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The island - discovered by Christopher COLUMBUS in 1494 - was settled by the Spanish early in the 16th century. The native Taino Indians, who had inhabited Jamaica for centuries, were gradually exterminated and replaced by African slaves. England seized the island in 1655 and established a plantation economy based on sugar, cocoa, and coffee. The abolition of slavery in 1834 freed a quarter million slaves, many of whom became small farmers. Jamaica gradually increased its independence from Britain. In 1958 it joined other British Caribbean colonies in forming the Federation of the West Indies. Jamaica gained full independence when it withdrew from the Federation in 1962. Deteriorating economic conditions during the 1970s led to recurrent violence as rival gangs affiliated with the major political parties evolved into powerful organized crime networks involved in international drug smuggling and money laundering. Violent crime, drug trafficking, and poverty pose significant challenges to the government today. Nonetheless, many rural and resort areas remain relatively safe and contribute substantially to the economy.


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Military

Military branches
Jamaica Defense Force: Ground Forces, Coast Guard, Air Wing (2010)

Military service age and obligation
18 years of age for voluntary military service; younger recruits may be conscripted with parental consent (2001)

Manpower available for military service
Males age 16-49 726,263
Females age 16-49 742,958 (2010 est.)

Manpower fit for military service
Males age 16-49 590,673
Females age 16-49 596,414 (2010 est.)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually
Male 33,369
Female 32,702 (2010 est.)

Military expenditures World Ranking: 153
0.6% of GDP (2006 est.)


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Jamaica (Kingston):
Country Flag
Country Locator

GPS points from Jamaica (Kingston)

square Duncans River Parish Of Portland

square Bartons Parish Of Saint Catherine

square Westfield Parish Of Portland

square Palmetto Point Parish Of Trelawny

square Olive Park Parish Of Clarendon

square Russell Pen Parish Of Saint Catherine

square Bamboo Hill Parish Of Saint Ann

square Little Pelican Island Jamaica (general)




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