Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Flag_of_Jamaica

Jamaica

After 3 months spent volunteering here in Spring 2008, Jamaica will always be one of my favorite places.

Overlooking Montego Bay, Spring 2008

Where is Jamaica?

Jamaica's geographic coordinates are 18 15 N, 77 30 W.

Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean Sea south of Cuba.

What is it like?

Dunn's River Falls, Spring 2008

Physically, the climate in Jamaica is tropical, which means it is hot and humid, with a mild interior. Much of the island is mountainous, but a small section around the perimeter is classified as coastal plains.

As for the people, of the 2.9 million living there, 92.1% are black. 64.8% are of protestant religion. English and patois are the primary languages spoken. Of note is that 28.4% of the population is between 0 and 14 years old, whereas in the U.S. only 19.4% are in this age range.

A Children's Home in Kingston, Spring 2008

How do people and the environment interact?

Jamaicans have altered the land so that they can grow sugarcane, coffee, bananas, citrus fruit and yams. Mining for bauxite, an aluminum ore, is another way that people have altered the land.

Image from http://wwwchem.uwimona.edu.jm/lectures/ bauxite.html

One of the main things that Jamaicans must adapt to is their tropical climate, as demonstrated by this article published by the Jamaica Information Service.

Downtown Montego Bay, Spring 2008

What patterns of movement affect Jamaica?

In recent decades, Jamaica has seen a surge of emigrants from Jamaica to the United States. During the 1970's and early 1980's, about 15% of the Jamaican population moved from the country. This resulted in a "brain drain" wherein the country did not have enough skilled workers (doctors, lawyers, managers or technicians) to function as usual.

According to the U.S. Embassy of Jamaica, "Jamaica's main exports are alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals and mineral fuels. Jamaica's main imports are food and other consumer goods, industrial suppliers, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials."

As others countries around the world have seen, the transfer of ideas to and from Jamaica occurs even more quickly than in past decades through phone calls and email, texting and various websites.

In what region is this place found? Into what regions is this place divided?

Jamaica is the largest island in the Commonwealth Caribbean, which includes these independent states:

Jamaica is divided into 13 parishes as shown below.

Image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_Jamaica#mediaviewer/File:Ja
Friends from 3 different Jamaican parishes, Spring 2008

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