Jamaica – geography
Jamaica has a varied landscape. A lowland area surrounds the island’s central mountain range Blue Mountains, whose highest peak is 2256 m. The majority of the surface is a rugged limestone plateau at 300-1000 m altitude. Erosion has in several places formed karst landscapes with subsidence valleys, dolines. Fertile red soils are often deposited in the valley floor, which contains bauxite.
Jamaica has a tropical climate, yet subtropical and temperate in the mountains. In the spring, the passage gives large amounts of rain on the northeast-facing mountain slopes, over 5000 mm per year, while the lowlands in the south are partly in rain shelter (Kingston 810 mm). Thus, there is rainforest in the north and savannah in the south. From August, the island is often haunted by devastating hurricanes; in 1988 Hurricane Gilbert ravaged, and it took three years before agriculture was again able to produce for export to the same extent as before. Floods in 1993 has caused major problems for the sugar and banana harvest.
The population is ethnically fairly homogeneous. 75% are descendants of the imported Africans from the colonial era. 17% are of mixed African-European descent, and the rest are of European and Asian background. The settlement is concentrated in the coastal plains and in the mountain valleys, while the inner, barren parts of the island are almost uninhabited. In the 1960’s, Jamaica had a very large population growth of almost 3% per year. The supply of jobs could not keep up and there has been high unemployment since the 1970’s and 1980’s. Many have emigrated to Britain and the United States. Although population growth has fallen below 2%, the situation has not improved. This is partly due to the fact that the United States has introduced immigration restrictions, and partly because migration from country to city has increased. Especially in and around the capital Kingston housing shortages have created additional pressure on the already densely populated slums.
- Countryaah: Do you know how many people there are in Jamaica? Check this site to see population pyramid and resident density about this country.
A special element of Jamaican culture is the Rastafarian movement. The lack of a sense of nationality of the slave and colonial times led to the formation of this afronationalist and religious movement, which has particular support among the blacks and especially among the men in the slums. The Rastafarians are easily recognizable with their African-inspired clothing and long snake curls; hash and reggae are important ingredients in the culture that cultivate the African roots. Thus, the now deceased Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie has been deified as a symbol of African self-esteem. The Rastafarian culture can be found in several exiled Jamaican communities, including in London, while reggae music has conquered a large part of the world.
Economy and business
Jamaica is the world’s third largest producer of bauxite (after Australia and Guinea). The extraction began in 1952 and is handled by American and a Canadian company. As of 1978, Jamaica owns 51% of the shares in the companies. Previously, the raw bauxite was exported, but the industry is now aiming to produce the intermediate alumina in the country. Several refineries have been expanded and modernized to increase yields, but low world market prices have limited economic growth. The lack of cheap energy sources means that it is not profitable to refine alumina into pure aluminum in Jamaica. Bauxite and alumina accounted for half of the country’s exports in 1993.
Agriculture plays a significant role and employs 20% of the population. Only 25% of the area is cultivated. As in the other countries of the region, the land distribution is skewed; the large sugar and banana plantations make up the bulk of the cultivated area. Sugarcane is also grown by small farmers and is by far the most important crop. The majority is exported, either as raw sugar or as rum. The other important export crop, bananas, is grown especially on the humid northeast coast. Production is fluctuating, due to plant diseases and recurrent floods. For the domestic market, maize, potatoes, citrus, tobacco and coconuts are also grown. In total, production can far from cover the country’s food needs, and 20% of imports are food.
The industry is under construction and supported by the state, but is characterized by foreign capital. Most important are the aluminum, sugar and textile industries.
During the 1990’s, tourism became the main source of foreign exchange earnings with extensive hotel construction on the north coast. Here are Montego Bay a famous tourist center with wide sandy beaches and all kinds of water sports. Transfers from Jamaicans living in The United States also makes a significant contribution to the balance of payments and helps alleviate poverty for many families.
From the late 1990’s, Jamaica has been in an economic crisis with political tensions and a growing polarization between rich and poor. Attempts to attract foreign investment have begun to privatize the public sector, including the electricity supply, which in 2001 was taken over by the American company Mirant Corporation.
Jamaica – language
The official language is standard English, which is also used as a written language. Most speak a Creole language of partial English origin, which in some versions is so different from standard English that it can be considered an independent language. For culture and traditions of Jamaica, please check calculatorinc.
Jamaica – religion
The majority of the population is Christian; the largest groups of them are Anglicans, Baptists and Pentecostals. African American religion, which is also practiced by members of Christian churches, has a significant influence (see African Americans). Jamaica is home to the Caribbean’s oldest Jewish congregation. The Rastafari movement has its origins here.