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The Commonwealth of Jamaica, more commonly called Jamaica, is a member state in the East Caribbean Federation, located in the southwest of the Greater Antilles. It shares maritime borders with the Cayman Islands, Cuba and Haiti to the north. The island has an area of 10,991 sq km. Its capital is located at Kingston. Jamaica has the distinction of being the most populous state in the East Caribbean Federation, as well as uniquely important to the foundation of the Federation itself.
Jamaica was settled sometime before 1000 BC, by Arawak and Taino people from South America. They called the island Xaymaca, meaning 'Land of Wood and Water.' The first Europeans to make contact with the indigenous people were Christopher Columbus and his crew, in 1494. A Spanish settlement was established in 1509, but abandoned in 1524. The capital was moved to Spanish Town in 1534, then called St Jago de la Vega.
In 1655, the English took the last Spanish fort remaining on the island of Jamaica and gained control of the island. For two hundred years, Jamaica was one of the world's leaders in sugar exports and slave-driven economies until the early 1800s, through until the abolition of the slave trade and the British declaration of emancipation for their slaves.
Throughout the 1800s and the first half of the 1900s, Jamaica grew prosperous under British rule, relying primarily on the rise of a bauxite mining industry and the growth of Caribbean tourism. In 1958, Jamaica joined the West Indies Federation, only to become fully independent in 1962.
Jamaica's prosperity was not shared equally within the population, and discontent among the urban poor of Jamaica resulted in the rise of the People's National Party (PNP) to power in 1972. Though they implemented a wide range of progressive social programs, the PNP was unable to improve the financial situation for Jamaica's urban poor. Instead, their policies had the unexpected effect of increasing the number of poor in Jamaica.
By 1983, Jamaica's gross national product had fallen to 25% below its 1972 level. Voices calling for Jamaica to rejoin the United Kingdom as a territory were growing louder within the nation. In order to avoid bankruptcy, the government sought IMF financing from the United States and others. Those financiers, however, imposed harsh austerity measures on Jamaica, threatening their economic stability.
On 25 September 1983 at 7:45 PM local time, the Jamaican Information Services issued a press release, confirming that a nuclear exchange had begun between the United States and the Soviet Union. At 8:00 PM, Governor General Florizel Glasspole appeared on air, urging calm among the Jamaican public.
Multiple attempts were made to contact the American, British and Soviet mainlands, but each was met with complete failure. American Ambassador William Hewitt, now the acting representative of the American president in Jamaica, met with Prime Minister Edward Seaga that night. A swift treaty was negotiated a treaty assuring the safety of American citizens in Jamaica and offering safe haven to any surviving American vessels that entered Jamaican waters and airspace. In return, Jamaica would have the right to requisition any vessel that requested asylum under the treaty.
A state of emergency was declared at the end of the emergency session, as well as the enactment of a curfew prohibited citizens from leaving their homes after dark. Though concerns ran high over the possibility of nuclear fallout from Santiago de Cuba reaching the Jamaican mainland, wind patterns pushed that fallout to the east and into the sea. Fish stocks along the north coast were severely damaged by radioactivity, but the direct damage from nearby strikes was otherwise limited.
From 1983 to 1988, Jamaica underwent a massive economic shift, transferring from a primary-tertiary economy to an exclusively primary economy. Government hotels were converted into housing and other tourism-based assets were diverted to support local economies. Bauxite mining fell into a secondary role in the Jamaican economy, with foreign demand for Jamaican bauxite dropping severely.
Large tracts of land used for sugar plantations were cleared and given over to staple crops, primarily rice and several varieties of potatoes. The jobs and revenue provided by the government-owned staple plantations in the mid-1980s are widely credited with preventing the complete collapse of the Jamaican government, post-Doomsday.
In 1987, Jamaica was asked by the members of LATSA to act as a third-party mediator in debates regarding the eventual status of the agreement. It helped to create the East Caribbean Federation by proposing the Jamaican Framework, which limited the degree of union proposed to a combined defense and monetary-customs union.
Hurricane Gilbert struck Jamaica in 1988, killing 245 people and causing several billion dollars in damages. The country fell into dire economic straits as a result of the decimation of a number of important government-owned crops. To make matters worse, trade with other Caribbean nations had been declining in the last year, caused by an increase in internal trade between ECF states. When an earthquake measuring 5.2 on the Richter scale struck the nation in November, it entered into negotiations with the East Caribbean government for admission into the union.
On 1 May 1989, Jamaica officially joined the East Caribbean Federation.
Hurricane Ivan struck Jamaica from 11 September to 12 September, killing six people and causing $730 million in damages. Agricultural production, still a major force in Jamaican industry, suffered severely that year, leading to a minor economic crash that led to the demise of several private Jamaican agricultural companies. The Jamaican economy recovered quickly, however, utilizing storm damages to fuel a brief construction boom from 2004 to 2006.
The government of Jamaica consists of a bicameral parliament comprised of an appointed Senate and an elected House of Representatives. As of 2014, The government is currently a majority formed by the Social Reformist Party, with the official opposition being formed by the People's National Party. The Jamaican Labour Party holds a small number of seats in the House of Representatives. Rachel Manley is the current Premier, with Portia Simpson Miller acting as leader of the Opposition. Sir Kenneth O. Hall is the Governor General.
The government of Jamaica has, since 1985, been in possession of several means of primary production, under their long-standing policy of state capitalism. Their left-leaning policies had led to accusations of socialist ties in international diplomacy, something it vehemently denies. Jamaica refuses to officially declare itself in line with any particular ideology or political system, citing the establishment of ideological power blocs as being the central cause of Doomsday.
The Jamaican economy is mainly comprised of a mixture of primary and secondary sector industries. Agriculture, in the form of staple crops, bananas and sugarcane, is a major industry in Jamaica, along with bauxite mining. Jamaica has a strong manufacturing sector, relying on the import of raw materials from fellow East Caribbean states.
The Jamaican economy follows the principles of state capitalism, with several primary sector companies being under the control of the national government. The most prominent of these are JamaCrop, a major producer of staple food crops, and JamaCore, a mining company that primarily deals in bauxite extraction. The Jamaican government maintains control of these and other companies, for the stated purpose of preventing foreign exploitation of Jamaican resources.
In 2012, Jamaica had a GDP (PPP) of 20.76 Billion.
As a state of the East Caribbean Federation, Jamaica operates no independent military forces. The former Jamaican forces formed the mainstay of the initial East Caribbean Navy after Doomsday, along with LATSA peacekeeping forces. The ECN First Task Force is based at Port Antonio, consisting of 464 sailors assigned to nine ships.