The Jamaica Portal
Jamaica () is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola). Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola (the island containing the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic); the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands lies some 215 kilometres (134 mi) to the north-west.
Originally inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people were either killed or died of diseases to which they had no immunity, and the Spanish thus forcibly transplanted large numbers of African slaves to Jamaica as labourers. The island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered it, renaming it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with a plantation economy dependent on the African slaves and later their descendants. The British fully emancipated all slaves in 1838, and many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British began utilising Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations. The island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962.
With 2.9 million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas (after the United States and Canada), and the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean. Kingston is the country's capital and largest city. The majority of Jamaicans are of African ancestry, with significant European, Chinese, Indian, Lebanese, and mixed-race minorities. Due to a high rate of emigration for work since the 1960s, there is a large Jamaican diaspora, particularly in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The country has a global influence that belies its small size; it was the birthplace of the Rastafari religion, reggae music (and associated genres such as dub, ska and dancehall), and it is internationally prominent in sports, most notably cricket, sprinting and athletics.
Jamaica is an upper-middle income country with an economy heavily dependent on tourism, with an average of 4.3 million tourists a year. Politically it is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as its queen. Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, an office held by Patrick Allen since 2009. Andrew Holness has served as Prime Minister of Jamaica since March 2016. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with legislative power vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, consisting of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives.
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Percival Noel James Patterson, ON, PC, QC (born 10 April 1935), is a Jamaican former politician who served as the sixth Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1992 to 2005. He was the leader of the People's National Party from 1992 to 2005, and the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Westmoreland South Eastern from 1970 to 1980 (when he lost to Euphemia Williams of the Jamaica Labour Party) and again from 1989 to 1993. Following a constituency reorganization, he served as the MP for Westmoreland Eastern from 1993 to 2005. He retired from all of these positions in March 2005. He was married to Shirley Field-Ridley (d. 1982) with whom he had two children, Richard and Sharon.
Cabinet positions he held during his political career include Minister of Industry and Tourism; Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; Minister of Development, Planning and Production; Minister of Finance and Planning. Read more...
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The following are images from various Jamaica-related articles on Wikipedia.
Sugar cane cutters in Jamaica, 1880
European colonies in the 18th-century Caribbean
Michael Manley, Prime Minister of Jamaica from 1972 to 1980 and from 1989 to 1992
An illustration of pre-1692 Port Royal
View of Kingston in 1907 showing damage caused by the earthquake.
English map from the 1600s
Horse-drawn carriages in Kingston, 1891
Henry Morgan, governor of Jamaica
Sugar cane cutters in Jamaica, 1891
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A map showing Jamaica's cities, main towns, parishes and rivers
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A plate of Jamaican patties
A Jamaican patty is a pastry that contains various fillings and spices baked inside a flaky shell, often tinted golden yellow with an egg yolk mixture or turmeric. It is made like a turnover, but is more savoury and filled with meat. As its name suggests, it is commonly found in Jamaica, and is also eaten in other areas of the Caribbean, such as the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and Costa Rica. It is traditionally filled with seasoned ground beef, but fillings can include chicken, pork, lamb, vegetables, shrimp, lobster, fish, soy, ackee, mixed vegetables or cheese. In Jamaica, the patty is often eaten as a full meal, especially when paired with coco bread. It can also be made as bite-sized portions called cocktail patties. Among the Jamaican diaspora in the UK, the pastry is more like that of a suet crust, and often made with margarine or butter, which provides the flaky pastry, and curry powder containing turmeric, which provides the yellow color. Read more...
Did you know
- ... that Walter Feurtado compiled 58 volumes of notes while researching his guide to the Official and Other Personages of Jamaica, from 1655 to 1790?
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