Jamaica is located in the Caribbean, approximately equidistant between the northern tip of Columbia in South America, and the southern tip of Florida in the USA. Jamaica shares no land borders with other countries, but is situated in the Caribbean Sea close to Cuba, Haiti, and the Cayman Islands.
Jamaica’s Caribbean location is a blessing for those who love the tropical climate. Warm all year round, with temperatures averaging around 25 degrees Celsius in the winter, and 30 to 35 degrees Celsius in the summer. It’s always warm in Jamaica, but it’s not always sunny. There’s quite a bit of seasonal rainfall at times, although it never really gets cold.
Stunning beaches, endless green hillside, the lofty Blue Mountains—all are what make Jamaica one of the most beautiful places in the world. But while Jamaica is known for its beauty, it’s also well known for the coffee that is produced in the high mountainous regions. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is a highly prized brew, and its complex flavour is the result of a perfect combination of rich volcanic soil, climate, and altitude that is unique the world over.
The Reggae music legend Bob Marley is also closely associated with Jamaica. It’s where here was born, and while he spent most of his career in England and the US, he always retained close ties to Jamaica.
As with many other Caribbean islands, Jamaica was first inhabited by the Taino people, who migrated from South America, arriving some time between 4000 and 1000 BCE. The first European to arrive was Christopher Columbus in 1494, who claimed the island for Spain. However, in 1655 the British Empire seized control of the island, effectively ending Spanish rule.
Under the British Empire—which imported African slaves to work on local plantations—Jamaica became one of the world’s primary exporters of sugar. When the slave trade was abolished in 1807 the British imported indentured workers from China and India to keep the plantations productive. Slavery was formally outlawed in Jamaica in 1833.
Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries Jamaica gradually became more independent from Britain. After becoming a member of the Federation of the West Indies in 1958, Jamaica gained fully independent status in 1962 after the federation was dissolved.
Jamaica’s warm tropical climate supports a diverse range of animals, plants, and ecosystems. Many of the island’s most common plant were introduced by the Spanish, but there’s also a wide variety of native plants, including species of tree, fern, cactus, and other plants. The native plant life includes rosewood and cedar, mahogany and ebony, and the Jamaican dogwood, a tall tree with large clusters of tiny white and purple flowers. There are also more than 200 native flowering plant species, including 60 native orchids.
Jamaica is also home to several native animal species that are found nowhere else in the world, including several species of bat. The most well-known native mammal is the Jamaican hutia. This small furry rodent is a distant relative of the guinea pig, and is a small and squat but very endearing animal. There are also half a dozen native snake species on the island, including the beautiful blue and gold Jamaican boa.
If you currently live in Jamaica and would like to move to the UK to live, work or study, then you can learn lots more about Immigration on our website.
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