The Jamaica Portal

Flag of Jamaica Coat of arms of Jamaica
Location on the world map

Jamaica (/əˈmkə/ (About this soundlisten)) is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola). Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola (the island containing the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic); the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands lies some 215 kilometres (134 mi) to the north-west.

Originally inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people were either killed or died of diseases to which they had no immunity, and the Spanish then forcibly transplanted large numbers of African slaves to Jamaica as labourers. The island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered it, renaming it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with a plantation economy dependent on the African slaves and later their descendants. The British fully emancipated all slaves in 1838, and many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British began using Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations. The island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962.

With 2.9 million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas (after the United States and Canada), and the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean. Kingston is the country's capital and largest city. The majority of Jamaicans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, with significant European, East Asian (primarily Chinese), Indian, Lebanese, and mixed-race minorities. Due to a high rate of emigration for work since the 1960s, there is a large Jamaican diaspora, particularly in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The country has a global influence that belies its small size; it was the birthplace of the Rastafari religion, reggae music (and associated genres such as dub, ska and dancehall), and it is internationally prominent in sports, most notably cricket, sprinting and athletics.

Jamaica is an upper-middle income country with an economy heavily dependent on tourism; it has an average of 4.3 million tourists a year. Politically it is a Commonwealth realm, with Elizabeth II as its queen. Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, an office held by Patrick Allen since 2009. Andrew Holness has served as Prime Minister of Jamaica since March 2016. Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with legislative power vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, consisting of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives. (Full article...)

Selected article - show another

Working coast: The beaches are the hub of economic activity in Alligator Pond. The bauxite exporting Port Kaiser is visible on the horizon.

Alligator Pond is a fishing village on the southwestern coast of Jamaica in the parish of Manchester.

Unlike the tourist-oriented coasts in the northern part of the country, Alligator Pond's shoreline is as much about work as play; here fishermen launch their boats to catch some of the island's best-regarded fish while women conduct the wholesale business of the catch. Weather-worn cookshops and bars line the sand's edge, supplying food staples such as curried goat and Red Stripe beer. (Full article...)
List of selected articles

Selected biography - show another

Dennis Brown performing in 1980
Dennis Emmanuel Brown CD (1 February 1957 – 1 July 1999) was a Jamaican reggae singer. During his prolific career, which began in the late 1960s when he was aged eleven, he recorded more than 75 albums and was one of the major stars of lovers rock, a subgenre of reggae. Bob Marley cited Brown as his favourite singer, dubbing him "The Crown Prince of Reggae", and Brown would prove influential on future generations of reggae singers. (Full article...)

General images - show another

The following are images from various Jamaica-related articles on Wikipedia.

Symbol support vote.svg Good article - show another

This is a Good article, an article that meets a core set of high editorial standards.

Maymie de Mena (December 10, 1879 – October 23, 1953, also known as Maymie Aiken or Madame DeMena Aiken in her later career) was an American-born activist who became one of the highest-ranking officers in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She has been credited with keeping the organization alive after Marcus Garvey's conviction for mail fraud and deportation from the United States.

De Mena was born into a Creole family in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, and obtained her education in the United States before marrying a Nicaraguan and moving to Central America. After a decade in which she raised a daughter and taught school, she divorced, returned to the U.S., and joined the UNIA. Quickly rising in the ranks from a translator, because she was fluent in Spanish, de Mena became one of the leaders of the pan-African movement. She was responsible for increasing the membership of the organization in the Caribbean and Latin America. When Garvey was deported from the U.S. to Jamaica, de Mena became Garvey's official representative in New York and was the first woman to carry such a high distinction in the organization. (Full article...)

Selected picture - show another

Satellite image of Jamaica in November 2001. Cropped image, original taken from NASA's Visible Earth
Credit: NASA
Satellite image of Jamaica in November 2001.

Selected fare or cuisine - show another

Toto cake being baked

Toto (also referred to as tuoto and toe-toe bulla) is a small coconut cake in Jamaican cuisine. served as a snack or dessert. The cake is typically prepared with shredded coconut, brown sugar, flour, baking soda and powder and coconut milk.

Toto is a Jamaican delicacy that is served at most family gatherings. (Full article...)

Did you know

  • ...that Trenchtown, a neighbourhood in Kingston, Jamaica, gets its name from a large open-trenched sewer that ran through the neighbourhood?

Selected lists




Related portals

Related portals and portals of neighbouring countries:

Associated Wikimedia

The following Wikimedia Foundation sister projects provide more on this subject:






Learning resources

Travel guides





Purge server cache