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Jamaica

Political Status: Independent member of the Commonwealth since August 6, 1962; under democratic parliamentary regime.

Area: 4,411 sq. mi. (11,424 sq. km.).

Population: 2,607,632 (2001C); 2,671,000 (2006E).

Major Urban Center (2005E): KINGSTON (575,000).

Official Language: English.

Monetary Unit: Jamaican Dollar (market rate November 2, 2007: 71.13 dollars = $1US).

Sovereign: Queen ELIZABETH II.

Governor General: Kenneth Octavius HALL; sworn in February 15, 2006, succeeding Sir Howard Felix Hanlan COOKE.

Prime Minister: Portia SIMPSON MILLER (People’s National Party); named party president on February 25, 2006, and succeeded Percival James PATTERSON (People’s National Party) as prime minister on March 30.

The Country

Jamaica, whose name is derived from the Arawak Indian word Xaymaca, is a mountainous island located 90 miles south of Cuba. The third-largest island in the Caribbean, it is the largest and most populous of ...

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