Jamaica flagJamaica <<juh MAY kuh>> is a small island nation in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba. It is the third largest island in the Caribbean Sea. Kingston is the capital and largest city of Jamaica.

Close to a million people visit Jamaica each year. They come for the island’s pleasant weather and beautiful beaches and mountains.

Jamaica is part of a group of islands called the Greater Antilles. The island has three land regions: coastal plains, central hills and highlands, and eastern mountains.

Most of Jamaica’s people have a black African or mixed black African and European (Afro-European) background. Other groups in the country include Chinese, Indians, Europeans, and Syrians. English is the official language. However, many of the people speak their own form of English. It is different from the English spoken by Americans and English people.

Jamaica mapMany of Jamaica’s people work on farms. Sugar is the most important crop. Jamaica is among the world’s leading producers of bauxite. Bauxite is the material from which aluminum is made.Much of Jamaica’s money comes from the many people who visit each year.

Arawak Indians lived in Jamaica when Christopher Columbus arrived there in 1494. The Spaniards controlled Jamaica until the mid-1600′s, when the British took over. Jamaica became independent in 1962.

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