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Local Beach, Jamaica
Dunns River Falls, Jamaica
Local wood carver, Jamaica
Doctor Bird, Jamaica
Paw paw tree
River tour, Jamaica
Walking on water in Jamaica
Jamaica - Another day in paradise
Deep sea fishing boat, Jamaica
Beach iin Jamaica
River tour, Jamaica
Beach vendors in Jamaica
Kids by the shop, Jamaica
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Beach in Jamaica
ATV tour, Jamaica
Rick's Cafe, Jamaica
Beach bar, Jamaica
Local fishing in Jamaica
Bob Marley's pillow, Jamaica
Chukka Ocean Safari, Jamaica
   
  Jamaica  
     
  From Wikipedia - the free encyclopedia

Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometers (146 mi) in length and as much as 80 kilometers (50 mi) in width situated in the Caribbean Sea. It is about 620 kilometres (385 mi) northeast of the Central American mainland, 145 kilometers (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 190 kilometers (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. Jamaica has a history that has been greatly affected by slavery and the slave trade. It is the third most populous anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada.

The national motto, "Out of Many, One People," celebrates unity among the many cultures and races.
 
   
  Quick Facts:  
Capital (and largest city): Kingston - 17°59 N, 76°48 W  
Official languages: English  
Demonym: Jamaican  
Government: Parliamentary Democracy & Constitutional Monarchy  
Independence: August 6, 1962  
Total Area: 10,991 km / 4,244 sq mi  
Population: 2,758,124  
GDP: $11.69 billion  
Per Capita: $4,300  
Currency: Jamaican dollar (JMD)  
Time Zone : (UTC-5)  
Internet TLD: .jm  
Country Dialing Code: +1 876  
Electricity: 240V/50Hz
 
Electric Plug Details: 110 volt / 50 Hz - USA Plug  
 
  Culture:  
  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, 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 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.
 
     
  Communication:  
  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 liberalized 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 utilizes both standards on its network.  
     
  Rastafari:  
  The Rastafari movement was founded in Jamaica. This 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.  
   
  Demographics:  
  Jamaica's population consists mainly of people of West-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.  
   
  Economy:  
  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. Jamaica's resources include coffee, papaya, bauxite, gypsum, limestone, and sugar cane.

Jamaica has a wide variety of industrial and commercial activities. 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 program in island transportation and utility infrastructure and gains in the tourism, mining, and service sectors all contributed this figure. In 2006, Jamaica became part of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as one of the pioneering members.
 
   
  Flora and Fauna:  
  Jamaica's climate is tropical, supporting diverse ecosystems with a wealth of plants and animals. Jamaica's plant life has changed considerably over the centuries. When the Spanish came in 1494- except for small agricultural clearings- the country was deeply forested, but the European settlers cut down the great timber trees for building purposes and cleared the plains, savannas, and mountain slopes for cultivation. Many new plants were introduced including sugarcane, bananas, and citrus trees.

In the areas of heavy rainfall are 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.

The Jamaican animal life, typical of the Caribbean, includes a highly diversified bird life; Parrots, hummingbird, cuckoos, and green todies for example. The wild hog is one of the few native mammals in Jamaica, but there are many reptiles and lizards. Jamaican waters contain considerable resources of fresh-and saltwater fish. The chief varieties of saltwater fish are kingfish, jack, mackerel, whiting, bonito, and tuna. Freshwater varieties include snook, jewfish, gray and black snapper, and mullet. In 1992, Jamaica's first marine park, covering nearly 6 square miles (about 15 square km), was established in Montego Bay. The following year Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park was created on roughly 300 square miles (780 square km) of wilderness that supports thousands of tree and fern species, rare animals, and insects, such as the Homerus swallowtail, the Western Hemisphere's largest butterfly.

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.
 
   
  Geography:  
  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.  
   
  History:  
  The original Arawak 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 Discovery Bay in the parish of St.Ann] 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. Spanish Town has the oldest Cathedral in the British colonies. 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. It remained the capital until 1872, when the city of Kingston was named the capital.

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 labor. Following a series of rebellions, slavery was formally abolished in 1834, with full emancipation from chattel slavery declared in 1838. After the abolition of the slave trade the British imported Indian and Chinese indentured servants in the early 1800s as more cheap labor. The descendants of the Chinese and Indian indentured servants continue to reside in Jamaica today.

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.
 
   
  Language:  
  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. A number of linguists classify Jamaican Patois as a separate language, while others consider it to be a dialect of English.

You may hear some Jamaicans say "Waah gwan?" or "what tah gwan", which is the patois variation of "What's up?" or "What's going on?"
 
   
  Local Cuisine:  
  Although Jamaican food gets a reputation for being spicy, local trends lean towards more versatile food variety. Some of the dishes that you'll see are rice and peas (which is cooked with coconut milk) and patties (which are called empanadas in Spanish speaking countries). The national dish is ackee and saltfish, and MUST be tried by anyone visiting the island. It is made with the local fruit called ackee, which looks like scrambled eggs, but has a unique taste of its own and dried codfish mixed with onions and tomatoes. Another local food is called bammy, which was actually invented by the Arawak (Taino) Indians. It is a flat floury cassava pancake normally eaten during breakfast hours that kind of tastes like corn bread. There is also hard-dough bread (locally called hard do bread). Try toasting it and it tastes better than most bread you'll ever eat. If you are looking for dishes with more meat in them, you can try the jerk foods. The most popular is jerk chicken, although jerk pork and jerk conch are also common. The jerk seasoning is a spice that is spread on the meat on the grill like barbeque sauce. Keep in mind that most Jamaicans eat their food well done, so expect the food to be a bit drier than you are accustomed to. There are also curries such as curried chicken and curried goat which are very popular in Jamaica.

Fruit and vegetables in Jamaica are plentiful. Many of the local varieties are unknown to visitors. Locally grown fruits and vegetables are inexpensive. Visitors may well find that imported produce tends to be more expensive than in their home country. Local and imported fruits are available from road-side vendors.

Finally, there is the category of "ital" food. Ital food is completely vegetarian. Ital food is not generally on the printed menus in the upscale tourist restaurants and can only be found by going to smaller places. Rastafarians are often vegetarians and eat (and serve) ital food.

You can try the local lager called Red Stripe (which is exported to many countries in the west, so there is a good chance you have already tasted it) and Dragon Stout. Most beers can be found in Jamaican pubs and hotels. A local hard drink is Jamaican Rum, which is made from sugar cane. It normally tends to be overproof and drunk with cola or fruit juice.
 
   
  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. 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.

Jamaica has traditionally had a two-party system, with power often alternating between the People's National Party and Jamaica Labor. 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).
 
   
  Respect:  
  Many Jamaican people are very generous and warm. Returning this warmth and friendliness is a great way to show them you appreciate their country.

Chances are, you will be approached at one point or another during your travels in Jamaica for money. Do not feel pressured into giving money. A strong "I'm alright" and walking away is usually the best advice for instances such as this. Note that the European method of just walking away does not work well. You will generally need to engage with someone in order to get away from them.

That being said, if you befriend or encounter one of the many wonderful Jamaican people and you wish to give a friendly gift, that is perfectly acceptable and welcome. Just exercise common sense when it comes to money.

Cultural respect is far more important. You are guests on their island. Please know also that when speaking to the elderly you should say, "Yes ma'am." or "Yes, sir". Good manners should be displayed at all times. Respect the environment and the people. It is a simple rule of thumb that should always be applied when traveling abroad.
 
   
  Transportation:  
  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 kilometers of roads, of which over 15,000 kilometers 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 kilometers of freeway.

Jamaica, as a former British colony, drives on the left. Make note of this when driving, especially when turning, crossing the street, and yielding right of way. Jamaican roads are not renowned for their upkeep nor are their drivers renowned for their caution. Alert and courteous driving is advised at all times. These trips can induce nausea in the more weak of stomach, so it is advisable that if you suffer from motion sickness to bring Dramamine or similar medication. Roads can be very narrow, and be especially alert when going around bends. The highways are pretty crazy by US standards. There is plenty of passing on blind corners and communication with the horn.

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 kilometers of railway found in Jamaica, only 57 kilometers remain in operation, currently used to transport bauxite.[21]

There are two international airports in Jamaica with modern terminals, long runways, and the navigational equipment required to accommodate the large jet aircraft used in modern air travel: Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. Both airports receive hundreds of international flights daily. There are smaller airports in Negril and Ocho Rios as well as another smaller one in Kingston, which can be accessed by smaller, private aircraft.
 
     
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