Jamaica had the highest murder rate in the world. The spate of gangland killings in the UK in particular, can be attributed to Yardie criminals illegally entering the country as part of the international drugs trade.


Further reading

  • Chapman, V.J. 1961. The Marine Algae of Jamaica. Part 1. Myxophyceae and Chlorophyceae. Institute of Jamaica.
  • Chapman, V.J. 1963. The Marine Algae of Jamaica. Part 2. Phaeophyceas and Rhodophyceae. Institute of Jamaica.
Jamaica in Afrikaans: Jamaika
Jamaica in Amharic: ጃማይካ
Jamaica in Arabic: جامايكا
Jamaica in Aragonese: Chamaica
Jamaica in Franco-Provençal: J·amayica
Jamaica in Asturian: Xamaica
Jamaica in Aymara: Xamayka
Jamaica in Azerbaijani: Yamayka
Jamaica in Bengali: জামাইকা
Jamaica in Min Nan: Jamaica
Jamaica in Belarusian: Ямайка
Jamaica in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Ямайка
Jamaica in Tibetan: ཡ་མས་ཁ
Jamaica in Bosnian: Jamajka
Jamaica in Bulgarian: Ямайка
Jamaica in Catalan: Jamaica
Jamaica in Chuvash: Ямайка
Jamaica in Czech: Jamajka
Jamaica in Tumbuka: Jamaika
Jamaica in Welsh: Jamaica
Jamaica in Danish: Jamaica
Jamaica in Pennsylvania German: Tschameeki
Jamaica in German: Jamaika
Jamaica in Dhivehi: ޖެމެއިކާ
Jamaica in Lower Sorbian: Jamajka
Jamaica in Estonian: Jamaica
Jamaica in Modern Greek (1453-): Τζαμάικα
Jamaica in Spanish: Jamaica
Jamaica in Esperanto: Jamajko
Jamaica in Basque: Jamaika
Jamaica in Persian: جامائیکا
Jamaica in Faroese: Jamaika
Jamaica in French: Jamaïque
Jamaica in Western Frisian: Jamaika
Jamaica in Irish: Iamáice
Jamaica in Manx: Yn Yamaicey
Jamaica in Scottish Gaelic: Iaimeuca
Jamaica in Galician: Xamaica - Jamaica
Jamaica in Korean: 자메이카
Jamaica in Croatian: Jamajka
Jamaica in Ido: Jamaika
Jamaica in Iloko: Jamaica
Jamaica in Bishnupriya: জামাইকা
Jamaica in Indonesian: Jamaika
Jamaica in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Jamaica
Jamaica in Ossetian: Ямайкæ
Jamaica in Icelandic: Jamaíka
Jamaica in Italian: Giamaica
Jamaica in Hebrew: ג'מייקה
Jamaica in Javanese: Jamaika
Jamaica in Pampanga: Jamaica
Jamaica in Georgian: იამაიკა
Jamaica in Kashmiri: जमैका
Jamaica in Kazakh: Жәмәйке
Jamaica in Cornish: Jamayka
Jamaica in Swahili (macrolanguage): Jamaika
Jamaica in Haitian: Jamayik
Jamaica in Kurdish: Jamaîka
Jamaica in Latin: Iamaica
Jamaica in Latvian: Jamaika
Jamaica in Luxembourgish: Jamaika
Jamaica in Lithuanian: Jamaika
Jamaica in Ligurian: Giamaica
Jamaica in Hungarian: Jamaica
Jamaica in Macedonian: Јамајка
Jamaica in Malayalam: ജമൈക്ക
Jamaica in Marathi: जमैका
Jamaica in Malay (macrolanguage): Jamaika
Jamaica in Nauru: Jamaica
Jamaica in Dutch: Jamaica
Jamaica in Dutch Low Saxon: Jamaika
Jamaica in Japanese: ジャマイカ
Jamaica in Norwegian: Jamaica
Jamaica in Norwegian Nynorsk: Jamaica
Jamaica in Novial: Jamaika
Jamaica in Occitan (post 1500): Jamaica
Jamaica in Uzbek: Jamaika
Jamaica in Pushto: جمايکا
Jamaica in Piemontese: Giamàica
Jamaica in Low German: Jamaika
Jamaica in Polish: Jamajka
Jamaica in Portuguese: Jamaica
Jamaica in Crimean Tatar: Camayka
Jamaica in Romanian: Jamaica
Jamaica in Quechua: Shamayka
Jamaica in Russian: Ямайка
Jamaica in Northern Sami: Jamaica
Jamaica in Sanskrit: जमैका
Jamaica in Albanian: Xhamajka
Jamaica in Sicilian: Giamaica
Jamaica in Simple English: Jamaica
Jamaica in Slovak: Jamajka
Jamaica in Slovenian: Jamajka
Jamaica in Serbian: Јамајка
Jamaica in Serbo-Croatian: Jamajka
Jamaica in Finnish: Jamaika
Jamaica in Swedish: Jamaica
Jamaica in Tagalog: Jamaica
Jamaica in Tamil: யமேக்கா
Jamaica in Thai: ประเทศจาเมกา
Jamaica in Vietnamese: Jamaica
Jamaica in Tajik: Ямайка
Jamaica in Turkish: Jamaika
Jamaica in Ukrainian: Ямайка
Jamaica in Urdu: جمیکا
Jamaica in Volapük: Camekeän
Jamaica in Wolof: Jamayka
Jamaica in Yoruba: Jamaika
Jamaica in Dimli: Cameika
Jamaica in Samogitian: Jamaika
Jamaica in Chinese: 牙买加
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