The complex soils of Jamaica may be subdivided into three groups on the basis of their Fe/Na concentration ratio, which reflects their genetic and pedological development, and the geochemical diversity of their parent materials. The three groups are non-Terra Rossa soils with Fe/Na concentration ratios of <40, Terra Rossa soils with Fe/Na 40–320, and bauxitic soils with Fe/Na >320. A series of ANOVAs demonstrate that the geometric means of As, Cu, Pb, Zn, Cd, Hg, Cr, U and Sm are significantly different from each other for all subpopulations, with the exception of Zn and Hg in Terra Rossa and bauxitic soils. A combination of the Tukey boxplot procedure and the visual inspection of cumulative probability plots is used to estimate the ranges of natural background for the above elements in the three soil environments. It is noted that these estimates based on total and near-total analyses overestimate the actual amounts of the elements that are bioaccesible.