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One Of The Largest Islands In The Caribbean: Jamaica

2539 words - 11 pages

Xamayca, also known as Jamaica, is one of the largest Islands in the Caribbean. In this essay I found some pretty interesting things I didn’t know about Jamaica. I hope you read and enjoy it as much as I did researching and writing about one of the most visited countries. It originally home was the home of the Arawak and Taino Indians. They were mostly an agriculturally based society that grew corn, sweet potatoes, cotton, and tobacco. However, their lives were forever altered after Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1494 during his second voyage. Originally, he had heard that Jamaica was the land of gold, but soon thereafter he found out that there was no gold whatsoever on the island. Columbus thought the Indians were too hostile because they initially attacked his ship while landing on the island. After the battle however, the Indians ended up surrendering to them. Later on, by the 1500’s, the Spanish began to settle Jamaica and they set up the first capitol know as Spanish Town. The Spanish immediately enslaved the local population and often they were overworked and mistreated. For an example as a result of this treatment, most of the natives died due to their exposure to new Europeans diseases. In the mid to late 1600’s, the British invaded the island, which ended with the Spanish to surrendering to them. The British settlers in Jamaica soon became known as “buccaneers” after this, due to their pirating activities; one of the most famous know pirates that we know of is Hennery Morgan. Ironically, Morgan was knighted by the king and was put in charge of Jamaica during this time. As the years passed, slave trading from Africa became a common practice by the British in Jamaica. By the mid 1700’s the slaves started to resist and rebel against their British owners, and by the mid 1800’s, England passed a law that abolished slavery in Jamaica. Following their induction into the West Indies Federation in 1958, they left and wrote their own constitution in 1962. This made them mostly free from British control and established them as an independent country.

The economy of Jamaica is very diverse, even for being an island. Some of the primary industries that help make up the economy include agriculture, ranching, fishing, forestry, tourism, and mining. Sugar is the leading export crop, and is produced mainly on plantations that are organized around modern sugar factories. Also there are many farmers that are also independent growers of Sugar as well. As recently as 2000, raw sugar production was estimated at 175,000 tons, which was down from 290,000 tons in 1978. Sugar is still Jamaica's largest agricultural export, which earned them $66 million in 2001. Sugar is also used in the production of molasses (79,653 tons in 2002) and rum (24.2 million liters in 2002). Other items produced and exported are coffee, bananas, fruits, and yams. In Jamaica, ranching consists mainly of the raising of cattle, sheep, pigs,...

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