Jamaica is an island that is located in the Caribbean Sea off the coast of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The island is popular among people for the pearly white beaches and the crystal clear sea. The music of Bob Marley and the sprinting of Usain Bolt are the first things that come to mind when hearing Jamaica. Let’s go through a list of interesting facts about the country.
Interesting facts about Jamaica
1. There is a very small snake population on the island of Jamaica, none of them are venomous. In 1872, the mongoose was imported to Jamaica to rid the cane fields of rats. It killed a large population of the snakes too. Today only 8 species of non-poisonous snakes are found in Jamaica.
2. Jamaica was the first commercial producer of bananas in the Western world. The country’s banana industry started out in 1866 when it started to commercially produce and export bananas. Today, the major crops of Jamaica include sugar cane, bananas, and mangoes
3. Jamaica was home to the British writer Ian Fleming who is famous for creating James Bond – a larger than life character. While working for Britain’s Naval Intelligence Division, Ian Fleming was in charge of a covert operation called Goldeneye, giving him real-life inspiration for his world-famous Bond series. Fleming later designed his dream home in Jamaica and named it Goldeneye.
It was Jamaica where he wrote more than a dozen novels and short stories featuring Agent 007. The three Bond novels—Dr. No, Live and Let Die, and The Man with the Golden Gun are largely or partly set in Jamaica. Dr. No, the first James Bond movie, was filmed in Jamaica. Many other movies included Jamaican scenery. Today, a private airport is named after the late Ian Fleming.
4. In 1988, Jamaica became the first tropical country to enter a Winter Olympic event – Bobsledding. I’ll tell you why it’s interesting. Bobsledding is a winter sport in which teams of two or four teammates make timed runs down narrow, twisting. iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. As you all know, Jamaica is a hot tropical country and the team had no experience in the extreme cold climate of Canada where the Olympics were held that year. Well to tell you the truth they had no experience in Bobsledding as well. It all started because two American businessmen were visiting Jamaica, and noticed push cart racing was popular. They noticed the similarities to bobsledding, and decided to start the first national team. It was a big joke in Jamaica when the government announced that they were sending a bobsled team to the Winter Olympics. The Jamaican bobsled team did not own a bobsled and had to borrow one to compete.
The Bobsled team of Jamaica helped build the courage of underdogs everywhere. There is a Disney movie based on this event. It’s called “Cool Runnings”. You should definitely check out. There is a dialog in the movie which I love “People are always afraid of what’s different.” That’s the spirit!
5. Now let’s talk about the sport in which Jamaicans are considered the best. Jamaica has the fastest runners from Earth. Usain Bolt, the human equivalent of superhero Flash comes from Jamaica. Out of the top 5 fastest male runners on earth, 4 are Jamaican. The women of the country are also not behind. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce was the first Caribbean woman to win gold at the Olympics in 2008. Out of the top 10 fastest female runners on earth, 4 are Jamaican.
So why are Jamaicans so fast? There are many reasons. They come from a genetic pool of Africans that are naturally athletic. Most of the sprinters are descendants of the Maroons. A Maroon is a free man or woman that escaped slavery. Running away from the colonial slave masters was a matter of survival and they excelled at it. It is all in the genes. Jamaicans mostly feed on ground provisions such as yams and a lot of fruits. Moreover, athletics are given an important place in almost all Jamaican schools. Sprinting is the most popular sport there, and the coaches are brutal.
6. In 1962, Jamaica became the first Caribbean country to gain independence from the United Kingdom. Despite claiming independence, it chose to remain a member of the Commonwealth. Therefore, Queen Elizabeth II is still their head of state.
7. Jamaica’s national flag is black, green, and yellow. Black represents hardship, green stands for hope and agriculture, and yellow indicates wealth and the beauty of the sun.
8. In 1845, 20 years after the first railway was built in Great Britain, Jamaica became the first Western country outside of Europe and North America to construct a railroad system.
9. You will see a lot of orchids on the island. The country is home to over 200 species of exotic orchid, 73 of which are indigenous.
10. The Blue Mountain coffee from Jamaica is one of the most expensive types of coffee in the world. A highly sought-after and rare coffee, it gets the name from the Blue Mountains where it is grown.
11. Jamaica is the home of Reggae music and the most iconic Reggae artist – Bob Marley. Reggae music has always served as a tool for empowerment, and expression of political and social views. Marley’s “Legend” is the highest selling reggae record of all time.
There are other forms of music which are native to the island such as ska, rocksteady, one drop, mento, Nyahbinghi, folk, drum and bass, soca, reggae-gospel, dub, festival, rubba-dub, roots reggae, calypso, and dancehall.
DJ Kool Herc was a Jamaican immigrant who introduced the world to rap and hip-hop music.
You know how important music is for Jamaicans by the fact that record companies often launch a new artist in Jamaica before they launch them internationally because if the song is a hit in Jamaica, the rest of world will catch on. Rihanna was launched this way.
12. The Rastafarian movement started in Jamaica in the 1930s, and since then has spread across the world. Rastafarians believe that people of African descent living around the world are exiles, living and the ultimate objective is the return home to Zion, a reference name for Africa. Reggae has been tied to the Rastafari movement for many years.
And even though the roots of Rastafarian culture are in Jamaica, only 5% of the population in the country refers to themselves as Rastafarians.
13. The country lies in the Caribbean so of course, it has a history with pirates. Port Royal in Jamaica belonged on the list of the most dangerous cities in the world in the 16th century. The city was captured by pirates led by the legendary Henry Morgan. The famous rum Captain Morgan is named after him.
14. On the topic of rum, let me tell you that Jamaica has the most rum-bars per square mile in the world. It was the first Caribbean island to produce rum commercially. Jamaicans love their rum and use it everywhere – in kitchen (rum cake), for first aid and well of course in cocktails. The country is also home to one of the most expensive rum. Appleton Estate 50-Year Rum is $6000 for 750ml.
15. Cranberry is very popular in Jamaica. Since cranberry does not grow in Jamaica, it has to be imported and is perceived as a luxury item. Cranberry juice is a great thirst-quencher in the heat and a popular chaser for rum.
16. Jamaica is a very Christian country and has the most churches per square mile in the world.
17. Jamaican women are famous for their beauty. 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.
Naomi Campbell, Grace Jones, Stacey McKenzie, and Tyson Beckford are the most popular models from Jamaica. Boys are you booking the flight already?
18. Jamaica became the first British colony to establish its own postal service in 1671.
In 1994, Jamaica was the first Caribbean country to launch a website – www.jamaicatravel.com.
In 1997, Jamaica made history by becoming the first English-speaking Caribbean country to qualify for the World Cup soccer tournament.
Always leading the path Jamaica!
19. There is a unique birthing tradition in Jamaica. After a child is born, the placenta and the umbilical cord are buried in the ground and a tree is planted at the same spot. The child is required to take care of the tree. This is how the Jamaicans make sure that the child learn responsibility from a very young age. It is a really cool concept 🙂
20. Christopher Columbus found out about Jamaica from the Cubans, who claimed that the place was filled with gold. Columbus travelled to the island in 1494 but found no treasure here. Jamaica had no gold.
Trip leader Sakshi’s Recommendations if you are visiting Belgium:
Jamaica is popular for the beaches and attract people who want to laze in the sun while drinking rum cocktails and listening to live Reggae music. Some of the best beaches here are Doctor’s Cove Beach, Negril Beach, Cornwall Beach and Treasure Beach.
Swimming with horses is also very popular. These horses are very swimmers and you will have to manage to match their speed.
There are plenty of beautiful waterfalls in the island and as you know if there is a waterfall, you have to jump in it. Dunn’s River Falls are one of the most famous waterfalls in the area. The falls tumble over rocks and limestone ledges into the sea. You can climb the natural tiers to the top of the falls or cool off in the refreshing pools at the base.
Go for hiking in the Blue and John Crow Mountains. These are the longest mountain range in Jamaica and features majestic scenery and a lush forest. The area comes under a National Park and this unspoiled preserve offers breathtaking scenery. Within its borders, you can explore jungle-clad mountains, waterfalls, coffee plantations, and exotic plants and animals.