Country in the West Indies. The territory is 11.2 thousand km2, the population is 2.6 million people. (census 2001). The capital is Kingston (577.6 thousand, 2001 census). The official language is English. National holiday – Independence Day, celebrated on the first Monday of August (since 1962). The monetary unit is the Jamaican dollar (since 1969, before that the pound).
Member of the UN (since 1962) and its specialized bodies, Commonwealth of Nations, ACT (since 1975), OAS (since 1969), Non-Aligned Movement (1972), Leningrad NPP (since 1975), CARICOM (since 1973) and others, since 1994 – seat of the International Seabed Organization.
Geography of Jamaica
Jamaica belongs to the Greater Antilles, located between 17°42′ and 18°28′ north latitude and 76°03′ and 78°27′ west longitude. It is washed by the Caribbean Sea, the length of the coastline is 1022 km. Includes several small islands with a total area of 160 km2. The northern coast is straight, the southern one is winding with a large number of bays, the entrance to some of them is difficult due to coral reefs. Lime plateau occupies 60% of the territory. In the east, it is bordered by the Blue Mountains with the highest peak, Blue Mountain Peak (2256 m). In the south and west, alluvial lowlands, which account for 15% of the surface, in the north, a strip of sandy beaches, called the “Jamaican Riviera”. Strong tectonic activity, the earthquakes of 1692 and 1907 were catastrophic. The total bauxite reserves are estimated at 2.5 billion tons, reliable – 2 billion, which is equal to 9% of the world’s proven reserves. Limestone and gypsum deposits are of industrial importance.
The climate is tropical and humid. The average temperature on the coast is +26°С, in the mountains +22°С. The annual rainfall is 1950 mm: from 800 mm on the south coast to 5050 mm in the mountains. There are 120 rivers, numerous waterfalls, there are sulfuric and radioactive sources. The largest Black River is navigable for small-tonnage vessels at a distance of 40 km from the mouth. Forests have been preserved on 30% of the territory, occupying 335.9 thousand hectares, on another 30% there are separate tree massifs, up to 1.5% of the area covered with trees is deforested annually. The rest of the territory is savannah or agricultural land. The soils on the plains are red-brown, in the mountains – podzolized red soils. The avifauna includes 256 species of birds, of which 30 are found only in Jamaica, the largest land animal is the crocodile, and the endemic species of iguana is found. Mammals 20 species,
Population of Jamaica
According to Countryaah, population of Jamaica in 2002 was estimated at 2624.7 thousand people. During the period between the 1991-2001 censuses, the population increased by 218.7 thousand people, demonstrating an annual increase of 0.88%. Birth rate 20%, mortality 6.5%, infant mortality 13.7 people. per 1000 newborns (2002 estimate). Life expectancy 75.6 years, incl. men 73.7, women 77.7. The balance of migration has been negative for a long time: in 1991-2002 it fluctuated within -7.3-11.0%. The share of urban residents is 52.1%. The ratio between men and women is 97:100; 32.7% of all Jamaicans are children under the age of 15. Competently 86.7% of the adult population, retirement at 60 years old.
The descendants of former slaves imported from Africa in the 16th-19th centuries account for almost 90% of the current inhabitants, mulattoes from a mixture of blacks and Englishmen – St. 7%, groups of immigrants from Europe, India and China. There is a process of ethnic consolidation. Most of the population, especially in rural areas, uses the local dialect of English with the inclusion of Spanish, French and African words.
Among believers, 61.3% are Protestants (Anglicanism, Baptism, to a lesser extent Pentecostalism, Methodism, Lutheranism), Catholics – 4%, approx. 1/3 – followers of Afro-Christian syncretic cults, 2.5 thousand Muslims.
History of Jamaica
Jamaica has been inhabited by Arawakan tribes since 650 AD. e. It was discovered by H. Columbus in 1494. From 1509 it began to be colonized by the Spaniards, from 1513 the importation of slaves from Africa began. In 1655 it was captured by the British, in 1670 it was officially proclaimed a British colony, in the 2nd half. 17th century – the center of piracy. The Negro population repeatedly raised uprisings, the largest in 1865 claimed 500 lives, after which the Legislative Assembly, which had been in force since the 18th century, was liquidated and Jamaica came under the direct control of the crown. In 1944 universal suffrage was introduced. In 1958-62, as part of the West Indies Federation, internal self-government was granted in 1959, independence was proclaimed on August 6, 1962. In 1999, an attempt to raise taxes caused massive popular uprisings that led to human casualties, which forced the government to abandon its plans.