With luminaries such as the black nationalist Marcus Garvey and musician Bob Marley, Jamaicans are proud of their cultural and religious heritage.
Jamaicans have migrated in significant numbers to the United States, Canada and Britain and their music stars are known around the globe.
The island is the birthplace of Rastafarianism, a religious movement which has been adopted by groups around the world who venerate the former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie. Once regarded as a revolutionary threat, Rastafarianism became a cultural force, reflected in art and music.
Since independence from Britain in 1962, power in Jamaica has alternated between the social-democratic People’s National Party and the conservative Jamaica Labour Party
- Capital: Kingston
- Population 2.8 million
- Area 10,991 sq km (4,243 sq miles)
- Major languages English (official), English patois
- Major religion Christianity
- Life expectancy 71 years (men), 76 years (women)
- Currency Jamaican dollar