60 Interesting Facts About Jamaica

Last updated on October 23rd, 2022

5 Reggae Music Facts

51. Bob Marley’s “Legend” is the highest selling reggae record of all time.

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.

53. Reggae was developed almost by accident in Kingston after rocksteady, which came about after ska.

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.

55. There are more than 200 reggae festivals around the world each year.

Map of Jamaica

5 Fun Facts About Jamaica for Kids

56. In Jamaica, they drive on the left side of the road.

57. There are only 8 species of snake indigenous to Jamaica and none of them are venomous.

58. Port Royal in Jamaica used to be called ‘The wickedest city on Earth’.

59. Ian Flemming wrote all 14 James Bond novels while he was living in Jamaica.

60. The second main indigenous people of Jamaica were the Arawak. They called this island “Xaymaca” which means “Land of Wood and Water”.

About the flag of Jamaica

Flag of Jamaica
Flag of Jamaica.

1. Design and Symbolism

Jamaica may be a small island in the Caribbean, but its culture and athletes are famous worldwide. These made the Jamaican flag highly recognizable, although few know its meaning and history.

The flag of Jamaica has a gold diagonal cross extending from corner to corner, creating four triangles pointing inward. The top and bottom triangles are green, while the left and right are black.

In 1962, a government paper provided official color interpretations. Black represented hardships in the country, while green signified fertile land, and gold symbolized abundant sunshine.

In 1996, a committee recommended a more positive interpretation. Now black represents the strength and creativity of Jamaicans that enable them to overcome challenges. Gold stands for the golden sunshine over the land and the wealth of the country. Green signifies hope and the lush vegetation within the island nation.

2. Adoption

Jamaica adopted the flag on August 6, 1962, in time for independence.

3. Technical Details

The flag dimensions follow a 1:2 ratio. The thickness of the cross is one-sixth of the flag width. As for the colors, the HEX values are FFB81C (yellow), 007749 (green), and 2D2926 (black). In the Pantone system, use 1235C, 3415C, and Black C.

4. History

Under Spanish Rule

Jamaica was a Spanish colony from 1509 to 1655. Many of the natives died due to disease or violence. The colonists brought in slaves from Africa to increase workers. Today, Black and Mixed Black people comprise over 90% of the population.

Under British Rule

England conquered the island and developed sugarcane plantations. When the British abolished slavery in the 1800s, landowners turned to indentured servants from China and India to fill the labor gap. Under Britain, the Jamaican flag had the Union Jack and the island’s coat of arms on a blue field.

Independent Jamaica

In the 1940s, unrest led the British government to institute political and economic reforms: universal adult suffrage, a new House of Representatives, and a two-party system. Caribbean colonies also formed the Federation of the West Indies in 1958. Its flag was a field of blue with four wavy white lines representing the sea and an orange disc representing the tropical sun.

Jamaica left the federation and sought independence. In preparation, the government held a flag design contest with a prize of £100. It attracted more than 360 entries, yet no winner came out of the twelve finalists.

A bipartisan committee considered a horizontal tricolor, but it was too similar to the flag of Tanzania. Finally, they chose a diagonal cross to make the design more distinctive. The flag flew for the first time when Jamaica gained independence on August 6, 1962.

5. Flag Facts

Jamaica has the only national flag in the world without the colors red, white, or blue.

Some flag design proposals are in the Special Collections of the National Library of Jamaica. Eye-catching designs include a white crocodile on a blue field and a Cross of St. George with pineapples. The crocodile is an indigenous reptile, while pineapples are indigenous fruits. Both appear on the Jamaican coat of arms.

Jamaica – country at a glance

Independence6 August 1962 (from the UK)
National Anthem"Jamaica, Land We Love"
Capital CityKingston
17°59′N 76°48′W
Largest CityKingston
17°59′N 76°48′W
Total area10,991 sq km
Population2,818,596 (2022 est.)
Official LanguageEnglish
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Literacy rate88.7%
National symbolsgreen-and-black streamertail (bird), Guaiacum officinale (Guaiacwood)
National colorsgreen, yellow, black
Government typeparliamentary democracy (Parliament) under a constitutional monarchy; a Commonwealth realm
MonarchElizabeth II
Prime MinisterAndrew Holness
Life expectancy at birth75.75 years (2022 est.)
BordersNo land borders (Island country.)
CurrencyJamaican dollar (JMD)
Industriestourism, bauxite/alumina, agricultural-processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications
Exports$5.114 billion (2018 est.)
alumina, bauxite, sugar, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, apparel, mineral fuels
Imports$7.314 billion (2018 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)$8,700 (2020 est.)
Birth rate15.91 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Death rate7.43 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)
Sex ratio0.98 male(s)/female (2022 est.)
Natural resourcesbauxite, gypsum, limestone
Mean elevation18 m
Lowest pointCaribbean Sea 0 m
Highest pointBlue Mountain Peak 2,256 m
Terrainmostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain
Climatetropical; hot, humid; temperate interior
Agricultural land41.4%
Time Zone(UTC-5)
Internet country code.jm
Calling Code+1-876
Drives on theLeft
Table last updated July 25, 2022