35+ Interesting Facts About Jamaica

  1. Jamaica is an island country in the West Indies. Its closest islands are Cuba and Haiti in the Caribbean Sea. 
  2. Christopher Columbus was the first European to arrive in Jamaica in 1494. The initial inhabitants of Jamaica at the time of the arrival of Europeans were Taino. 
  3. The Taino vanished during the Spanish occupation of Jamaica before the English invasion in 1655. It happened due to slavery and diseases brought by Europeans.
  4. England captured this island from Spain in 1655. They brought many African slaves to work on the sugar plantation. Today, more than 90% of the inhabitants of Jamaica are descendants of these former slaves.
  5. Port Royal in Jamaica was notorious for being “the wickedest city on earth during the 17th Century. It was the home to infamous pirates during that period. Around 25% of all the buildings in the city were either bars or brothels. The headquarters of the Royal Navy in the Caribbean was also located in the same town. (Source)
  6. The first post office in Jamaica opened in 1671 in Spanish Town. It was also the first post office in any British colony. (Source)
  7. The British abolished slavery in Jamaica in 1838. After abolishing slavery, they brought several Indians to Jamaica to work in sugar plantations for low wages.
  8. Jamaica gained independence from the UK in 1962. However, the British monarch remained the country’s head of state.
  9. Milk River spa in Jamaica was discovered by a slave in the 18th Century. The spring water in this spa is more radioactive than famous European spas. This water is known to cure several joint and nerve ailments. (Source)
  10. The Manchester Club in Mandeville is the oldest golf club in the western hemisphere and the 3rd oldest outside the UK. This golf course in Jamaica was established in 1865. (Source)
  11. Jamaica is the birthplace of Rastafari, a religious and political movement. It started in the 1930s and combined Protestant Christianity with Pan-African ideas. This movement later spread to Africa and African communities around the world. Currently, around 1% of Jamaicans follow this movement.
  12. Jamaica has the 4th highest murder rate in the world. The homicide rate in this Caribbean country is 47 per 100,000 people. (Source)
  13. There are only three officially designated cities in Jamaica. These are Kingston, Portmore, and Montego Bay. (Source)
  14. Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Jamaica. It is a mixed natural and cultural site. (Source
    Blue Mountains in Jamaica
    World's best coffee grows in the Jamaican Blue Mountains

  15. Blue mountain coffee is grown exclusively in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica. It is known as the best tasting and one of the most expensive coffees in the world. It has a mild flavor with almost no bitterness. 80% of blue mountain coffee is exported to Japan. (Source)
  16. Jamaica is located on the hurricane belt. The country usually faces tropical storms during the spring and summer seasons.
  17. The interior part of Jamaica is mountainous. The island is surrounded by coastal plains. It has a diverse ecosystem containing rainforests, savannas, and dry areas.
  18. English is the official language of Jamaica. Jamaican Creole, the Jamaican version of English, is also widely spoken.
  19. Most Jamaicans are adherents of Protestant Christianity. More than 20% are non-religious. The small Jewish community in Jamaica is one of the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.
  20. The fictional character of James Bond was created in Jamaica. The initial 14 novels of “The James Bond series” were written by Ian Fleming, a former British intelligence officer, during his stay in Jamaica. James Bond's movie “Live and Let Die” was filmed in Jamaica. (Source)
  21. Several Spanish slaves managed to run away from slavery and established their independent territories in mountainous areas of Jamaica. These were called maroons (unruly) by Spaniards. These Jamaican maroons also fought two wars against the British during the 18th Century (1728-1739 and 1795-1756).
  22. Cricket and athletics are the most favorite sports in Jamaica. The country has produced several famous sportsmen in these games.
  23. Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest man, is from Jamaica. He won the 100 m and 200 m sprints in the Olympic Games of 2008, 2012, and 2016. He is the first person to win both these sprints in initially two and then three consecutive Olympics.
  24. Despite being a tropical country, Jamaica participated in Winter Olympics continuously from 1988 to 2002. They took part in a bobsled with the best ranking of 14 in the Olympics. Their debut at the 1988 Calgary Winter Games inspired the 1993 Disney movie, “Cool Runnings.” (Source)
  25. Jamaica has won 22 gold medals, 36 silver medals, and 21 bronze medals in Olympic Games from 1948 to 2016. (Source)
  26. Allspice was discovered in Jamaica by Christopher Columbus. Jamaica produces the best quality allspice and is the world’s 2nd largest exporter of this spice. (Source)
  27. Jamaica was the first country in the western hemisphere and second in the world after India, which banned trade and travel with South Africa during apartheid. Jamaica took that step in 1956 when it was a colony of Britain. (Source)
  28. After its introduction to Jamaica in 1872, the small Indian mongoose had spread to other parts of the Caribbean and many other places within 15 years. This mammal is one of the worst invasive species on earth and has caused extinction of endemic species. (Source)
  29. Ackee and saltfish is the national dish of Jamaica. It is known as the 2nd best national dish in the world after hamburgers in the U.S. (Source)
    A glass of rum
    Rum is Jamaica's national drink

  30. The national drink of Jamaica is rum. The country is a historical producer of this alcoholic beverage due to large sugar plantations. It exports rum to more than 70 countries around the world.
  31. Reciting Bible in Morning Prayer is mandatory in Jamaican schools. The students who do not want to participate can keep quiet while standing in the prayer. (Source)
  32. Jamaica is the 3rd largest island in the Caribbean Sea, after Cuba and Hispaniola. It is also the largest English-speaking island in the region.
  33. Jamaica applies tourist tax on foreign visitors. The first-time arrivals will pay a $20 arrival tax and a $35 departure tax. These taxes are applied to every person above two years of age. (Source)
  34. The Homerus swallowtail is the largest butterfly in the Western Hemisphere. This butterfly is present only in Jamaica. (Source)
  35. Jamaica is the first Caribbean country to launch a website. This website is related to the tourism industry in the country.
  36. UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) is considered one of the top pan-African organizations. It was founded by a Jamaican American, Marcus Garvey. (Source)
  37. Kingston harbor in Jamaica is the 7th largest natural harbor in the world. It is home to the country’s largest port, the Kingston Container Terminal.

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