General information: Jamaica gained full independence along with the countries of the British Commonwealth of Nations in 1962. Deterioration of the economic situation in the 1970s. led to periodic outbreaks of violence and the decline of tourism. As a result of the 1980 elections, the democratic socialists left the government. The government that replaced them took a more market position. Political violence accompanied elections in the 1990s.
Location: Caribbean region, an island in the Caribbean Sea south of Cuba.
Geographical coordinates: 18° 15′ N. latitude, 77° 30′ W e.
Reference map: Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 10,990 km2; land surface area: 10,830 km2; area of water resources: 160 km2
Comparative area: somewhat smaller than the state of Connecticut.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 1,022 km.
Maritime claims: measured from the declared boundaries of the archipelago; continental shelf: to a depth of 200 m or to the depth of field development; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: Tropical, hot, humid, temperate inland.
Terrain: mostly mountains, with narrow short coastal lowlands.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m; highest point: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m.
Natural resources: bauxite, gypsum, limestone.
Land use: arable land: 14%; cultivated land: 6%; pastures: 24%; forests and plantations: 17%; others: 39% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 350 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural Hazards: hurricanes (especially from July to November). Current environmental issues: high rates of deforestation; pollution of coastal waters by industrial and sewage effluents and oil products; damage to coral reefs; air pollution in the capital by exhaust gases.
Current environmental issues:
International agreements on environmental protection: party to: Biodiversity, Climate change, Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered species, Law of the sea, Marine pollution, Marine life conservation, Nuclear test ban, Ozone layer protection, Ship pollution, Water – wetlands; signed but not ratified: no.
Note to the section “Geography”: occupies a strategic position between the Cayman Trench and the Jamaica Strait, the main routes to the Panama Canal.
Population: 2,665,636 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 29.7% (men 405,189; women 386,555); 15 to 64 years old: 63.52% (male 845,226; female 847,944); over 65: 6.78% (male 80,667; female 100,055) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.51% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 18.12 newborns / 1,000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 5.48 deaths / 1,000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -7.52 people/1,000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.05 male/female; from 15 to 64 years old: 1 male/female; over 65: 0.81 male/female; for the general population: 1 male/female. (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 14.16 deaths/1,000 newborns (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 75.42 years; men: 73.45 years; women: 77.49 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 2.08 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.71% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 9,900 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 650 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Jamaican; adjective: Jamaican.
Ethnic groups: Black 90.9%, East Indian 1.3%, White 0.2%, Chinese 0.2%, Mixed ancestry 7.3%, Other 0.1%.
Believers: Protestant 61.3% (Church of God 21.2%, Seventh Day Adventist 9%, Baptist 8.8%, Pentecostal 7.6%, Anglican 5.5%, Methodist 2.7%, United churches 2.7%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.6%, “fellows” 1.1%, Moravian Brethren 1.1%), Roman Catholics 4%, others including spirit cultists 34.7%.
Language(s): English, Creole.
Literacy: Definition: Persons aged 15 and over who have ever attended school; for the general population: 85%; men: 80.8%; women: 89.1% (1995 est.).
Common long form: no;
Common short form: Jamaica
State structure: constitutional parliamentary democracy. See a2zgov.com to know more about Jamaica government and politics.
Administrative divisions: 14 districts: Ganower, Kingston, Clarendon, Manchester, Portland, St. Andrew, St. James, St. Catherine, St. Mary, St. Thomas, St. Elizabeth, St. Anne, Tre-loni, Westmoreland.
Independence: August 6, 1962 (until 1962 – a colony of Great Britain).
National holiday: Independence Day (first Monday in August) (1962).
Constitution: adopted August 6, 1962
Legal system: based on English common law, does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.
Suffrage: from the age of 18, universal.
chief of state: Queen Elizabeth II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Howard Felix COOKE (since 1 August 1991);
head of government: Prime Minister Percival James PATTERSON (since 30 March 1992), Deputy Prime Minister Seymour MULLINGS (since 1993);
government: the Cabinet is appointed by the Governor-General on the proposal of the Prime Minister; head of state is not elected, hereditary monarchy; the governor-general is appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister; the prime minister and deputy prime minister are appointed by the governor general.
Legislative branch: bicameral parliament consists of the Senate (21 members, appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition; the ruling party receives 13 seats, the opposition 8) and the House of Representatives (60 seats, members are elected by popular vote for 5 years); elections: last held 18 December 1997 (next to be held in March 2002); election results: distribution of votes between parties: no data; distribution of seats among parties: PNP 50, JLP 10.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, judges appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister; Court of Appeal.
Political parties and leaders: Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) (Edward SEAGA); National Democratic Movement (NDM) (Bruce GOLDING); People’s National Party (PNP) (Percival James PATTERSON).
Political pressure groups and their leaders: New Beginnings Movement; Rastafari (black repigio-racial cult, pan-Africanism).
Participation in international organizations: ACP, C, Caricom, CCC, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-15, G-19, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO (pending member), ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, UN, UN Security Council (temporary), UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Richard Leighton BERNAL; ‘ office: 1520 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036; phone:  (202) 452-0660; :’ fax:[\] (202) 452-0081; consulates general: Miami and New York.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Stanley Louis MCLELLAND; embassy: Jamaica Mutual Life Center, 2 Oxford Road, 3rd floor, Kingston; phone:  (809) 929-4850 to 929-4859; fax:  (809) 926-6743.
Description of the flag: A diagonal yellow cross divides the flag into four triangles: green (top and bottom) and black (right and left).