Geography of Jamaica Essay

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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
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The national tree of Jamaica is the Soft Blue Blossom of Lignum Vitae. Farm crops consist of yams, sugar cane, cocoas, peas, beans, cassava, and illegal plots of ganga.

Animal life is quite rich in Jamaica. There are no native animals on the island except a rare, small and brown bird called a coney, a little tree rat, a couple of species of bats and the manatee. The mongoose, the best-known of Jamaica’s wild animals, was introduced from India towards the end of the nineteenth century in attempt to control rats in the sugar cane fields. Lizards are plentiful, but snakes are scarce and none are poisonous. Insects fall into the usual classifications: beautiful and harmless and pestiferous [Roberts, 144]. Black widow spiders are the most lethal of insects. (There is an African folktale in Jamaican superstition about the black widow being cunning and clever) [Floyd, 14]. Jamaica has mosquitos whose population has been controlled to some extent since the mystery of yellow fever was solved. There are crocodiles, frogs, and a plethora of birds inhabiting most of the island. There are, in fact, over 200 species of birds on the island of Jamaica.

The island is believed to have been formed by volcanoes billions of years ago. As Jamaica evolved its climate and soil changed, from its original volcanic terrain, to provide more suitable conditions for life of all kinds. Its origination from volcanoes accounts for the abundance of
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