Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean Sea which has beautiful sand beaches on its coastlines, as well as rugged mountains in the interior. This has greatly influenced the country in many ways both in history and today as it allowed for refuge and freedom as well as the development of economic commodities.
The mountains of Jamaica have been a factor in the political and economic developments of this small island nation. In the days of slavery the mountains provided a place of refuge for those individuals who were able to get away from their masters. The mountains have aided economic development because it has provided the environment and context for growing coffee, which is a major commodity for Jamaica. In fact, it was early coffee plantations that were begun deep in the mountains beginning in about 1790 that allowed the freed African slaves to make a living (Delle, 136). This occurred in the Blue Mountains on the far east side of the island, and coffee is still a major product today. On the western side of the island, mountains were also used in a political manner to impact the history of Jamaica and the freedom of the people. The Maroons refer to the group of people who escaped the Spanish conquistadors when the British fought them in the mid seventeenth century. The Maroons let the British fight their battle with the Spanish, and then fought the British in a guerilla style war from their new home inland in the mountainous terrain (Conniff & Davis, 101). The Maroons remains an autonomous political body in the country even today (Conniff & Davis, 101).
The coasts and the sandy beaches of Jamaica along with the climate are the result of topography and climate, and today it is a place where resorts are development and tourism is strong. “Sun, sea and sand” are said to be the three necessary conditions for a good vacation by many tourists (Hyman, 1197). Tourism is a major source of revenue for Jamaica, and the white beaches have been the perfect site for tourists to take all-inclusive vacations. Another tourist feature of the country is that because of the location in the sea and the beautiful and scenic coasts it is an ideal place for cruise ships to make a stop for the day (Henthorne et al., 66).
While this feature of the country has been helpful economically in the past few decades, the impacts of climate change may create a different scenario as the rising ocean buries these beaches under water (Hyman, 1197). If climate change occurs, another issue may be that it is too hot for tourism, in addition to the loss of the sandy white beaches. This is likely to have a great impact on the economics of the nation. It is clear that the coastal areas of Jamaica have not just had a great influence on the economy of the country in the past few decades, there is an expectation that it will continue to be major revenue for the nation. It could pose many problems if climate change and changing topography were to change this.
The geography of Jamaica has been important to the people of the country as it has shaped their history and political struggle as well as their economy. The welcoming exterior of the country with sun, sand and sea is only one aspect of the country, as the not so welcoming mountainous areas in the interior have provided a means for the local population to hide from foreigners when need be, such in the early days of colonization when many were still considered as slaves. With these two geographical features to choose from Jamaicans have control over their country.