(WIPO code: JM) (last revised February 2021)

by GRANT, STEWART, PHILLIPS & CO., Kingston

General Information

Area

11,422 sq. km.

Population

2,808,570 (estimated July 2020).

Capital

Kingston, with about 591,000 inhabitants (estimated 2020).

Language

English.

Currency

1 U.S. dollar = 145 Jamaican dollars (September 2020).

General Remarks

On August 6, 1962, Jamaica became an independent nation within the British Commonwealth.

Jamaica’s multi-racial population comprises Blacks: approximately 90.9%; East Indian: 1.7%; Chinese: 0.7%; White: 0.2%; Mixed: 6%; Other: 0.1%; Not Reported: 0.6%. English is the language of the Island. In addition, a dialect based on English is spoken by the majority of the population.

Historically the Jamaican economy has been an agricultural one relying heavily on sugar and its products, bananas and coconuts. However during the last twenty years there has been rapid growth in the manufacturing, mining and tourist industries with the result that the construction industry has also grown considerably.

The terrain is mostly rugged, the landscape providing a contrast of sharp crested ridges and deep twisting valleys. Numerous rivers run through thick woods in the hill areas but these are swift, with rocky courses and navigation is impossible except in a few cases on the coastal areas.

Forty square miles of the country stand more than 5,000 feet above sea level. The land is rich in mineral deposits of bauxite, limestone, gypsum, marble, alabaster, and porphyry. Of these, bauxite, limestone and gypsum are commercially exploited and form the basis of the quarrying and mining industry.

Travel is mainly by the 4,000 miles of road that span the island however, there is limited facility for travel by rail and air also.

There are several harbors (the geography of the island providing most of these naturally) and two international airports. Set in the Caribbean Sea, access to most major western trading ports is easy and this has favorably affected the growth of external trade.