Jamaica is an island country that is located in the Caribbean Sea. It is approximately 145 kilometers (90 mi) south of Cuba and 191 kilometers (119 mi) west of Haiti. Jamaica is home to approximately 2,860,230 people and has a land area of 10,990 km2 (4,243 sq mi). The capital city of Jamaica is Kingston, which is located on the south eastern coast. Kingston is also the largest city in the country. Jamaica is the English approximation of the indigenous Arawakan word Xaymaca, meaning the “Land of Wood and Water”, or the “Land of Springs.”
Interesting facts about Jamaica
- The Motto of Jamaica is “out of many, one people”
- Jamaica was a Spanish possession from 1494 until 1655 and was called Santiago.
- Jamaica became an English possession in 1655 and achieved its full independence on August 6, 1962. Jamaica is still a part of the Commonwealth and Queen Elizabeth II recognized as the head of state.
- The currency of Jamaica is the Jamaican Dollar.
- The official language of the country is English. Jamaicans primarily speak an English-African Creole language known as Jamaican Patois.
- Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean and the largest English speaking island in the region.
- The interior of the island is mostly mountainous with a thin strip of flat coast line. Most of the country’s population lives along the coast line.
- Most of Jamaica experiences hot, humid tropical weather, although the mountainous areas tend to be more temperate. The average temperatures in Jamaica stay fairly constant all year round. In the lowlands the temperatures average at 25 to 30 °C (77 to 86 °F). In the mountainous regions temperatures average 15 to 22 °C (59 to 71.6 °F). The average rainfall in Jamaica is 1,960 mm (77.2 in) per year.
- The highest point in Jamaica is Blue Mountain Peak at 7,402 feet (2,256 m).
- The world’s largest centipede, the Amazonian Giant Centipede, can only be found on the island of Jamaica. It is also home to the western hemisphere’s largest butterfly, the Homerus Swallowtail.
- The majority of the Jamaican population is of African descent originating from the slave trade.
- Christianity is the largest practiced religion (65%) followed by the Rastafari movement.
- Rum is the national drink of Jamaica and the national food is Ackee and Saltfish.
- The author of the James Bond series designed and built his home, “Goldeneye”, in Jamaica and wrote ten of his James Bond novels there.
- Jamaica has one of the world’s highest murder rates and is also commonly referred to as “the most homophobic country on earth” due to violent attacks on gay people.
- Jamaica has widely influenced the music industry of the world with reggae, ska, mento, rocksteady, dub, dancehall and ragga styles of music. The Jamaican style of music has also influenced puck rock, hip-hop and rap in other parts of the world.
- Jamaica was the first tropical country to enter the Winter Olympics. They entered a bobsled team.
- The most popular local sport is cricket and track and field events such as running, long jump and high jump. Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, is from Jamaica. Jamaicans also enjoy soccer and the national team achieved qualification for the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Netball is also highly popular and Jamaica has a very successful national women’s netball team.