Geography of Jamaica

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Geography of Jamaica

Christopher Columbus came upon Jamaica as his fleet sailed into St. Ann’s Bay on his second voyage of discovery to the New World in 1494. He described Jamaica as, “the fairest island eyes have beheld; mountainous and the land seems to touch the sky....and full of valleys and fields and plains” (Roberts, 141). Although founded by a Spaniard, Jamaica was eventually sold to England. Today, Jamaica is the largest of the English speaking West Indian islands.

The tropical island of Jamaica, called Xamayca by the Arawaks, is situated in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, about 90 miles south of Cuba and 100 miles west of Haiti (Gleaner). The island is located strategically between the Caymen Trench and Jamaica Channel, through which there is heavy shipping traffic.

Jamaica is the third largest island in the Greater Antilles. The island is composed of three parts, the Eastern Highlands, Central Plateaus and Hills, and Coastal plains. The geography is unique on a variety of levels. Of Jamaica’s 4,411 square miles, almost half of its terrain reaches over 1000 feet above sea level (Roberts, 141). The highest point on the island is at the peak of Blue Mountain at 7,402 feet high (Roberts, 141). The island stretches 150 miles long and about 50 miles wide, from St. Ann’s Bay to Portland Point. This terrain is made up of rugged mountains and lush forests, although about 640 miles of this island are beaches. The mountains are mostly located on the interior of the island, There are 120 rivers that start in the mountains of Jamaica and drain into the sea. This helps drain the average 77 inches of yearly rainfall. Almost all of the terrain is home to palm trees and other exotic plant lif...

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...he outcome is still devastating to crops, homes, and communications. Other forces of devastation occur on account of the human population of Jamaica. Deforestation is an issue on Jamaica’s sugar, coffee and banana plantations because of pesticides and fertilizers used. Local and corporate fishermen have been endangering small fish, which are becoming less abundant on coral reefs because of fishing nets and pollution. Other environmental issues include sewage, waste and oil spills as well as pollution from cars in Kingston and other cities on the island.

Monuments, beaches and Parks play a big role with the tourist industry of Jamaica. The islands’ touring cliffs, magnificent waterfalls and tropical forests attract many tourists.

Over 90% of the natives of Jamaica are of African descent and their national motto is “Out of many, One People”.

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