Jamaica

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Jamaica


Flag of Jamaica.png
Coat of Arms of Jamaica.png
FlagCoat of Arms
CapitalKingston
GovernmentParliamentary Democracy
LanguageEnglish (official)
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II
Prime ministerPortia Simpson Miller
GovernorPatrick Allen
Area4.244 sq mi
Population 2.804.332
GDP $11.206 million
GDP per capita$4.172
CurrencyJamaica dollar

Jamaica is an island nation in the Caribbean Sea just 95 miles south of Cuba. It has a total area of 10,990 sq km (4,243 sq mi) and extends, at maximum, 235 km (146 mi) N–S and 82 km (51 mi) E–W. Comparatively, the area occupied by Jamaica is slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut. The total coastline is 1,022 km (634 mi). The country is divided into fourteen regions called parishes and the capital of Jamaica is Kingston. The government of Jamaica is a Constitutional parliamentary democracy, which is based on the model of the United Kingdom . The Chief of State is Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented by a Governor General. The head of government is the Prime Minister. The official language of Jamaica is English.

Contents

History

The Taino people settled on Jamaica over three thousand years ago and lived in relative peace until Christopher Columbus came along in 1494 and claimed the island for Spain. In 1655, British admiral William Penn conquered the island and Jamaica began producing sugar for export to the tea-loving inhabitants of the United Kingdom. Due to its location, Jamaica became a major slave trading hub. Slavery on the island was abolished in 1834. Jamaica gained independence in 1962.

Christianity in Jamaica

Research shows that more than 85% of Jamaica's population is Christian. The majority being Protestant, which is primarily due to the influence of British colonialism and the abolitionist movement. Today, the five largest denominations in Jamaica are: Baptist, Church of God, Seventh-day Adventist, Pentecostal and Anglican.

Rastafarians

The Rastafari movement was founded in Jamaica. This movement believes that Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is God incarnate, the returned messiah, come to take the lost Twelve Tribes of Israel back to live with him in Holy Mount Zion in a world of perfect peace, love and harmony. The movement's name comes from the Amharic title Ras ("head") and Haile Selassie's given name, Tafari. Bob Marley, a convert to the faith, spread the message of Rastafari to the world. There are now estimated to be more than a million Rastafarians throughout the world. Due to the influence of Rastafarianism, marijuana has been cultivated throughout the island. Indians first brought seeds of the plant from Asia and its use spread rapidly among plantation workers. Though it was outlawed, it is still used by some Rastafarians during meditation and prayer. it is commonly referred to as "wisdom weed".

Culture

Jamaica is known for its reggae and dub music, which has gained a wide audience due to internationally renowned artists such as Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley.

See Also

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