"Jamaica, Land We Love" is the national anthem of Jamaica. Words and music by Hugh Sherlock and Robert Lightbourne.
Eternal Father, bless our land Guard us with Thy mighty hand Keep us free from evil powers Be our light through countless hours To our leaders, Great Defender, Grant true wisdom from above Justice, truth be ours forever Jamaica, land we love Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love
Teach us true respect for all Stir response to duty's call Strengthen us the weak to cherish Give us vision lest we perish Knowledge send us, Heavenly Father, Grant true wisdom from above Justice, truth be ours forever Jamaica, land we love Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles in the Caribbean Sea. It is 145 miles long and 50 miles wide. Jamaica is about 90 miles south of Cuba and 120 miles west of Hispaniola.
Inhabitants named the island Xaymaca, meaning the "Land of Wood and Water". It was a Spanish possession known as Santiago and later became the British Crown colony of Jamaica.
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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 obtained increasing independence from Britain, and 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.