Top 50 interesting facts about Jamaica and Jamaicans
Jamaica is an island country in the Caribbean Sea near North America that shares many similarities with its neighbors. However, at the same time, it is a unique country with its own customs, history, and culture. In our article, we have collected 50 fascinating facts about this country and its inhabitants, which will help you form a first impression and plan your holiday in Jamaica in an interesting way
50 Most Interesting Facts About Jamaicans and Jamaica
So, let’s embark on a journey through the history, traditions, and sights of this amazing country.
1. The first people appeared on the island in the 1st millennium BC. They were Taino Indians engaged in agriculture.
2. The first European to visit Jamaica was Christopher Columbus in 1494. He named the discovered shore Ferdinand and Isabella Island, but the name did not endure.
3. Very soon, the island was named Jamaica, which in the language of the local Indians means «Land of Springs.»
4. In 1665, the English took possession of the island, and Jamaica became the pirate capital of the Caribbean Sea for a long time. The pirate Henry Morgan was especially famous.
5. Henry Morgan was known for his cruelty and courage. He led famous campaigns to Maracaibo and Panama and became the vice-governor of Jamaica. He had a penchant for rum and died of cirrhosis of the liver.
6. In 1692, there was a great earthquake that completely destroyed Port Royal, the capital of Jamaica. Contemporaries called this event the Last Judgment.
7. The economy of the time was based on slave labor. Many slaves ran away and formed independent communities. Such slaves were called Maroons and are now national heroes.
8. Jamaica gained its independence in 1962 while remaining in the British Commonwealth. The British monarch and the Governor General appointed by them remain the formal heads of state.
9. Modern Jamaica is not only a member of the British Commonwealth but also of the United Nations and the Organization of American States.
10. The island of Jamaica has an area of nearly 11 thousand square kilometers and is home to approximately 3 million people.
11. The official language of the country is English, but the majority of the population speaks Jamaican Creole, known as Patois.
12. The capital of the country is the city of Kingston. It is built on the site of the destroyed and nearly completely sunken Port Royal, the first capital of Jamaica.
13. Kingston is the largest city in the country, with a population of 500 thousand people, making it the largest English-speaking city in Latin America.
14. More than 90 percent of the island’s inhabitants are of African descent, descendants of African slaves. Only 6% of the population is of mixed race.
15. The main religion on the island is Christianity. Almost 63% of the population practices Protestantism, and about another 10% follow Rastafari.
16. Rastafari are followers of the cult of Ras Tafari Makonnen, the last Emperor of Ethiopia, whom they consider to be the incarnation of God. The cult is based on love for one’s neighbor and the rejection of the values of Western society.
17. The official currency of the country is the Jamaican dollar, which replaced the pound that was in circulation until 1969.
18. Jamaica is predominantly an agricultural country. The economy is still based on the cultivation of sugar cane, bananas, and coffee.
19. The famous and expensive variety of coffee, Blue Mountain, is grown on the island. Its plantations are located near the mountain of the same name in the west of the island.
20. Jamaica is located in the time zone -5 UTC, which means it is 5 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.
21. The symbol of the country is the famous musician and singer Bob Marley. He became the most popular reggae performer in the world. The Bob Marley House Museum is located in Kingston and is one of the most visited places by tourists.
22. On the north-west coast of the island, there is another house-museum, but this time of the famous writer and author of James Bond detective novels, Ian Fleming. Several of the writer’s novels are set in Jamaica.
23. On the western coast of the island, near the resort town of Negril, stands the oldest concrete lighthouse in the New World, built in 1894.
24. On the ruins of Port Royal is the beautifully preserved Fort Charles, a fortress built in 1665 that survived the devastating earthquake of 1692.
25. On the opposite north shore of the island from Kingston is another fortress, Fort George. It was built in 1729, and its cannons still overlook the sea.
26. Montego Bay is home to the famous mystical mansion Rose Hall, built in 1770. Legend has it that it is haunted by the ghost of Annie Palmer, a white witch who allegedly killed three of her husbands.
Jamaican Character and Customs
27. The majority of Jamaicans are incredibly outgoing, friendly, and fun-loving people whose main character trait is a carefree spirit.
28. Jamaica is sometimes referred to as the happiest country in the world, but this is not entirely accurate. Jamaica is ranked 63rd in the world in terms of happiness.
29. Despite their friendliness, Jamaicans are not known for their high level of law-abidingness. In terms of crime, the country ranks among the highest in Latin America.
30. Another characteristic feature of Jamaicans is their laid-back nature. They don’t rush, avoid making long-term plans, and often simply relax during their free time.
31. Jamaicans’ sociability can sometimes seem imposing to tourists, but it stems from their genuine desire to help others, even when help may not be necessary.
32. The traditional greeting here involves a firm handshake and a direct gaze, and among friends, a kiss on both cheeks is common.
33. Jamaican women are considered very beautiful. Jamaicans have won the Miss World pageant four times in its history, with the most recent win in 2019 in London.
34. A notable characteristic of Jamaicans is their desire for cleanliness and hygiene. They strive to keep their homes in perfect order, even in the face of economic challenges.
35. It is customary for Jamaicans to celebrate the passing of a relative in a lively manner, with songs and dances. They observe a ritual known as “9 Nights,” with the first eight nights being joyful and noisy, reserving the last night for solemnity.
36. Jamaican weddings have their unique customs. Guests typically present gifts to the newlyweds in advance, as giving gifts at the wedding itself is considered improper. Additionally, giving ordinary bird eggs is seen as a symbol of good luck.
37. Family holds great importance for Jamaicans, and even distant relatives are always welcome in any household. Jamaicans maintain close relationships with their children, even as they grow into adults and become independent.
38. Music and dance are integral parts of Jamaican culture. Nearly everyone can sing and dance, and reggae is considered the national and most beloved style of music. Bob Marley’s name is revered by Jamaicans.
39. The national musical instruments in the country are the guitar, drums, and the Benta, which is the Jamaican version of the one-stringed zither.
40. Traditional Jamaican cuisine has evolved as a fusion of European and African culinary traditions. Favorites include beef curry, salted fish, and, without fail, ackee – a local fruit that has become a national symbol.
41. The most popular Jamaican dish is called Jerk. It involves slow-cooking chicken over an open fire until it becomes crispy and is covered with a flavorful layer of spices.
Nature of Jamaica
42. Jamaica is the third-largest island in the Caribbean Sea and lies entirely in the Western and Northern Hemispheres within a tropical climate zone.
43. The country’s primary natural disaster is cyclones, which bring powerful hurricanes and heavy rainfall to the island. Jamaica experiences two to three hurricanes each year, causing significant damage.
44. The most catastrophic hurricane in Jamaica’s history was Gilbert in 1988, resulting in 48 fatalities.
45. Most of the island is a low plateau, but in the west, you’ll find the Blue Mountain range, with its highest peak reaching 2,256 meters.
46. Jamaica’s name is well-deserved as the island is blessed with numerous rivers and streams, many of which disappear into karst sinkholes.
47. A natural attraction on the island is the cascade of Danni River waterfalls on the northern coast. They flow down numerous ledges directly into the Caribbean Sea.
48. Jamaica is renowned as the ever-blooming island. It boasts 3,000 species of flowering plants, including over 200 species of orchids.
49. The feathered symbol of the country is the incredible Doctor Hummingbird. This tiny bird, weighing only 10 grams, is distinguished by its long bifurcated tail, which can reach a length of 18 centimeters.
50. The primary natural treasure of the island is its beaches, with the most famous being the coral beach near the town of Negril. It is composed of the finest sand formed by corals.
Friends, if you know any more interesting facts about Jamaicans and the country itself, please share them in the comments. Jamaica is replete with amazing stories, culture, and traditions, and many people would be delighted to learn something new. We would greatly appreciate it!