Location: Caribbean, island in the Caribbean Sea, south
Geographic coordinates: 18 15 N, 77 30 W
Map references: Central America and the Caribbean
total: 10,990 sq km
land: 10,830 sq km
water: 160 sq km
Area - comparative: slightly smaller than Connecticut
Land boundaries: 0 km
Coastline: 1,022 km
Maritime claims: measured from claimed archipelagic baselines
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior
Terrain: mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m
Natural resources: bauxite, gypsum, limestone
arable land: 14%
permanent crops: 6%
permanent pastures: 24%
forests and woodland: 17%
other: 39% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 350 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: hurricanes (especially July to November)
Environment - current 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
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto
Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine
Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer
Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note: strategic location between Cayman Trench
and Jamaica Channel, the main sea lanes for Panama Canal
Jamaica is about the size of Connecticut in the United States. It
measures about 4,400 square miles (11,400 square kilometers).
Stretches 146 miles from east to west. Varies between 22 and 51
miles from north to south. And in many ways is more like a continent
than an island.
It has rugged mountain ranges, with Blue Mountain Peak, the highest
point, soaring 7,402 feet. It has miles of white beaches, bordered
by the blue Caribbean.
It has 120 rivers flowing from the mountains to the coast. And it
has great central plains, fertile agricultural lands, towering cliffs,
magnificent waterfalls, dense tropical forests...and eternal summer.
Climate The northeast trade winds and mountain breezes keep the
temperature pleasant year round. The average temperature is 82 degrees
F (27 degrees C), and the average annual rainfall is 78 inches (198
Jamaica is an independent island country in the Caribbean Sea.
It is part of the West Indies, a region of island and mainland territories
on the western edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
Jamaica is the third largest island in the archipelago (chain of
islands) called the Greater Antilles.
It is also the largest of the Caribbean countries belonging to the
Commonwealth of Nations.
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,
and a more conservative government installed. Political violence
marred elections during the 1990s.