Jamaica

3.397126731679 (1949)
Posted by pompos 03/10/2009 @ 20:12

Tags : jamaica, caribbean, americas, world

News headlines
Jamaica's top bauxite and alumina producer closes - Reuters
KINGSTON, May 15 (Reuters) - Jamaica's largest bauxite and alumina producing company, Alumina Partners of Jamaica, closed its doors on Friday and completed a temporary shutdown that saw more than 900 workers lose their jobs....
Bolt helps United over Premier League finish line - The Associated Press
While Bolt won't get to race against his favorite star, FIFA player of the year Cristiano Ronaldo, the Jamaican will be competing for the first time in Europe this year on Sunday in central Manchester. Bolt will return to the track after his recent car...
New Air Jamaica Policy: Pay Extra for Second Bag, Then Wait - About - News & Issues
That said, the new Air Jamaica policy on checking a second piece of luggage on flights between New York and Grenada and Barbados is especially absurd. How's this for a deal? You pay the airline $25 for the privilege of checking a second bag,...
Local gov't requires mature leadership, Jamaica PM says - The Freeport News
By GENEA NOEL Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding addressed delegates of the Commonwealth Local Government Confer-ence (CLGL) yesterday on the importance of improving local government for a more equitable and sustainable future....
UK police in Jamaica drug cash raids - Reuters
LONDON (Reuters) - Police arrested eight people on Thursday suspected of sending drugs money to Jamaica in an international money laundering network, Scotland Yard said. More than 100 officers arrested four men and three women in raids on five...
Foreign travel agents check out Jamaica - Jamaica Gleaner
Jamaican flags and other symbols depicting the adversities overcome, hope, agriculture, the country's minerals, wealth and sunshine, formed the exciting backdrop on the white sandy beach at the fabulous Iberostar Resorts in Montego Bay on Wednesday...
Jamaica Producers bounces back - Jamaica Observer
By Al Edwards After successive quarters of posting horrendous losses and undergoing the unpalatable consequences of a number of hurricanes, Jamaica Producers - the country's largest grower of bananas - has turned a corner posting a profit of J$45.4...
Carena's Jamaican Grille - Richmond.com
By Varmit Pickeral | Richmond.com Years ago, you stole my stomach at Jamaica House on W. Broad St. I hold you responsible for my love of oxtail and my craving for ackee and salt fish on sweltering days. Who eats heaping plates of rich food,...
Jamaica welcomes the Shearer - New $5000 note named after the late PM - Jamaica Gleaner
Jamaica's central bank will issue a $5000 bill on Monday, a move more likely driven by a wish to celebrate the life of the late Prime Minister, Hugh Shearer - whose image will be on the currency - rather than an immediate demand for a bigger note to...
Styleweek Jamaica 2K9 fuses glamour with heritage tourism - Jamaica Observer
Styleweek Jamaica, Saint International's annual fashion extravaganza will be a hub of innovation, not just from designers but also from the staging concepts, a release from the organisers stated. This year, they will take their first showing,...

Jamaica

Coat of arms of Jamaica

Jamaica (pronounced /dʒəˈmeɪkə/) is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (145 mi) in length and as much as 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width situated in the Caribbean Sea. It is about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 190 kilometres (120 mi) west of the island of Hispaniola, on which Haiti and the Dominican Republic are situated. Its indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taíno inhabitants named the island Xaymaca, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water", or the "Land of Springs". Formerly a Spanish possession known as Santiago, it later became the British Crown colony of Jamaica. It is the third most populous anglophone country in North America, after the United States and Canada. It remains a Commonwealth realm.

The Arawak and Taino indigenous people originating from South America settled on the island between 4000 and 1000 BC. When Christopher Columbus arrived in 1494 there were over 200 villages ruled by chiefs or caciques, with the south coast of Jamaica being the most populated, especially around what is now known as Old Harbour. The Taino population was largely increasing when the Spanish arrived. The Tainos were still inhabiting Jamaica when the British took control of the island. It has been proposed that the Taino bloodline has been absorbed into the population..The Jamaican National Heritage Trust is attempting to locate and document any evidence of the Taino/Arawaks.

Christopher Columbus claimed Jamaica for Spain after landing there in 1494. Columbus' probable landing point was Dry Harbour, now called Discovery Bay. St. Ann's Bay was the "Saint Gloria" of Columbus who first sighted Jamaica at this point. One mile west of St. Ann's Bay is the site of the first Spanish settlement on the island, Sevilla, which was abandoned in 1554 because of numerous pirate raids.

The capital was moved to Spanish Town, now located in the parish of St. Catherine, as early as 1534. It was then called "Villa de la Vega". Spanish Town has the oldest Cathedral in the British colonies. The Spanish were forcibly evicted by the English at Ocho Rios in St. Ann. However, it was not until 1655 that, at Tower Isle, the English took over the last Spanish fort in Jamaica. The Spaniard Don Arnoldo de Yassi kept Tower Hill (the site of Tower Isle) from the English for five years, before escaping to Cuba. The site of his departure was fittingly called "Runaway Bay", which is also in St. Ann. The name of Montego Bay, the capital of the parish of St. James, was derived from the Spanish name manteca bahía (or Bay of Lard) for the large quantity of boar used for the lard-making industry.

The English Admiral William Penn (father of William Penn of Pennsylvania) and General Robert Venables seized the island in 1655. As early as the 1670s, blacks formed a majority of the population. During its first 200 years of British rule, Jamaica became one of the world's leading sugar-exporting, slave-dependent nations, producing more than 77,000 tons of sugar annually between 1820 and 1824. After the abolition of the slave trade (but not slavery itself) in 1807, the British imported Indian and Chinese workers as indentured servants to supplement the labour pool. Descendants of indentured servants of Asian and Chinese origin continue to reside in Jamaica today.

By the beginning of the 19th century, Jamaica's heavy reliance on slavery resulted in blacks (Africans) outnumbering whites (Europeans) by a ratio of almost 20 to 1. Even though England had outlawed the importation of slaves, some were still smuggled into the colonies. The British government drew-up laws regimenting the abolition of slavery, but they also included instructions for the improvement of the slaves' way of life. These instructions included a ban of the use of whips in the field, a ban on the flogging of women, notification that slaves were to be allowed religious instruction, a requirement that slaves be given an extra free day during the week when they could sell their produce as well as a ban of Sunday markets.

In Jamaica, however, these measures were resisted by the House of Assembly. The Assembly claimed that the slaves were content and objected to Parliament's interference in island affairs, although many slave owners feared possible revolts. Following a series of rebellions and changing attitudes in Great Britain, the nation formally abolished slavery in 1834, with full emancipation from chattel slavery declared in 1838.

In the 1800s, the British established a number of botanical gardens. These included the Castleton Garden, set up in 1862 to replace the Bath Garden (created in 1779) which was subject to flooding. Bath Garden was the site for planting breadfruit brought to Jamaica from the Pacific by Captain William Bligh. Other gardens were the Cinchona Plantation founded in 1868 and the Hope Garden founded in 1874. In 1872, Kingston became the island's capital.

In 1945, Sir Horace Hector Hearne became Chief Justice and Keeper of the Records in Jamaica. He headed the Supreme Court, Kingston between 1945 and 1950/1951. He then moved to Kenya where he was appointed Chief Justice.

Jamaica slowly gained increasing independence from the United Kingdom and in 1958, it became a province in the Federation of the West Indies, a federation among the British West Indies. Jamaica attained full independence by leaving the federation in 1962.

Strong economic growth, averaging about six percent per annum, marked the first ten years of independence under conservative governments which were led successively by Prime Ministers Alexander Bustamante, Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer. The growth was fueled by strong investments in bauxite/alumina, tourism, manufacturing industry and, to a lesser extent, the agricultural sector. However, the optimism of the first decade was accompanied by a growing sense of inequality, and a sense that the benefits of growth were not being experienced by the urban poor. This, combined with the effects of a slowdown in the global economy in 1970, prompted the electorate to change the government, electing the PNP (People's National Party) in 1972. However, despite efforts to create more socially equitable policies in education and health, Jamaica continued to lag economically, with its gross national product having fallen in 1980 to some twenty-five percent below the 1972 level. Rising foreign and local debt, accompanied by large fiscal deficits, resulted in the invitation of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) financing from the United States and others, and the imposition of IMF austerity measures (with a greater than 25% interest rate per year).

Economic deterioration continued into the mid-1980s, exacerbated by a number of factors; The first and third largest alumina producers, Alpart and Alcoa, closed and there was a significant reduction in production by the second largest producer, Alcan. In addition, tourism decreased and Reynolds Jamaica Mines, Ltd. left the Jamaican industry.

Jamaica is a parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy with the monarch being represented by a Governor-General. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who officially uses the title "Queen of Jamaica" when she visits the country or performs duties overseas on Jamaica's behalf. See Jamaican Royal Family. The Governor-General is nominated by the Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet and appointed by the monarch. All the members of the Cabinet are appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. The monarch and the Governor-General serve largely ceremonial roles, apart from their potent reserve power to dismiss the Prime Minister or Parliament.

Jamaica's current Constitution was drafted in 1962 by a bipartisan joint committee of the Jamaican legislature. It came into force with the Jamaica Independence Act, 1962 of the United Kingdom Parliament, which gave Jamaica political exile. This was followed by a reformation of the island's national anthem.

The Parliament of Jamaica is bicameral, consisting of the House of Representatives (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House). Members of the House (known as Members of Parliament or MPs) are directly elected, and the member of the House of Representatives who, in the Governor-General's best judgment, is best able to command the confidence of a majority of the members of that House, is appointed by the Governor-General to be the Prime Minister. Senators are appointed jointly by the Prime Minister and the parliamentary Leader of the Opposition.

In February 2006, Portia Simpson-Miller was elected by delegates of the ruling People's National Party (PNP) to replace P. J. Patterson as President of the Party. At the end of March 2006 when Patterson demitted office, Simpson-Miller became the first female Prime Minister of Jamaica. Former Prime Minister Patterson had held office since the 1992 resignation of Michael Manley. Patterson was re-elected three times, the last being in 2002.

On 3 September 2007, Bruce Golding of the Jamaica Labour Party was voted in as Prime Minister-Designate after achieving a 33 - 27 seat victory over Portia Simpson-Miller and the PNP in the 2007 Jamaican general election. Portia Simpson-Miller conceded defeat on 5 September 2007. On 11 September 2007, after being sworn in by Governor-General Kenneth Hall, The Hon. Bruce Golding assumed office as Prime Minister of Jamaica.

Jamaica has traditionally had a two-party system, with power often alternating between the People's National Party and Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). However, over the past decade a new political party called the National Democratic Movement (NDM) emerged in an attempt to challenge the two-party system, though it has become largely irrelevant in this system, as it garnered only 540 votes of the over 800,000 votes cast in the 3 September elections. Jamaica is a full and participating member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).

Jamaica is divided into 14 parishes, which are grouped into three historic counties that have no administrative relevance.

Each parish has its own capital.

Jamaica is the third largest island in the west indies, and the fourth most populous island in the carribean. The island of Jamaica is home to the Blue Mountains inland, and is surrounded by a narrow coastal plain. Most major towns and cities are located on the coast. Chief towns and cities include the capital Kingston, Portmore, Spanish Town, Mandeville, Ocho Ríos, Port Antonio, Negril, and Montego Bay. There are also several tourist attractions scattered across the country, including the popular Dunn's River Falls in St. Ann, YS Falls in St. Elizabeth, the Blue Lagoon in Portland, and the legendary Port Royal called The Wickedest City on Earth and site of a famous earthquake that helped form the island's Palisadoes. The Kingston Harbour is also one of the largest natural harbours in the world.

The climate in Jamaica is tropical, with hot and humid weather, although higher inland regions have a more temperate climate. Some regions on the south coast, such as the Liguanea Plain and the Pedro Plains are relatively dry rain-shadow areas. Jamaica lies in the hurricane belt of the Atlantic Ocean; as a result, the island sometimes experiences significant storm damage. Hurricanes Charlie and Gilbert hit Jamaica directly in 1951 and 1988, respectively, causing major damage, destruction, and many deaths. In the 2000s, hurricanes Ivan, Dean, and Gustav also brought severe weather to the island.

According to the 2001 census, Jamaica's population mainly consists of people of African descent, comprising 91.2% of the demographics. Multiracial Jamaicans make up 6.2% of the population, and "other or unknown" Jamaicans (including Indian, Chinese, British, Irish, and German Jamaicans) make up 2.6% of the population. Immigration has been greatly rising from China, Haiti, Cuba, Colombia, and other Latin American countries; 20,000 Latin Americans currently reside in Jamaica. 7,000 Americans also reside in Jamaica.

The official language of Jamaica is English. Informally, Jamaican Patois (pronounced /pætwɑː/) is more commonly spoken by a majority of the population. Although British English or "The Queen's English" is the most obvious influence on patois, it includes words and syntax from various African languages (namely Akan, Igbo, Wolof and Twi); other European languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and French); Pre-Columbian Caribbean languages (Arawakan); and Asian languages (Hindi, Hakka and Cantonese), evidence of historical admixture. In general, patois differs from English in pronunciation, grammar, nominal orthography and syntax, having many intonations to indicate meaning and mood. The language's characteristics include pronouncing /θ/ as and /ð/ as , and omitting some initial consonant sounds, principally /h/. For example, the word "there" is pronounced . A number of linguists classify Jamaican Patois as a separate language, while others consider it to be a dialect of English.

Over the past several decades, close to a million Jamaicans have emigrated, especially to the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada. In the case of the United States, about 20,000 Jamaicans per year are granted permanent residence.. The great number of Jamaicans living abroad has become known as the "Jamaican diaspora". There has also been emigration of Jamaicans to Cuba. The scale of emigration has been widespread and similar to other Caribbean entities such as Puerto Rico, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago. Because the Jamaican population now has a birth rate about replacement level, the continuing high rate of emigration will cause the population to start falling in the next few decades.

Concentrations of expatriate Jamaicans are large in a number of cities in the United States, including New York City, Buffalo, the Miami metro area, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, Washington, D.C, Philadelphia, Hartford and Los Angeles. In Canada, the Jamaican population is centred in Toronto, and there are smaller communities in cities such as Hamilton, Montreal, Vancouver and Ottawa. In the United Kingdom, Jamaican communities exist in most large cities where they make up the larger part of the British-Caribbean community.

Christians make up the majority of the population, approximately 65 percent. In spite of resistance by the slave owners, the Christian faith spread rapidly as British Christian abolitionists and educated former slaves joined local Jamaican Christian leaders in the struggle against slavery. Today, the five largest denominations in Jamaica are: Church of God, Seventh-day Adventist, Baptist, Pentecostal and Anglican. Other popular religions in Jamaica include Islam, Bahá'í Faith with perhaps 8000 Bahá'ís and 21 Local Spiritual Assemblies, Buddhism, and Hinduism. There is also a small population of Jews, about 200, who describe themselves as Liberal-Conservative. The first Jews in Jamaica trace their roots back to early 15th century Spain and Portugal. Islam in Jamaica estimate a total Muslim population of 5,000.

The Rastafari movement was founded in Jamaica. This Back to Africa movement believes that Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was God incarnate, the returned black messiah, come to take the lost Twelve Tribes of Israel back to live with him in Holy Mount Zion in a world of perfect peace, love and harmony. Bob Marley, a convert to the faith, spread the message of Rastafari to the world. There are now estimated to be more than a million Rastafarians throughout the world. Though a small nation, Jamaica is rich in culture, and has a strong global presence. The musical genres reggae, ska, mento, rocksteady, dub, and, more recently, dancehall and ragga all originated in the island's vibrant, popular urban recording industry. Jamaica also played an important role in the development of punk rock, through reggae and ska. Reggae has also influenced American rap music, as they both share their roots as rhythmic, African styles of music. Some rappers, such as The Notorious B.I.G. and Heavy D, are of Jamaican descent. Internationally known reggae musician Bob Marley was born in Jamaica and is very respected there. Many other internationally known artists were born in Jamaica including Lee "Scratch" Perry, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Big Youth, Jimmy Cliff, Dennis Brown, Desmond Dekker, Beres Hammond, Beenie Man, Shaggy, Tami Chynn, Tessanne Chin, Grace Jones, Shabba Ranks, Supercat, Buju Banton, Sean Paul, I Wayne, Bounty Killer and many others. Famous band artist groups that came from Jamaica include Black Uhuru, Third World Band, Inner Circle, Chalice Reggae Band, Culture, Fab Five, Morgan Heritage and Hype Revolution. The genre jungle emerged from London's Jamaican diaspora. The birth of hip-hop in New York also owed much to the city's Jamaican community.

Ian Fleming, who lived in Jamaica, repeatedly used the island as a setting in the James Bond novels, including Live and Let Die, Doctor No, For Your Eyes Only, The Man with the Golden Gun and Octopussy. In addition, James Bond uses a Jamaica-based cover in Casino Royale. So far, the only Bond film to have been set in Jamaica is Doctor No. However, filming for the fictional island of San Monique in Live and Let Die took place in Jamaica.

The American film Cocktail, starring Tom Cruise, is one of the most popular films to depict Jamaica. A look at delinquent youth in Jamaica is presented in the 1970s musical crime film The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff as a frustrated (and psychopathic) reggae musician who descends into a murderous crime spree. Another popular Jamaican-based film is the 1993 comedy Cool Runnings which is loosely based on the true story of Jamaica's first bobsled team trying to make it in the Winter Olympics.

Errol Flynn lived with his third wife Patrice Wymore in Port Antonio in the 1950s. He was responsible for developing tourism to this area, popularising raft trips down rivers on bamboo rafts.

The island is famous for it's Jamaican jerk spice which forms a popular part of Jamaican cuisine. Also the island is home to the world renowned Red Stripe Beer and Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee.

Jamaicans, in general, have a large interest in sports. Cricket, football (soccer), athletics and horse-racing are several popular sports. The Jamaican national cricket team competes regionally, and also provides players for the West Indies. The national football team qualified for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Jamaican athletics have been well represented at the Olympics, World Championships and other major athletics events over the years with leading athletes obtaining medals. Usain Bolt, world record holder in the 100m for men at 9.69s, and 200m for men at 19.30s is among a rich heritage of Jamaican sprinters to compete on the world stage. They have also boasted athletes such as Delloreen Ennis-London, Veronica Campbell, Brigitte Foster-Hylton and former 100m world record holder Asafa Powell. The Jamaica national bobsled team was once a serious contender in the Winter Olympics, beating many well-established teams.

There is a notable amount of golf in Jamaica, but it appears to be focused on the international tourism market.

In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Usain Bolt of Jamaica won three gold medals and broke the World Records for the 100m and 200m sprint races respectively. 400m hurdler Melaine Walker, won a gold medal and broke the Olympic record time in her event. Veronica Campbell-Brown successfully defended her 200m title when she claimed gold. Shelly-Ann Fraser won gold in the women's 100m sprint, with her team mates Kerron Stewart and Sherone Simpson coming in joint second for two silver medals. The Jamaican men's 4 x 100m relay team consisting of Asafa Powell, Usain Bolt, Michael Frater and Nesta Carter passed the finishing line in a World Record time of 37.10 seconds. This was 0.3 seconds quicker than the previous record set by the American relay team in 1992 and 1993, the margin is equivalent to three yards. Overall, the Jamaican 2008 Olympics team finished with a rank of 13 out of 204 competing nations. The 11 medals consisted of 6 golds, 3 silvers and 2 bronze.

Chess, Pocket Pool, and Basketball are widely played in Jamaica which are supported by the Jamaica Chess Federation (JCF), the Jamaica Pocket Pool Federation (JPPF), and the Jamaica Basketball Federation (JBF). Netball is also very popular on the island, with the National Netball Team called The Sunshine Girls consistently ranking in the top five in the world. During the 1980's the island produced world class athletes in Boxing as well, including the likes of Trevor Berbick and Mike McCallum.

The emancipation of the slaves heralded in the establishment of the Jamaican education system for the masses. Prior to emancipation there were few schools for educating locals. Many sent their children off to England to access quality education.

Education is free from the early childhood to secondary levels. There are also opportunities for those who cannot afford further education in the vocational arena through the Human Employment and Resource Training-National Training Agency (HEART Trust-NTA) programme and through an extensive scholarship network for the various universities.

Jamaica is a mixed economy with state enterprises as well as private sector businesses. Major sectors of the Jamaican economy include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism and financial and insurance services. Tourism and mining are the leading foreign exchange earners.

Supported by multilateral financial institutions, Jamaica has, since the early 1980s, sought to implement structural reforms aimed at fostering private sector activity and increasing the role of market forces in resource allocation. Since 1991, the Government has followed a programme of economic liberalization and stabilization by removing exchange controls, floating the exchange rate, cutting tariffs, stabilising the Jamaican currency, reducing inflation and removing restrictions on foreign investment. Emphasis has been placed on maintaining strict fiscal discipline, greater openness to trade and financial flows, market liberalisation and reduction in the size of government. During this period, a large share of the economy was returned to private sector ownership through divestment and privatisation programmes.

The macroeconomic stabilisation programme introduced in 1991, which focused on tight fiscal and monetary policies, has contributed to a controlled reduction in the rate of inflation. The annual inflation rate has decreased from a high of 80.2% in 1991 to 7.9% in 1998. inflation for FY1998/99 was 6.2% compared to 7.2% in the corresponding period in CUU1997/98. The Government of Jamaica remains committed to lowering inflation, with a long-term objective of bringing it in line with that of its major trading partners.

After a period of steady growth from 1985 to 1995, real GDP decreased by 1.8% and 2.4% in 1996 and 1997, respectively. The decrease in GDP in 1996 and 1997 was largely due to significant problems in the financial sector and, in 1997, a severe island-wide drought (the worst in 70 years) that drastically reduced agricultural production. In 1997, nominal GDP was approximately J$220,556.2 million (US$6,198.9 million based on the average annual exchange rate of the period).

The economy in 1997 was marked by low levels of import growth, high levels of private capital inflows and relative stability in the foreign exchange market.

Recent economic performance shows the Jamaican economy is recovering. Agricultural production, an important engine of growth increased 15.3% in third quarter of 1998 compared to the corresponding period in 1997, signaling the first positive growth rate in the sector since January 1997. Bauxite and alumina production increased 5.5% from January to December, 1998 compared to the corresponding period in 1997. January's bauxite production recorded a 7.1% increase relative to January 1998 and continued expansion of alumina production through 2009 is planned by Alcoa. Tourism, which is the largest foreign exchange earner, showed improvement as well. In the third quarter of 1998, growth in tourist arrivals accelerated with an overall increase of 8.5% in tourism earnings in 1998 when compared to the corresponding period in 1997. Jamaica's agricultural exports are sugar, bananas, coffee, rum,and yams.

Jamaica has a wide variety of industrial and commercial activities. The aviation industry is able to perform most routine aircraft maintenance, except for heavy structural repairs. There is a considerable amount of technical support for transport and agricultural aviation. Jamaica has a considerable amount of industrial engineering, light manufacturing, including metal fabrication, metal roofing, and furniture manufacturing. Food and beverage processing, glassware manufacturing, computer software and data processing, printing and publishing, insurance underwriting, music and recording, and advanced education activities can be found in the larger urban areas. The Jamaican construction industry is entirely self-sufficient, with professional technical standards and guidance.

Since the first quarter of 2006, the economy of Jamaica has undergone a period of staunch growth. With inflation for the 2006 calendar year down to 6.0% and unemployment down to 8.9%, the nominal GDP grew by an unprecedented 2.9%. An investment programme in island transportation and utility infrastructure and gains in the tourism, mining, and service sectors all contributed this figure. All projections for 2007 show an even higher potential for economic growth with all estimates over 3.0% and hampered only by urban crime and public policies.

In 2006, Jamaica became part of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as one of the pioneering members.

Exports: (1999) 1,238 billion $ (Natural resources: 55.7%, Food 19.1%, Bananas 4%, Chemicals 3.6%, Machinery 2.2%). The main export countries: United States 33.4%, Canada 14.1%, United Kingdom 13.4%, Netherlands 10.2%, Norway 5.8%, France 5%, Germany 4%, and Japan 2.3%.

Imports: (1999) 2,89 billion $ (Energy 50.5%, Machinery and Equipment 7.6%, Consumer goods 33.2%). The main import countries: United States 48.1%, Trinidad and Tobago 7.8%, Japan 6.9%, France 5%, United Kingdom 3.7%, and Canada 3%.

Exports: (January 2007) Total Goods Exports 166,495 (US$000) (General Merchandise Exports 93.4%, Freezone Exports 2.6%, Goods Procured in Ports 4.0%).

Imports: (January 2007) : Total Goods Import 511,015 (US$000); General Merchandise Imports 97.8%, Freezone Imports 0.3%, Goods Procured in Ports 1.8%).

The transport infrastructure in Jamaica consists of roadways, railways ship and air transport, with roadways forming the backbone of the island's internal transport system.

The Jamaican road network consists of almost 13 049 miles (21,000 kilometres) of roads, of which over 9 321 miles (15,000 kilometres) is paved. The Jamaican Government has, since the late 1990s and in cooperation with private investors, embarked on a campaign of infrastructural improvement projects, one of which includes the creation of a system of freeways, the first such access-controlled roadways of their kind on the island, connecting the main population centers of the island. This project has so far seen the completion of 21 miles (33 kilometres) of freeway.

Railways in Jamaica, as in many other countries, no longer enjoy the prominent position they once did, having been largely replaced by roadways as the primary means of transport. Of the 169 miles (272 kilometres) of railway found in Jamaica, only 35 miles (57 kilometres) remain in operation, currently used to transport bauxite.

There are two international airports in Jamaica with modern terminals, long runways, and the navigational equipment required to accommodate the large jet aircraft used in modern air travel: Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and Sangster International Airport in the resort town of Montego Bay. Both airports are home to the country's national airline, Air Jamaica. In addition there are local commuter airports at Tinson Pen (Kingston), Port Antonio, Ocho Ríos, and Negril which cater to internal flights only. Many other small, rural centers are served by private fields on sugar estates or bauxite mines.

Owing to its location in the Caribbean Sea in the shipping lane to the Panama Canal and relative proximity to large markets in North America and emerging markets in Latin America, Jamaica receives high container traffic. The container terminal at the Port of Kingston has undergone large expansion in capacity in recent years to handle growth both already realised as well as that which is projected in coming years. Montego Freeport in Montego Bay also handles a variety of cargo like (though more limited than) the Port of Kingston, mainly agricultural products.

There are several other ports positioned around the island, including Port Esquivel in St. Catherine (WINDALCO), Rocky Point in Clarendon, Port Kaiser in St. Elizabeth, Port Rhoades in Discovery Bay, Reynolds Pier in Ocho Rios, and Boundbrook Port in Port Antonio.

To aid the navigation of shipping, Jamaica operates nine lighthouses. For more information see Lighthouses in Jamaica.

Jamaica depends on petroleum imports to satisfy its national energy needs. Many test sites have been explored for oil, but no commercially viable quantities have been found. The most convenient sources of imported oil and motor fuels (diesel, gasoline, and jet fuel) are from Mexico and Venezuela.

Jamaica's electrical power is produced by diesel (bunker oil) generators located in Old Harbour. Other smaller power stations (most owned by the Jamaica Public Service Company - the island's electricity provider) support the island's electrical grid including the Hunts Bay Power Station, the Bogue Power Station, the Rockfort Power Station and small hydroelectric plants on the White River, Rio Bueno, Morant River, Black River (Maggotty) and Roaring River. A wind farm, owned by the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, was established at Wigton, Manchester.

Jamaica imports approximately 80,000 barrels of oil energy products per day, including asphalt and lubrication products. Just 20% of imported fuels are used for road transportation, the rest being used by the bauxite industry, electricity generation, and aviation.

Jamaica produces enormous quantities of hydrous ethanol (5% water content), most of which appears to be consumed as beverages, and none of it used as motor fuel. Facilities exist to refine hydrous ethanol feedstock into anhydrous ethanol (0% water content), but the process appears to be uneconomic at this time and the facility remains idle.

Jamaica has a fully digital telephone communication system with a mobile penetration of over 95%.

The country’s three mobile operators - Cable and Wireless (marketed as LIME - landline Internet, Mobile and Entertainment), Digicel, and Oceanic Digital (operating as MiPhone and now known as Claro since late 2008) - have spent millions in network upgrade and expansion.Both Digicel and Oceanic Digital were granted licences in 2001 to operate mobile services in the newly liberalised telecom market that had once been the sole domain of the incumbent Cable and Wireless monopoly. Digicel opted for the more widely used GSM wireless system, while Oceanic opted for the CDMA standard. Cable and Wireless, which had begun with TDMA standard, subsequently upgraded to GSM, and currently utilises both standards on its network.

With wireless usage increasing, land lines supplied by Cable and Wireless have declined from just over half a million to roughly about three hundred thousand as of 2006. In a bid to grab more market share, Cable and Wireless recently launched a new land line service called HomeFone Prepaid that would allow customers to pay for minutes they use rather than pay a set monthly fee for service, much like prepaid wireless service.

A new entrant to the Jamaican communications market, Flow Jamaica, recently laid a new submarine cable connecting Jamaica to the United States. This new cable increases the total number of submarine cables connecting Jamaica to the rest of the world to four.

Two more licences were auctioned by the Jamaican government to provide mobile services on the island, including one that was previously owned by AT&T Wireless but never utilised, and one new licence. Industry analysts argue that with a near market saturation, there is very little room for new operators.

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) is the small but professional military force of Jamaica. The JDF is based upon the British military model with organisation, training, weapons and traditions closely aligned with Commonwealth realms. Once chosen, officer candidates are sent to one of several British or Canadian basic officer courses depending upon which arm of service they are selected for. Enlisted soldiers are given basic training at JDF Training Depot, Newcastle or Up Park Camp, both in St. Andrew. As on the British model, NCOs are given several levels of professional training as they rise up the ranks. Additional military schools are available for speciality training in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

The JDF is directly descended from the British West Indies Regiment formed during the colonial era. The West Indies Regiment was used extensively by the British Empire in policing the empire from 1795 to 1926. Other units in the JDF heritage include the early colonial Jamaica Militia, the Kingston Infantry Volunteers of WWI and reorganised into the Jamaican Infantry Volunteers in World War II. The West Indies Regiment was reformed in 1958 as part of the West Indies Federation. The dissolution of the Federation resulted in the establishment of the JDF.

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) comprises an infantry Regiment and Reserve Corps, an Air Wing, a Coast Guard fleet and a supporting Engineering Unit. The infantry regiment contains the 1st, 2nd and 3rd (National Reserve) battalions. The JDF Air Wing is divided into three flight units, a training unit, a support unit and the JDF Air Wing (National Reserve). The Coast Guard is divided between seagoing crews and support crews. It conducts maritime safety and maritime law enforcement as well as defence-related operations. The support battalion contains a Military Police platoon as well as vehicle, armourers and supply units. The 1st Engineer Regiment provides military engineering support to the JDF. The Headquarters JDF contains the JDF Commander, Command Staff as well as Intelligence, Judge Advocate office, Administrative and Procurement sections.

In recent years the JDF has been called upon to assist the nation's police, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in fighting drug smuggling and a rising crime rate which includes one of the highest murder rates in the world. JDF units actively conduct armed patrols with the JCF in high-crime areas and known gang neighbourhoods. There has been vocal controversy as well as support of this JDF role. In early 2005, an Opposition leader, Edward Seaga, called for the merger of the JDF and JCF. This has not garnered support in either organisation nor among the majority of citizens.

Some areas of Jamaica experience high levels of violent crime. Jamaica has had one of the highest murder rates in the world for many years according to UN estimates. Jamaica's former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson described the situation as "a national challenge of unprecedented proportions". In 2005, Jamaica had 1,674 murders for a murder rate of 58 per 100,000 people; that year, Jamaica had the highest murder rate in the world.

Dark blue: Countries and territories where English is spoken natively by a significant population.

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History of Jamaica

Jamaica, one of the largest Caribbean islands, was inhabited by Arawak natives. When Christopher Columbus arrived at the island, he claimed the land for Spain. Still, it was not truly colonized until after his death. But only a few decades after Columbus' death almost all Arawaks were exterminated. Spain held the island against many buccaneer raids at the main city, which is now called Spanish Town. Eventually England claimed the island in a raid, but the Spanish did not relinquish their claim to the island until 1670.

Jamaica became a base of operations for buccaneers, including Captain Henry Morgan. In return these buccaneers kept the other colonial powers from attacking the island. Africans were captured, kidnapped, and forced into slavery to work on plantations when sugarcane became the most important export on the island.

Many slaves arrived in Jamaica via the Atlantic slave trade during the same time enslaved Africans arrived in North America. During this time there were many racial tensions, and Jamaica had one of the highest instances of slave uprisings of any Caribbean island. After the British crown abolished slavery, the Jamaicans began working toward independence. Since independence there have been political and economic disturbances, as well as a number of strong political leaders.

Tainos from South America had settled in Jamaica at around 1,000 BC and called the land Xamayca, meaning "a land of springs". After Christopher Columbus' arrival in 1494, Spain claimed the island and began occupation in 1509, naming the island Santiago (St. James). The Arawaks were exterminated by the Spanish. Some also committed suicide, presumably to escape. Spain brought the first slaves to Jamaica in 1517.

On Jamaica one outspoken man, Bartolomé de Las Casas, worked for the protection of the Taino population. It was also he who suggested, and later came to regret, the importation of slaves from Africa. De Las Casas was a Spanish priest, and wrote several books about the poor treatment of the natives by Spanish conquistadors. He believed that the Spanish should work to convert the Tainos to Christianity.

The settlers later moved to Villa de la Vega, now called Spanish Town. This settlement became the capital of Jamaica. By the 1640s many people were attracted to Jamaica, which had a reputation for stunning beauty, not only when referring to the island but also to the natives. In fact, pirates were known to desert their raiding parties and stay on the island. For 100 years between 1555 and 1655 Spanish Jamaica was subject to many pirate attacks, the final attack left the island in the hands of the English. The English were also subject to pirate raids after they began their occupation of the island.

The 1907 Catholic Encyclopedia states, "A review of the period of Spanish occupation is one which reflects very little credit on Spanish colonial administration in those days. Their treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants, whom they are accused of having practically exterminated, is a grave charge, and if true, cannot be condoned on the plea that such conduct was characteristic of the age, and that as bad or worse was perpetrated by other nations even in later years." This is borne out by the much more detailed history of Spanish Jamaica by Francisco Morales Padrón.

In May 1655, British forces in the form of a joint expedition by Admiral Sir William Penn (father of the founder of Pennsylvania), and General Robert Venables seized the island. In 1657 the Governor invited buccaneers to base themselves at Port Royal to deter Spanish aggression. In 1657 and 1658 the Spanish, sailing from Cuba, failed at the battles of Ocho Rios and Rio Nuevo in their attempts to retake the island, and in 1657 Admiral Robert Blake defeated the Spanish West Indian Fleet.

The British extended colonisation in 1661 and gained formal recognition of possession from other European powers through the Treaty of Madrid in 1670. However part of the Island remained in the hands of the Maroons with whom they signed a treaty on 1 March 1738. Although much of the Spanish capital, Villa de la Vega, was burned during the conquest, the English renamed it Spanish Town and kept it as the island's capital. For some time, however, Port Royal functioned as the capital while Spanish Town was being rebuilt.

The island was a major base for pirates, especially at Port Royal before it was destroyed in an earthquake in 1692. After the disaster, Kingston was founded across the harbour, one of the largest natural havens in the world, and rapidly became the major commercial centre of the island. It was also the site of the second regularly-published English-language newspaper in the Americas, the Weekly Jamaica Courant.

The cultivation of sugar cane and coffee by African slave labour made Jamaica one of the most valuable possessions in the world for more than 150 years. The colony's slaves, who vastly outnumbered their white masters by a ratio of 20:1 in 1800, mounted over a dozen major slave conspiracies and uprisings throughout much of the 18th century, including Tacky's revolt in 1760. Escaped slaves known as Maroons established independent communities in the mountainous interior that the British were unable to inhabit, despite major attempts in the 1730s and 1790s; one Maroon community was expelled from the island after the Second Maroon War in the 1790s and those Maroons eventually became part of the core of the Creole community of Sierra Leone. The colonial government enlisted the Maroons in capturing escaped plantation slaves. The British also used Jamaica's free people of color, 10,000 strong by 1800, to keep the enslaved population in check. During the Christmas holiday of 1831, a large scale slave revolt known as the Baptist War broke. It was organised originally as a peaceful strike by Samuel Sharp. The rebellion was suppressed by the militia of the Jamaican plantocracy and the British garrison ten days later in early 1832.

Because the loss of property and life in the 1831 rebellion, the British Parliament held two inquiries. The results of these inquiries contributed greatly to the abolition of slavery as of August 1, 1834 throughout the British Empire. However the Jamaican slaves remained bound to their former owners' service, albeit with a guarantee of rights, until 1838 under what was called the Apprenticeship System. The freed population still faced significant hardships, marked by the October 1865 Morant Bay rebellion led by George William Gordon and Paul Bogle. It was brutally repressed. The sugar crop was declining in importance in the late 19th century and the colony diversified into bananas.

In 1872 the capital was moved to Kingston, as the port city had far outstripped the inland Spanish Town in size and sophistication.

In 1866 the Jamaican legislature renounced its powers, and the country became a crown colony. Some measure of self-government was restored in the 1880s, when islanders gained the right to elect nine members of a legislative council.

The establishment of Crown Colony rule resulted over the next few decades in the growth of a middle class of low-level public officials and police officers drawn from the mass of the population whose social and political advancement was blocked by the colonial authorities.

The Great Depression had a serious impact both on the emergent middle class and the working class of the 1930s. In the spring of 1938 sugar and dock workers around the island rose in revolt. Although the revolt was suppressed it led to significant changes including the emergence of an organized labour movement and a competitive party system.

1Occupied jointly with the United States 2In 1931, Canada and other British dominions obtained self-government through the Statute of Westminster. see Canada's name. 3Gave up self-rule in 1934, but remained a de jure Dominion until it joined Canada in 1949.

Jamaica gained a degree of local political control in the mid-1940s. The People's National Party (PNP) was founded in 1938. Its main rival, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) was established five years later. The first elections under universal adult suffrage were held in 1944. Jamaica joined nine other UK territories in the Federation of the West Indies in 1958 but withdrew after Jamaican voters rejected membership in 1961. Jamaica gained independence on August 6, 1962, remaining a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The first prime minister was Alexander Bustamante of the Jamaica Labour Party.

Initially, power swapped between the People's National Party and the Jamaican Labour Party regularly. Michael Manley was the first PNP prime minister in 1972 and he introduced socialist policies and relations with Cuba. His second term elections marked the start of repeated political violence. When the PNP lost power in 1980 Edward Seaga immediately began to reverse the policies of his predecessor, bringing in privatization and seeking closer ties with the USA. When the PNP and Manley returned to power in 1989 they continued the more moderate policies and were returned in the elections of 1993 and 1998. Manley resigned for health reasons in 1992 and was succeeded as leader of the PNP by Percival Patterson.

Historically, Jamaican emigration has been heavy. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Jamaicans migrated to Central America, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic to work in the banana and canefields. In the 1950s the primary destination was to the United Kingdom; but since the United Kingdom restricted emigration in 1962, major flow has been to the United States. The heaviest flow of emigration particularly to New York, and Miami occurred during the 1990s and continues to the present day due to high levels of violence, drugs, and gang warfare which is hampering Jamaica. About 20,000 Jamaicans emigrate to the United States each year; another 200,000 visit annually. New York, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale are among the U.S. cities with the largest Jamaican population. In New York, over half of Jamaican expatriates reside in Brooklyn. Remittances from the expatriate communities in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada make increasingly significant contributions to Jamaica's economy.

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Music of Jamaica

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The music of Jamaica includes Jamaican folk music and many popular genres, such as mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub music, dancehall and related styles. Jamaica's music culture is a fusion of elements from the United States (rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul), Africa and neighboring Caribbean islands such as Trinidad calypso). Reggae is especially popular through the international fame of Bob Marley. Jamaican music's influence on music styles in other countries includes the practice of toasting, which was brought to New York City and evolved into rapping. British genres as Lovers rock and jungle music are influenced by Jamaican music.

In 1907, a collection of 108 Jamaican folk songs was published in Walter Jekyll's Jamaican Song and Story. Unlike much other Jamaican music, these folk songs are in the public domain. They served as the basis for much research in Jamaican folk music and folklore, and several (along with other folk songs) were arranged by Olive Lewin and published by Oxford University Press. Several melodies in the Jekyll and Lewin collections, such as "Linstead Market", were adapted to other styles, including mento.

Mento was recorded in Jamaica in the 1950s due to the efforts of Stanley Motta, who noted the similarities between Jamaican folk and Trinidadian calypso, which was becoming popular around the world. For decades, mento bands toured the big hotels in Jamaica. While mento never found as large an international audience as calypso, some of mento recordings, such as by Count Lasher, Lord Composer and George Moxey, are now widely-respected legends of Jamaican music. Although mento has largely been supplanted by successors like reggae and dub, the style is still performed, recorded, and released internationally by traditionalist performers like the Jolly Boys.

Mobile sound systems that played American hits became popular in the 1950s in Kingston, Jamaica. Major figures in the early sound system scene included Duke Reid, Prince Buster and Sir Coxsone Dodd. In 1958, due to a shortage of new material, the first local rhythm and blues bands, most influentially the duo Higgs and Wilson (Joe Higgs and Roy Wilson), began recording to fulfil the local demand for new music.

Ska originated in the late 1950s in Jamaica. Some of the first songs identified as ska were "Manny-O" by Joe Higgs (1958), "Easy Snapping" by Theophilus Beckford (1959), and "Oh! Carolina" by the Folkes Brothers (1960). "Simmer Down", a huge ska hit, was recorded by The Wailers in 1963. Perhaps the best-known of the original ska bands were The Skatalites, whose career spanned decades and transcended Jamaican musical genres. The Skatalites' music launched the careers of Tommy McCook, virtuoso trombonist Don Drummond and tenor saxophonist, and fellow Alpha Boys School graduates Roland Alphonso, Jackie Mittoo, and Lester Sterling. .

At first primarily instrumental, ska's rhythms generally didn't lend well to vocal stylings. However, some popular singers such as Desmond Dekker, Toots Hibbert and Bob Marley got their start by singing in this style. This new style was widely embraced by Jamaican youths, and soon became popular in the United Kingdom and around the world. In 1963,Chris Blackwell brought teenage singer Millie Small to Great Britain. She exploded on the scene with My Boy Lollipop, which climbed the charts to #2 in both Great Britain and the United States.

Live touring bands launched the careers of many ska, rocksteady and reggae artists. Tommy McCook had been part of the band of Aubrey Adams based at the Courtleigh Manor hotel in Kingston before becoming one of the founding members of the Skatalites. Drummer Lloyd Knibb, also of The Skatalites, had done the hotel circuit playing for the Val Bennett, Len Hibbert and Cecil Lloyd bands.

Along with the rise of ska came the popularity of DJs like Sir Lord Comic, King Stitt and pioneer Count Matchuki, who began talking stylistically over the rhythms of popular songs at sound systems. In Jamaican music, the DJ is the one who talks (known elsewhere as the MC) and the selector is the person who chooses the records. The popularity of DJs as an essential component of the sound system created a need for instrumental songs, as well as instrumental versions of popular vocal songs.

In the late 1960s, producers like King Tubby and Lee Perry began stripping the vocals away from tracks recorded for sound system parties. With the bare beats and bass playing and the lead instruments dropping in and out of the mix, DJs began toasting, or delivering humorous and often provoking jabs at fellow DJs and local celebrities. Over time, toasting became an increasingly complex activity, and became as big a draw as the dance beats played behind it. In the early 1970s, DJs such as DJ Kool Herc took the practice of toasting to New York City, where it became a part of rapping.

Chris Blackwell's Island Records became the biggest label promoting Jamaican music to the international market. Due to its affiliation with the record industry in the UK and First world funding, Island had the distribution to vastly increase exposure of reggae to the global pop market, especially in the UK, where a significant population of Jamaican expatriates had relocated on the invitation of the British government. Blackwell's group of artists included Millie Small, singer of the first major Jamaican music UK radio hit, 1964's "My Boy Lollipop" which settled high in the UK Singles Chart.

Ska's popularity grew steadily in Jamaica alongside Rastafari, which spread rapidly in impoverished urban areas, and among the often politically radical music scene. The lyrics of ska songs began to focus on Rastafarian themes; slower beats and chants entered the music from religious Rastafarian music, and ska soon evolved into rocksteady.

Rocksteady was the music of Jamaica's rude boys by the mid-1960s, when The Wailers and The Clarendonians dominated the charts, taking over from pioneers like Alton Ellis (who is believed to have invented rocksteady). Desmond Dekker's "007" brought international attention to the new genre. The mix put heavy emphasis on the bass line, as opposed to ska's strong horn section, and the rhythm guitar began playing on the upbeat. Session musicians like Supersonics, Soul Vendors, Jets and Jackie Mittoo (of the Skatalites) became popular during this period.

By the early 1970s, rocksteady had evolved into reggae, which combines elements from American soul music with the traditional shuffle and one-drop of Jamaican mento. Reggae quickly became popular around the world, due in large part to the international success of artists like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Marley was viewed as a Rastafarian messianic figure by some fans, particularly throughout the Caribbean, Africa, and among Native Americans and Australian Aborigines. His lyrics about love, redemption and natural beauty captivated audiences, and he gained headlines for negotiating truces between the two opposing Jamaican political parties (at the One Love Concert), led by Michael Manley (PNP) and Edward Seaga (JLP). Reggae music was intricately tied to the expansion of the Rastafarian religion, and its principles of pacifism and pan-Africanism. Musicians like Gregory Isaacs, The Congos and Burning Spear — and producers like Lee "Scratch" Perry — solidified the early sound of reggae.

By 1973, dub music had emerged as a distinct reggae genre, and heralded the dawn of the remix. Developed by record producers such as Lee "Scratch" Perry and King Tubby, dub featured previously-recorded songs remixed with prominence on the bass. Often the lead instruments and vocals would drop in and out of the mix, sometimes processed heavily with studio effects. King Tubby's advantage came from his intimate knowledge with audio gear, and his ability to build his own sound systems and recording studios that were superior to the competition. He became famous for his remixes of recordings made by others, as well as those he recorded in his own studio. Following in Tubby's footsteps came artists such as U-Roy and Big Youth, who used Rasta chants in songs. Until the end of the 1970s, Big Youth-inspired dub music with chanted vocals dominated Jamaican popular music. At the very end of the decade, dancehall artists like Ranking Joe, Lone Ranger and General Echo brought a return to U-Roy's style.

Other popular music forms that arose during the period include: Briton Linton Kwesi Johnson's dub poetry; Sly & Robbie's rockers reggae, which drew on Augustus Pablo's melodica, becoming popular with artists such as The Mighty Diamonds and The Gladiators; Joe Gibbs' mellower rockers reggae, including music by Culture and Dennis Brown; Burning Spear's distinctive style, as represented by the albums Marcus Garvey and Man in the Hills; and harmonic, spiritually-oriented Rasta music like that of The Abyssinians, Black Uhuru and Third World. In 1975, Louisa Marks had a hit with "Caught You in a Lie", beginning a trend of British performers making romantic, ballad-oriented reggae called lovers rock.

Reggae and ska had a massive influence on British punk rock and New Wave bands of the 1970s, such as The Clash, Elvis Costello and the Attractions, The Police, The Slits, and The Ruts. Ska revival bands such as The Specials, Madness and The Selecter helped develop the 2 Tone genre.

During the 1980s, the most popular music styles in Jamaica were dancehall and ragga. Dancehall is essentially speechifying with musical accompaniment, including a basic drum beat (most often played on electric drums). The lyrics moved away from the political and spiritual lyrics popular in the 1970s and concentrate more on less serious issues. Ragga is characterized by the use of computerized beats and sequenced melodic tracks. Ragga is usually said to have been invented with the song "Under Mi Sleng Teng" by Wayne Smith. Ragga barely edged out dancehall as the dominant form of Jamaican music in the 1980s. DJ Shabba Ranks and vocalist team Chaka Demus and Pliers proved more enduring than the competition, and helped inspire an updated version of the rude boy culture called raggamuffin.

Dancehall was sometimes violent in lyrical content, and several rival performers made headlines with their feuds across Jamaica (most notably Beenie Man versus Bounty Killer). Dancehall emerged from pioneering recordings in the late 1970s by Barrington Levy, with Roots Radics backing and Junjo Lawes as producer. The Roots Radics were the pre-eminent backing band for the dancehall style. Yellowman, Ini Kamoze, Charlie Chaplin and General Echo helped popularize the style along with producers like Sugar Minott.

The 1980s saw a rise in reggae music from outside of Jamaica. During this time, reggae particularly influenced African popular music, where Sonny Okusuns (Nigeria), John Chibadura (Zimbabwe), Lucky Dube (South Africa) and Alpha Blondy (Ivory Coast) became stars. The 1980s saw the end of the dub era in Jamaica, although dub has remained a popular and influential style in the UK, and to a lesser extent throughout Europe and the US. Dub in the 1980s and 1990s has merged with electronic music.

Variations of dancehall continued to be popular into the mid 1990s. Some of the performers of the previous decade converted to Rastafari, and changed their lyrical content. Artists like Buju Banton experienced significant crossover success in foreign markets, while Beenie Man, Bounty Killer and others developed a sizable North American following, due to their frequent guest spots on albums by gangsta rappers like Wu-Tang Clan and Jay-Z. Some ragga musicians, including Beenie Man, Shabba Ranks and Capleton, publicly converted to a new lyrical style, in the hope that his new style of lyrics would not offend any one particular social group.

Other trends included minimalist digital tracks, which began with Dave Kelly's "Pepper Seed" in 1995, alongside the return of love balladeers like Beres Hammond. American, British, and European electronic musicians used reggae-oriented beats to create further hybrid electronic music styles. Dub, world music, and electronic music continue to influence music in the 2000s.

The Bongo Nation is a distinct group of Jamaicans possibly descended from the Congo. They are known for Kumina, which refers to both a religion and a form of music. Kumina's distinctive drumming style became one of the roots of Rastafarian drumming, itself the source of the distinctive Jamaican rhythm heard in ska, rocksteady and reggae. The modern intertwining of Jamaican religion and music can be traced back to the 1860s, when the Pocomania and Revival Zion churches drew on African traditions, and incorporated music into almost every facet of worship. Later, this trend spread into Hindu communities, resulting in baccra music.

The spread of Rastafarianism into urban Jamaica in the 1960s transformed the Jamaican music scene, which incorporated drumming (played at grounation ceremonies) and which has led to today's popular music. Many of the above mentioned music and dance have been stylised by the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica led by Prof. Rex Nettleford artistic director (ret, prof and vice chancellor of The University of the West Indies) and Marjorie Whyle Musical Director (Caribbean Musicologist, pianist, drummer, arranger lecturer at the University of the West Indies). Since 1962, this volunteer company of dancers and musicians have had many of these dances in its core repertoire and have performed worldwide to large audiences, including The British Royal family.

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Jamaica Football Federation

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The Jamaica Football Federation, also known as simply JFF is the official football (soccer) organization in Jamaica and is in charge of the Jamaican national team and the Jamaican National Premier League.

According to records available football was introduced in Jamaica towards the end of the 19th century and 1893 is listed as the year Jamaica formed it's first football club. Jamaica's first international appearance was against their Caribbean neighbors Haiti in 1925. They were invited to the French-speaking Caribbean island by Andre Chevalon, president of the then United Sporting Society and it was for a three-match series between the two countries. Jamaica won all three games by 1-0, 2-1 and 3-0. The following year Jamaica hosted their Haitian counterparts at Sabina Park and won by 6-0. The Haitians remained frequent opponents and it was not until 1932 that their run of defeats was broken with a 4-1 home win in Port-au-Prince.

Between 1925 and when Jamaica gained its independence in 1962, Jamaica had regular games with Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Cuba and clubs like Racing and Violette from Haiti, Corinthians of Britain, the Tigers from Argentina, and even a series of matches with a Caribbean All Stars team in 1952. The Caribbean All Stars team included such notables as Michael (The Ruin) Kruin from Suriname and also representing Jamaica were Lindy Delapenha and Gillie Heron. The four games were shared equally with Jamaica winning the second 2-1 and the fourth 1-0 and the All Stars winning the first 5-1 and the third 1-O.

Those friendly international games were the start of Jamaica's football quest with most of the home matches being played at Sabina Park. Many clubs were established during this time including Kensington, Melbourne], Kingston, Lucas and St. George's Old Boys, thus providing the talent Jamaica needed at the time.

In 1965 under the leadership of Brazilian coach Jorge Penna, Jamaica made its first attempt at World Cup qualifying. This was for the 1966 World Cup finals in England. The preliminary group included Cuba, the Netherlands Antilles, and Jamaica. Jamaica's first game was against Cuba which they won 2-0 at Jamaica's National Stadium. In the qualifying match against the Netherlands Antilles, Jamaica also had a 2-0 victory with both goals coming. In the away games Jamaica was held to a goaless draw with the Netherlands Antilles and suffered a 2-1 defeat to Cuba. Jamaica then advanced to the final group of 3 which included Costa Rica and Mexico. The winner of this group would represent the CONCACAF region. Jamaica lost at home to Mexico 3-2 and in the return leg in Mexico City the high altitude proved to much for the Jamaicans and they were defeated 8-0. Jamaica lost 7-0 to Costa Rica in their first encounter and had a 1-1 tie when they played at home.

In 1968 coach George Hamilton took leadership as Jamaica made an attempt to qualify for the 1970 World Cup Finals in Mexico. Jamaica had only a couple remaining players from the previous World Cup team and had to rebuild because most of the players had retired or migrated to North America and England. Jamaica lost all of their qualifying games in that year.

Jamaica's participation in the 1974 World Cup elimination saw the suspension of 17 players on the team because of poor behavior on a tour to Bermuda. Jamaica withdrew from the elimination in order to restructure their team.

The 1978 Word Cup in Argentina saw Jamaica playing Cuba and losing 3-1 at the National Stadium and then 2-0 in Havana Cuba. Jamaica did not qualify.

In 1982 Jamaica did not make an attempt for the World Cup Final set in Spain due to insufficient funds and a poorly prepared team. Jamaica did not participate in the 1986 World Cup because suspension for affiliation fees that was due to FIFA.

In preparation for the 1990 World Cup with coach Jeffery Maxwell Jamaica won both preliminary games against Puerto Rico 1-0 in Jamaica and 2-0 at Puerto Rico. The U.S. were the next opponents and was held to a goaless draw. The return leg in the U.S. saw Jamaica losing 5-1 brining an end to their qualifying attempt.

The United States hosted the World Cup 1994. In qualifying Jamaica beat Puerto Rico 2-1 and was then faced Bermuda, Canada, and El Salvador from which two teams would advance to the final round. Jamaica tied 1-1 with Canada and Bermuda and then lost 2-0 to El Salvador, 1-0 to Canada, 2-1 to El Salvador. Jamaica then beat Bermuda 3-2 but did not qualify.

Under Brazilian Professor Rene Simones and National coach Carl Brown, the Jamaican team has become a "Powerhouse" in the Caribbean region and received "Best Mover" award by FIFA in 1996. Their ranking continues to change as they get closer to the finals on their road to France.

Jamaica made history by becoming the first English speaking country from the Caribbean to ever qualify for the world cup finals.

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Source : Wikipedia