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Where Is Jamaica and What
Is It Known For?


Dunn's River Falls in Jamaica.

Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (145 mi) in length and as much as 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width, amounting to 11,100 square kilometres (4,300 sq mi). It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island harboring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Its indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taíno inhabitants named the island Xaymaca, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water", or the "Land of Springs".

Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, in 1655 it became an English, and later a British colony, known as "Jamaica". It achieved full independence in 1962. With 2.8 million people, it is the third most populous anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. It remains a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and Kingston is the country's largest city and the capital.

Jamaica has beaches and densely populated coastal plains traversed by hills and plateaus rising to the forested Blue Mountains in the east. The climate is tropical, but cooler and wetter on high ground. The economy is based on tourism, agriculture, mining and light manufacturing. Bauxite, aluminium oxide, sugar and bananas are the main exports. The USA is the main trading partner. Foreign aid is also significant.

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