Jamaica (i/dʒəˈmeɪkə/), is the 4th largest island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (145 mi) in length, up to 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width, and 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island containing the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Jamaica is the 5th largest island country in the Caribbean. The indigenous people, the Taíno, called it Xaymaca in Arawakan. meaning the "Land of Wood and Water" or the "Land of Springs".
Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, in 1655 it came under the rule of England (later Great Britain), and was called Jamaica. It achieved full independence from the United Kingdom on August 6, 1962. With 2.8 million people, it is the third most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. Kingston is the country's largest city, with a population of 937,700, and its capital. Jamaica has a large diaspora around the world consisting of Jamaican citizens migrating from the country.
Jamaica is a Commonwealth realm with Elizabeth II as Queen of Jamaica and head of state. Her appointed representative in the country is the Governor-General of Jamaica, currently Sir Patrick Allen. The head of government and Prime Minister of Jamaica is currently Portia Simpson-Miller. 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.
Famous quotes containing the word jamaica:
“So in Jamaica it is the aim of everybody to talk English, act English and look English. And that last specification is where the greatest difficulties arise. It is not so difficult to put a coat of European culture over African culture, but it is next to impossible to lay a European face over an African face in the same generation.”
—Zora Neale Hurston (18911960)