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); 2,691,000 (2008E).

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

Official Language: English.

Monetary Unit: Jamaican Dollar (market rate December 1, 2009: 88.08 dollars = $1US).

Sovereign: Queen ELIZABETH II.

Governor General: Patrick ALLEN; sworn in on February 26, 2009, succeeding Kenneth Octavius HALL.

Prime Minister: Orette Bruce GOLDING (Jamaica Labour Party); sworn in on September 11, 2007, to succeed Portia SIMPSON MILLER (People’s National Party) following legislative elections on September 3; formed new cabinet on September 14, 2007.

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 ...

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