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The nation of Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean and still remains a part of the British Commonwealth. The island was first visited by Christopher Columbus in 1494, and the British have governed Jamaica since 1655. It became an independent nation in 1962 and is divided into 14 parishes. The island features mountains inland--Blue Mountain Peak rises to a height of 7402 feet--and rugged coastlines to the north, south and east, with beautiful beaches along its western coast. Limestone
... karst formations dominate the island. Karst is formed by the erosion of the limestone in solution. Sinkholes, caves and caverns, disappearing streams, hummocky hills, and terra rosa (residual red) soils in the valleys are distinguishing features of a karst landscape; all these are present in Jamaica. To the west of the mountains is the rugged terrain of the Cockpit Country, one of the world's most dramatic examples of karst topography (Wikipedia, Geography of Jamaica).
The climate is tropical, but temperatures sometimes drop to 50 degrees in the mountainous regions. Jamaica is a prime target of hurricanes, which have caused extensive damage during the past decade. The island has been drastically deforested, and the reduction of its coral reefs and pollution (caused by "industrial waste, sewage and oil spills [and] vehicle emissions") are environmental concerns. Its capital, Kingston, is one of the largest cities in the Caribbean (population nearing 1 million), and it features one of the deepest natural harbors in the world. Montego Bay and Ocho Rios are popular coastal tourist destinations.
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