Jamaica contributes greatly to the Caribbean culture and the world at large. You may think you know Jamaica but below are some facts about the tropical paradise that will blow your mind.
1. Jamaica Has the Most Churches per Square Mile
The National Library of Jamaica reports that per square mile, there are approximately 2.75 churches. The Guinness World Book of Records recognizes this fact. Churches in people’s backyards and living rooms are not considered in the report. Jamaica is a Christian country with heavy influences on its political, education, and social systems. Schools practice Christian devotion in the morning before classes begin.
2. Jamaica Has a Bobsled Team
The Winter Olympics were always dominated by states that are far away from the equator. Jamaica was the first tropical CountryCountry to participate in the Olympics. It seemed like a joke when Jamaica announced that a Bobsled team was going to represent Jamaica in the Winter Olympics of 1988. Bobsledding is a winter sport where teams of two or four make timed runs in narrow iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. However, gradually things have changed, with Jamaica winning a gold medal at the 2000 World push Championship that took place in Monaco. A Disney film called Cool Runnings storyline was generated by the Bobsled team in the Winter Olympics.
3. The James Bond Series Was Written in Jamaica
Ian Fleming, popularly known as James Bond, was a frequent visitor of Jamaica and a Caribbean birds expert. Casino Royale was the first James Bond novel to be completed in Jamaica, followed by three other novels and movies such as Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun. The latter feature Jamaican scenery and spots such as the crocodile farm captured in the movies are still an operational and popular tourist attraction.
4. Jamaica Was Once a Spanish Speaking Country
Jamaica was under Spanish rule between 1509 ton1655 with the Capital city of Jamaica being Villa de la Vega. The English called the Spanish capital town and is still referred to as such today. Some towns, however, have retained their Spanish names, such as Ocho Rios. The buildings are popular tourist attractions. They were used as launching ports for sending ports to Mexico and Peru by the Spanish.
5. National Dish
Ackee and Saltfish is Jamaica’s national dish. Ackee grows locally and is an odd-looking fruit. On the other hand, Saltfish is rehydrated overnight in water to reduce its saltiness. It is then cooked in a small amount of oil with ingredients such as pepper and onions added to add flavor. The dish is eaten for breakfast and is served with either fried or boiled dumplings.
6. Home to some of the world’s fastest sprinters
Jamaica is home to some of the best athletes in the world. They include Usain Bolt, the fastest runner in the world who is a three-time Olympic champion, former 200m World Champion Merlene Ottey, two-time 200m Olympic Champion Veronica Campbell, former 100m World Record Holder Asafa Powell, among others.
7. Blue Mountain Coffee
Blue Mountain coffee grown in the Blue Mountains has exquisite taste, something that Jamaica boasts about. It is one of the most sought-after coffee brands in the world and can be a bit pricey depending on where you buy it and when. The coffee, which is handpicked and roasted locally, has a very intricate process of creation.
8. Beautiful beaches
Jamaica is an island with beautiful beaches to complement its tropical paradise profile. There are at least 5p public beaches such as Doctor’s cave beach in Montego Bay and the sprawling Seven Mile Beach, with each beach being different from the other and having its personality. Knowing the kind of experience one is looking for is crucial in deciding the right beach.
9. Jerk sauce
Jamaicans love spicy food, and Jerk sauce is common in Jamaica. Jerk sauce can be spiced up with pretty much anything from chicken and fish tacos to pork and ribs. Jerk sauce recipes, however, vary as it makes its application to various dishes. However, this effect and its name remain the same.
10. Jamaican Rum
Rum is Jamaica’s National drink. In a square mile, Jamaica has the highest number of rum bars or rum shops. Jamaica is widely known for refining the already established process of making Rum. The refined rums embody numerous full-bodied and rich rums. Jamaica boasts of having the most expensive Rum in the world, which is in the form of Jamaican distiller 1940 J. Wray &.Nephew’s product.
11. Very small snake population
Jamaica imported Mongoose in 1872 to get rid of can fields rats. However, this resulted in Mongoose killing a large population of snakes. Jamaica has only eight poisonous snake species.
12. First commercial producer of bananas
Jamaica was the first banana commercial producer in the Western world. It started in 1866 with the CountryCountry producing and exporting bananas. However, Jamaica’s major crops today are sugarcane, bananas, and mangoes. Jamaica’s original inhabitants planted yams and corns.
13. The Rastafarian movement started in Jamaica
The Rastafarian movement began in 1930 and has since spread across the globe. Rastafarians believe that African descent people living across the world are exiles, and they will ultimately return to their home in Zion, a name that references Africa. Reggae is closely tied to the Rastafarian movement.
14. It has a history with pirates
Port Royal is infamously labeled as the earth’s wickedest place. It was a hub for prostitutes, adventurers, and pirates. Captain Henry Morgan in 1667 was the leader and had been given letters of marque and led a fleet out of the Royal Port. Captain Morgan, the famous Rum, is named after him.
15. Cranberry is very popular in Jamaica
Jamaica does not grow cranberry; hence it is imported. It is perceived as a luxury item is used as Rum’s popular chaser and a good thirst quencher, especially in the heat. It is also popular due to the medicinal properties it possesses. It is used to boost concentration, aid digestion, help recover from flu, and generally boost the immune system.
16. Jamaica’s birthing tradition
Jamaica’s tradition is that when a child is born, the umbilical cord and the placenta of the Mother are buried in the ground. Later in the same spot, a tree is planted. The child is then responsible for taking care of the tree. The Jamaicans do this practice as a way of making sure children learn responsibilities from a young age.
17. It is the largest English-speaking Caribbean island
Jamaica follows Cuba, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico in being the fourth largest Caribbean island. By being the fourth largest island makes it the largest English-speaking island located in the Caribbean.
18. It was the first British Caribbean territory to gain independence
Under British rule, it was the first CountryCountry in the Caribbean to gain independence. It was captured in 1655 and was one of the major and leading exporters of sugar under British rule. Slaves emancipated themselves fully in 1838 by Jamaica attained independence on August 6, 1962, from Britain. It became the first English-speaking Caribbean to attain such.
19. Reggae and Dancehall were created in Jamaica
Reggae and Dancehall are the most popular genres of music in Jamaica and were created by the locals. Reggae evolved in 1960 out of rock, traditional folk music, and ska. Reggae dominated the industry, and by the 1970s, it had become an international style. It is associated with the voice of the oppressed. Dancehall music, on the other hand, originated from political instability in the 1970s and later dominated the industry in the 1980s. Dancehall is associated with vibrancies and is perceived to be an aggressive music genre. Today these genres of music are one of the most popular across the globe.
20. The national flag of Jamaica
Jamaica’s national flag colors are black, green, and yellow, which makes Jamaica one of the few countries whose flag does not have any common color with that of the United States. Black signifies hardship, green represents hope and agriculture, and finally, yellow stands for the sun’s beauty and wealth.
Jamaica was the first Caribbean Country in 1994 to launch a website. The website was jamaicatravel.com. It was also the first western CountryCountry to build railway lines in 1845, 20 years after Great Britain had built theirs. Jamaica was the first CountryCountry to establish a post office under the British colony and to also operate as a British post office sub-branch.
22. Jamaica is known as the “land of wood and water
The Tainos were the first people to inhabit Jamaica. They named the island Xaymaca which is an Arawakan word meaning “the land of wood and water” or “land of springs.” After the English captured Jamaica in 1655 from the Spanish, they renamed the island Jamaica.
23. Jamaica is a multi-racial island
Although its make-up is predominate of African descent, Jamaica is a culturally diverse country. It has a population of approximately 3 million people made up of heritages such as African, East Indian, and European. Its motto, “Out of Many, One People,” is a clear depiction of its multicultural history and race.
24. The official language is Jamaican English
Jamaican Creole is so popular around the world, which has led to many believing that Jamaicans only “Jamaican” language. However, their official language is standard Jamaican English. The Creole spoken is a combination of dialects from Africa and British English. The locals use Jamaican Creole more than English. While Creole may be widely spoken, it is not a written language.
25. Jamaica Is the Home of Beautiful Women
Jamaica has won Miss World three times: In 1963, Carole Crawford won it, Cindy Breakspeare in 1976, and lastly, Lisa Hanna won in 1993. Jamaica has also reached the semi-finals several times, with its last time reaching second place with Yendi Philips in 2007. The United Kingdom, Indian, and Venezuela are the only countries that have won the Miss World competition more than Jamaica. Popular models from Jamaica include Naomi Campbell, Tyson Beckford, Stacey Mackenzie, among others.
26. Commonwealth Member
Jamaica is an independent country but still part of the British Commonwealth countries. Queen Elizabeth II is Jamaica’s symbolic head. The cooperation has benefited the CountryCountry in a couple of areas, such as financing climate change assessments, trade competition, education, among others.
27. Campaign against apartheid
As early as 1957, Jamaica was at the forefront of fighting apartheid in South Africa. Although still a colony of Britain which limited its responsibility for external relations, it did not shy from declaring a trade embargo against South Africa. Jamaica was consistent with its stance against apartheid and offered support to all United Nations decisions that were aimed at eliminating apartheid.
28. Healing Waters
Jamaica offers many raw mineral springs and baths that have healing properties. The springs and baths are famous for their higher radioactive levels and mineral deposits than the other springs that are well known. After visiting these hot springs, people often report being refreshed, and some are relieved of certain ailments and pain.
29. Happy people
The 2021 World Happiness Report was released, and Jamaica moved up in the rankings. It was position 37 out of the 149 countries surveyed, which made Jamaica the Happiest Country in the Caribbean. In 2018 Jamaica was ranked in the 58th position. This depicts a rise in the Country’sCountry’s social welfare, life expectancy, and great health care.
The most common way of greeting is through a firm handshake. The handshake is accompanied by direct eye contact and a genuinely warm smile between the parties. Once they properly know each other and have struck a friendship, women will start with the right hug and kiss each cheek.
31. Popularized River Rafting
One of the popular activities in Jamaica is River rafting. It involves raft guides using poles in transporting bamboo rafts that are manmade along the streams of the rivers. This happens while the passengers kick back .and observe the activity taking place. Errol Flynn, a Hollywood actor who visited Jamaica in 1950, made the activity popular.
Jamaica has a rich culture, from its music that makes a perfect tropical beach paradise playlist to its exquisite food and blue mountain coffee. Its cultural diversity makes it unique and gives different places in Jamaica various personalities.