Dialing code ++1-876
ISO 2 code JM
ISO 3 code JAM
Capital Kingston
Main Language English
Currency Dollar (JMD)
GDP $20.9 billion 118th
Population 2,847,232 140th


Continent North America
Location Caribbean island in the Caribbean Sea south of Cuba
Land 10,991 km2 167th
Terrain Mostly mountains with narrow discontinuous coastal plain
Climate Tropical; hot humid; temperate interior
Natural Hazards Mostly mountains with narrow discontinuous coastal plain
Note: Strategic location between Cayman Trench and Jamaica Channel the main sea lanes for the Panama Canal

Neighbouring Countries


The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar cocoa and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually obtained increasing independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime drug trafficking and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.
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Life Expectancy 73.53 years 93rd
Median Age 23.7 years 131st
Birth Rate 19.68 births/1,000 population 96th
Death Rate 6.43 births/1,000 population 136th
Sex Ratio 0.81 male(s)/female 84th
Literacy 87.9% 124th

2.8 million


Roadways 21552 km 107th
Railways None km
Airports 27 123rd
Waterways None km
Heliports None
Airports paved 2 73rd


Currency Dollar (JMD)
GDP $20.9 billion 118th
GDP per capita (PPP) $7400 111th