Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, consisting of the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles. While many people associate Jamaica with coconuts, rum, and lilting accents, the country has a lot more to offer. With these 60 interesting facts about Jamaica, let’s learn more about its history, culture, people, flag, reggae music, and some weird and funny facts.
25 Interesting facts about Jamaica you probably don’t know
Fact 1. The original inhabitants of Jamaica cultivated corn and yams. Today, Jamaica is famous for cultivating sugar cane, bananas, and mangoes, none of which are indigenous.
Fact 2. Jamaica produces Blue Mountain Coffee, a highly sought-after and expensive coffee that is popular across the globe.
Fact 3. In 1988, Jamaica was the first tropical country to send a bobsledding team to the Winter Olympics (Bobsledding – a winter sport in which teams of two or four teammates make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. The timed runs are combined to calculate the final score.)
Fact 4. Jamaica is home to over 200 species of exotic orchid, 73 of which are indigenous.
Fact 5. With 3 winners and 3 runners-up in the Miss World competitions, Jamaica truly does boast some of the most beautiful women in the world.
Fact 6. In 1994, Jamaica was the first Caribbean country to launch a website – www.jamaicatravel.com.
Fact 7. Jamaican, Kool Herc, is responsible for starting rap and hip-hop music.
Fact 8. Established in Jamaica in 1868, The Manchester Golf Club is the oldest in the western hemisphere.
Fact 9. Despite being predominantly Christian, Jamaica’s Jewish residents are among the oldest on the island.
Fact 10. The “healing waters of Jamaica” are made up of several natural mineral baths and hot springs that are thought to have therapeutic properties.
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Fact 11. Surprisingly, Rastafarians make up less than 1% of the total Jamaican population.
Fact 12. AT&T copied Jamaica’s telephone system.
Fact 13. While it may be widely spoken, Jamaican Creole or Patois is not a written language.
Fact 14. Jamaica’s Kingston Harbor is the largest natural harbor in the world.
Fact 15. Jamaica has the most rum bars per square mile – a pleasant surprise for many visiting rum connoisseurs.
Fact 16. Cranberry is a sought-after luxury item in Jamaica.
Fact 17. Jamaica has more multiple live births than any other country in the world.
Fact 18. In 1688, Jamaica was the first British colonial territory to establish a postal service.
Fact 19. Reciting The Lord’s Prayer is a mandatory part of the morning proceedings in all public schools.
Fact 20. Jamaica was the first commercial producer of bananas in the Western world.
Fact 21. Chicken is probably the true favorite among Jamaican meat eaters.
Fact 22. Jamaica is home to the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt.
Fact 23. Back in the late 1400s Christopher Columbus referred to Jamaica as “the fairest isle that eyes ever beheld”.
Fact 24. Jamaica officially holds the title of being the “5th Happiest Place in the World”.
Fact 25. Milk River Bath is known to be the most radioactive mineral spa in the world.
10 Facts About Jamaican Culture
Fact 26. The most common greeting in Jamaica is a firm handshake accompanied by direct eye contact and a genuinely warm smile. Once they have been properly acquainted and a friendship has struck, women will hug and kiss on each cheek, starting from the right.
Fact 27. In Jamaican culture it is appropriate to wait until invited before using a new acquaintance’s first name.
Fact 28. Table manners in Jamaica are “Continental”. This means that the fork is held in the left hand and the knife in the right. Meals are generally served buffet style, with guests serving themselves from a bountiful spread. It is considered polite to have a taste of everything offered, and finishing every item on one’s own plate is a mark of good manners.
Fact 29. The island of Jamaica has the highest number of churches per capita in the world.
Fact 30. Family is of the utmost importance, and includes a close-knit web of aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.
Fact 31. Trust (or rather, a distrust of those in authority) is a major part of Jamaican culture. Jamaicans would rather place their faith in friends and family than trust any person with “official” status. For example, they prefer to form a “partner” with friends and family rather than go to a bank to secure a financial loan.
Fact 32. Due to the fact that its inhabitants stem from all four corners of the world, Jamaican cuisine is quite literally a melting pot of many culinary influences. The country’s national dish is Ackee and Saltfish, with jerk chicken, curried goat or mutton, and oxtail with broad beans bringing up the rear.
Fact 33. Despite the many hardships faced by Jamaicans, in general they are a laid back people. The popular phrase, “No Problem Mon,” or some variation thereof is a fairly accurate summary of the Jamaican attitude.
Fact 34. Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean. Although the national language of Jamaica is English, most people speak Patois, an English-based Creole language with strong West African influences.
Fact 35. The Hon. Louise Bennett Coverly (Miss Lou) is often thought of as Jamaica’s cultural hero. She played a large role in the promotion of Patois as a legitimate (and celebrated) means of communication.
10 Facts About Jamaica’s History
Fact 36. In 1962, Jamaica was the first Caribbean country to gain independence from the United Kingdom.
Fact 37. Despite claiming independence, Jamaica chose to remain a member of the Commonwealth. Therefore, Queen Elizabeth II is still their head of state.
Fact 38. In 1845, 20 years after the first railway was built in Great Britain, Jamaica was the first Western country, outside of Europe and North America, to construct railway lines.
Fact 39. The original inhabitants of Jamaica were the Taino. Unfortunately, once conquered by Spain, the Taino came desperately close to extinction due to slavery and disease.
Fact 40. During the 19th century, many Spanish and British countries helped populate Jamaica with freed African slaves. Today, many people are direct descendants of these first settlers.
Fact 41. In 1997, Jamaica made history by becoming the first English-speaking Caribbean country to qualify for the World Cup.
Fact 42. Rum, the national drink of Jamaica, has been a important part of the country’s history since the 17th century.
Fact 43. Jamaica’s national motto, “Out of Many, One people,” was made official in 1962.
Fact 44. The national flag of Jamaica is one of two in the world that have no colors in common with the U.S. flag. Wondering which one is the other? It is Mauritania’s flag.
Fact 45. Jamaica was the first country to take a stand and officially impose economic sanctions against the former Apartheid regime of South Africa.
5 Facts About Tourism in Jamaica
Fact 46. Whenever they leave the country, tourists are required to pay a $22 departure tax.
Fact 47. As the base of its economy, tourism is the most important industry in Jamaica.
Fact 48. Jamaicans are big on hospitality, which is why two of the country’s airports have VIP lounges to welcome tourists with that authentic Jamaican vibe.
Fact 49. There are 50 public beaches dotted around the island that are open to tourists. The most famous of these are Negril and Doctor’s Cave Beach in Montego Bay.
Fact 50. Over the last few years, Jamaica has consistently been ranked among the top five of the world’s top tourist destinations.
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5 Reggae Music Facts
Fact 51. Bob Marley’s “Legend” is the highest selling reggae record of all time.
Fact 52. Worth a whopping $22 million, Shaggy is the richest living reggae artist. If Bob Marley were still alive, analysts predict that he would be worth $130 million.
Fact 53. Reggae was developed almost by accident in Kingston after rocksteady, which came about after ska.
Fact 54. Since its invention, Reggae has been a vessel for musicians to express political and social views. It has been tied to the Rastafari movement for many years.
Fact 55. There are more than 2000 reggae festivals around the world each year.
5 Fun Facts About Jamaica for Kids
Fact 56. In Jamaica, they drive on the left side of the road.
Fact 57. There are only 8 species of snake indigenous to Jamaica and none of them are venomous.
Fact 58. Port Royal in Jamaica used to be called ‘The wickedest city on Earth’.
Fact 59. Ian Flemming wrote all 14 James Bond novels while he was living in Jamaica.
Fact 60. The second main indigenous people of Jamaica were the Arawak. They called this island “Xaymaca” which means “Land of Wood and Water”.
Jamaica facts – country at a glance
|Independence||6 August 1962 (from the UK)|
|National Anthem||"Jamaica, Land We Love"|
|National Anthem Tune|
|National symbol(s)||green-and-black streamertail (bird), Guaiacum officinale (Guaiacwood); national colors: green, yellow, black|
|Total area||10,991 sq km|
|Religion||Christianity and others|
|Borders||No land borders (Island country.)|
|Currency||Jamaican dollar (JMD)|
|Industries||tourism, bauxite/alumina, agricultural-processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications|
|Exports||$1.192 billion (2015 est.)|
alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, apparel, mineral fuels
|Imports||$4.056 billion (2015 est.)|
food and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials
|GDP - per capita (PPP) (est. 2015)||$8,800 (2015 est.)|
|Life Expectancy||73.62 years (2016)|
|Birth rate||18.16 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)|
|Death rate||6.7 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)|
|Sex ratio||0.98 male(s)/female (2015 est.)|
|Government type||parliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm|
|Natural resources||bauxite, gypsum, limestone|
|Terrain||mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain|
|Internet users||1.274 million|
percent of population: 43.2% (July 2015 est.)
|Internet country code||.jm|
|Drives on the||Left|