Close your eyes and picture a beautiful sunset meeting far away on theshimmering clear blue water in front of you. You feel a cool breeze and a hotsun against your skin and the feeling of the warm sand beneath your feet. Youwalk forward and feel the refreshing water wet your legs and you are tickled asa school of tropical fish passes you by. You spot the palm trees and wild plantsoff the shore.
Are you in an unreal paradise? Yes I have. It is Jamaica. Geographical Location Jamaica is blessed with superb geographical location andresources that makes it a great vacation spot. It is an island country south ofCuba and north of South America.
So you must fly or sail there. Its shortdistance from the United States makes it a short distance from here and that isgreat for fliers. It is probably a four -hour flight. Jamaica is only about 17degrees above the equator so it is very warm all year round.
(Grab yoursunglasses and tanning oil!) Land and Resources Everyone sees the commercialsfor the white-sanded beaches and the clear blue water but Jamaica’s terrain ismountainous except for those several tracts of lowlands that you see on TV. Infact Blue Mountain’s, that is the highest mountain in Jamaica, is 7402 ft. Thereare many smaller mountains with many traverse spurs that extend west to theextremity of the island making a gigantic plateau. So if you plan on going toJamaica you had better think of bringing your hiking boots. Lead and Saltdeposits can be found on the island and rich soils can be found on the coastalplains. The island is also equipped with excellent natural harbors, includingthose at Kingston, Saint Ann’s Bay, Montego Bay, and Port Maria.
There is novolcanic activity in Jamaica but it is subject to severe earthquakes. Plants andAnimals Jamaica is filled with luxurious and diverse vegetation. More than 200species have been identified. The indigenous tree include such as the cedar,mahogany, rosewood, ebony, coconut palm, and pimento. Introduced varieties suchas the mango, breadfruit, banana, and plantain also flourish the island.
Jamaican animal life generally includes highly diverse bird life. This groupincludes Parrots, hummingbirds, cuckoos, and green todies. No large four-leggedanimals or venomous reptiles exist there. Culture Jamaica is not only blessedwith great plenty of natural wonders but it’s people and their culture areprobably it’s greatest resource, and that is what draws the people to theisland.
Jamaica’s great dependency on Great Britain form the past 300 yearsshows in the language they speak and in their customs, which are combined withAfrican influences. Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, made Reggae, a distinctivelysyncopated style of Jamaican music popular in the 20th century. It was a greatinfluence on rock in the middle of the 80’s, especially in Britain. GovernmentThe Jamaica constitution, promulgated in 1962, established a parliamentarysystem of government patterned after that of Great Britain. The Prime Ministeris the head of the government. The British monarch is the head of the state andis represented by a governor general, who is appointed on the advice of thePrime Minister.
There is an Executive branch, a Legislative branch, and aJudiciary branch. Their government is quite like ours. The Prime Minister has alot of power, kind of like our president. Jamaica has two political parties. ThePeople’s National Party (PNP) is one.
It is socialist in orientation. The otheris the Jamaica Labour Group (JLP) which supports free enterprise in a mixedeconomy. A minor party is the Jamaica American Party, which favors U. S. statehood for Jamaica. Language and Religion In Jamaica, the principle languagespoken by the people is English.
It is spoken with a local dialect that includesAfrican, Spanish, and French elements. Christianity is the main religionpracticed in Jamaica. Other religious groups are Baptists, Anglicans,Seventh-day Adventists, Pentecostalists, and Roman Catholic. In addition severalJewish, Muslim, and Hindu communities exist. A number of popular groups, such asPocomania and Rastafarianism, are significant and famous in the Jamaicanreligious life.
History Members of the Arawak tribe were the aboriginalinhabitants of the island. They named it Xaymaca. Christopher Columbus sightedthe island during his second voyage, and Xaymaca became a Spanish Colony in1509. The Arawak quickly died out due to disease and harsh treatment. Africanslaves were imported to overcome the resultant labor shortage. An English navalforce under Sir William Penn captured Jamaica in 1655.
The island was formallytransferred to England in 1670 after the Treaty of Madrid. During the finaldecades of the 17th century, great numbers of English immigrants arrived; thesugar, cacao, and other agricultural and forest industries were rapidlyexpanded, and the great demand for plantation labor led to enormous amounts ofslaves to be brought in. In 1682 Port Royal, the chief Jamaican slave market,was destroyed by and earthquake. Kingston was soon established and Parliamentabolished slavery on August 1, 1838.
Large numbers of freed blacks abandoned theplantations following emancipation and took possession of occupied lands,gravely disrupting the economy. Labor shortages bankrupt plantations, anddeclining trade resulted in a delayed economic crisis. Jamaica was made a crowncolony thus losing the large degree of self-government it had since the late17th century. Representative government was partly restored in 1884.
Jamaicagained Independence when it united with the Federation of the West Indies. ThePNP won large parliamentary majority in 1989, returning Manley to power. Heintroduced moderate free-market policies before resigning in March 1992 becauseof poor health. Percival J. Patterson, his successor as Prime Minister and PNPleader, easily won reelection a year later. Jamaica is a jewel.
It is a greatplace with great people, and you can go there and see the beautiful beaches andswim in the beautiful clear blue water, or go hiking in the mountains, or listento a band play on the street, or go sightseeing in the beautiful cities. Theyhave great culture, and a unique style of living.