Jamiaca: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government of the country Jamaica.



Location--An island in the central Caribbean, 500 mi. south of Miami, 90 mi. south of Cuba.

How Created--Part of an ancient mountain chain. Original settlers were the Arawak Indians, later completely wiped out by the Spanish who came to the island searching for gold not long after it was discovered by Columbus. The Spanish were driven out by the British in 1655 after a series of battles in the mid-17th century.

Size--4,244 sq. mi. (10,991 sq. km.), about the size of Connecticut.

Population--Over 2 million: African, 76.8%; Afro-European, 14.6%; European, 0.8% Chinese, 0.6%; other, 7.2%. 19.8% Anglican, 19% Baptist, 11.9% Church of God, 7.2% Roman Catholic, 6.7% Methodist, 5.1% Presbyterian, 17% no religion, 13.3% other.

Who Rules--The island operates under a British-type parliamentary system with a 2-chamber legislature. There are 60 elected members in the House, and 21 members in the Senate, 13 of whom are appointed by the governor-general on the advice of the Prime Minister, while the remaining 8 are appointed on the advice of the leader of the opposition.

Who REALLY Rules--The major aluminum producers, who own and operate Jamaica's rich bauxite mines, including Alcan, Kaiser Aluminum, Alcoa, Reynolds, Revere, and Anaconda. Also the United Brands Company, which, although it no longer directly owns Jamaican banana plantations, buys in quantity from the island's growers, thus controlling prices and production.

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