Population: 2 930 050

GDP: 14 390 000 000.00 $



The island - discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually increased its independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962.



Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.



Population: 2,930,050 (2014)


Nationality: noun: Jamaican(s) adjective: Jamaican


Ethnic groups:  black 92.1%, mixed 6.1%, East Indian 0.8%, other 0.4%, unspecified 0.7%


Languages: English, English patois


Religions: Protestant 64.8% (includes Seventh Day Adventist 12.0%, Pentecostal 11.0%, Other Church of God 9.2%, New Testament Church of God 7.2%, Baptist 6.7%, Church of God in Jamaica 4.8%, Church of God of Prophecy 4.5%, Anglican 2.8%, United Church 2.1%, Methodist 1.6%, Revived 1.4%, Brethren 0.9%, and Moravian 0.7%), Roman Catholic 2.2%, Jehovah's Witness 1.9%, Rastafarian 1.1%, other 6.5%, none 21.3%, unspecified 2.3%.



GDP: $ 14 390 000 000.00 (2013)

Military Organization


Jamaica Defense Force: Ground Forces, Coast Guard, Air Wing.

Conflicts and Disputes


Jamaica  is  transshipment point for cocaine from South America to North America and Europe; illicit cultivation and consumption of cannabis; government has an active manual cannabis eradication program; corruption is a major concern; substantial money-laundering activity; Colombian narcotics traffickers favor Jamaica for illicit financial transactions.

Geographical Information and Map


Capital: Kingston


Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba. Jamaica has strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal.


Geographic coordinates:

18 15 N, 77 30 W



total: 10,991 sq km

land: 10,831 sq km

water: 160 sq km



Land boundaries: 0 km


Coastline: 1,022 km


Natural resources: bauxite, gypsum, limestone