North America: Jamaica

About Jamaica

Jamaica gained full independence within the British Commonwealth in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence and a dropoff in tourism. Elections in 1980 saw the democratic socialists voted out of office. Subsequent governments have been open market oriented. Political violence marred elections during the 1990s.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City: Kingston
Population: 2,665,636 (July 2001 est.)
Percent below poverty: 34.2% (1992 est.)
Language: English, Creole
Date of independence: 6 August 1962 (from UK)
Form of government: constitutional parliamentary democr
Title of Leader: Queen, Prime Minister
Natural Resources: bauxite, gypsum, limestone
Environmental Issues: heavy rates of deforestation; coastal waters polluted by industrial waste, sewage, and oil spills; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in Kingston results from vehicle emissions
Agricultural Products: sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, potatoes, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk
Imports: machinery and transport equipment, construction materials, fuel, food, chemicals, fertilizers
Exports: alumina, bauxite; sugar, bananas, rum
Trading Partners: IMPORTS: US 47.8%, Caricom countries 12.4%, Latin America 7.2%, EU (excluding UK) 4.7% (1999)
EXPORTS: US 35.7%, EU (excluding UK) 15.8%, UK 13%, Canada 10.5% (1999)


Jamaica Headlines


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