Roughly four to five thousand B.C.E. the Arawak and Taino people originating from South America landed on the island of Jamaica in the Caribbean Sea and established it as their home. The island is located to southeast of United States with Cuba as its closest neighbour and Haiti to the west. Christopher Columbus claimed the island for Spain in 1494, but later it came under the rule of United Kingdom. In 1962 it gained full independence from the U.K.
Endowed with a coastline extending 1,022 km and numerous beaches and bays make it a highly sought after destination by tourists from across the globe. Most of the island is mountainous and rugged, with the Blue Mountain region being the highest area of the country. The Central Range and Port Royal Mountains are the most attractive regions of the Blue Mountain region, providing high peaks and cool terrains. The same ranges are also responsible for growing some the best coffee in the world. The central portion of the country is taken up by Dry Harbor Mountains and the Mocho Mountains which are the origins of the country’s several rivers. The rivers crisscross the island making the plateau and coastal areas very fertile. The western part of Jamaica houses one of the best examples of karst topography in the Caribbean. This area also houses the country’s largest rainforest.
Tourism is a vital part of the country’s economy, contributing roughly half of the country’s GDP. Most of the tourism industry is situated on the island’s northern coast; Montego Bay, Port Royal, and Kingston are the chief tourist locations. Other major sectors include agriculture, insurance and financial services, mining and manufacturing. A little more than fifty percent of the local population lives in cities and urban areas. They country faces major hurricanes towards the end of the year.
Government: Constitutional parliamentary democracy
Area: 11,435 sq. km (4.411 sq mi)
Currency: Jamaica dollar
Ethnic Groups: Black , mixed, East Indian, white, Chinese