Quick Facts About Jamaica ( Things You Should Know )

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history of jamaica

Jamaica is known for it’s sandy beaches, sprint stars like Usain Bolt, the musical stylings of Bob Marley and the phrase “Yeh Mon!” However Jamaica is much more than that. It’s about a strong people, a colorful culture, a resilient nation and a ton of pride. Keep reading as we briefly explore the history of Jamaica.


What you’ll learn in this post:
learning 1Who really discovered Jamaica.
learning 2The World Record set by Jamaica. It’s not for sprinting.
learning 3Why Jamaica is much than Marijuana and Bob Marley.

Here’s Begins The Brief History of Jamaica

Welcome to Jamaica! The home of independents, beautiful landscapes, a unique culture of ethnicity, and a deeply rooted faith. The mountainous Caribbean of Jamaica is located just south of Cuba, on a 4,244 sq. mile island, half the size of the state of Connecticut. It is surrounded by the luxurious turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea with nearly 635 miles of gorgeous coastline.

Rediscovery of Jamaica

Soon after Columbus discovery of the island in 1494, the Arawak Indians who had occupied the island slowly became extinct and the Spanish began bringing slaves to the island. More than 90% of Jamaica’s 2,666,000 population is of African descent. Close to 250,000 years later, the British seized the island in 1655. Full independence from the United Kingdom came on August 6, 1962 when it became a member of the British Commonwealth. The celebration of Jamaica’s Independence Day each year is celebrated with many different festivals, including the Kingston Parade where people represent their cultural heritage by dressing up in traditional attire.

Governance and The People of Jamaica

The country is governed by its monarch, Queen Elizabeth the second and is divided into three counties: Cornwall, Middlesex, and Surrey. Those three counties are then further divided into 14 different parishes, many of which are named after saints. The south eastern corner of the country is where you will find the nation’s capital city of Kingston. Nearly a quarter of all Jamaicans live in the capital city; 575,000 people. Kingston could easily be seen as the financial center of the country. It is surrounded by the Blue Mountains, Red Hills, Long Mountain, even Kingston Harbour.

Kingston along with the rest of the country predominantly speak the English language while still a large number of Jamaicans also speak creole. While there are a tremendous amount of positives within the country you should also know that the capital city of Kingston is also known to experience frequent earthquakes one of which was very large and it occurred in 1907. Unfortunately, the island has been seen as a major transit point for South American cocaine in route to the United States and Europe.

Tourism, Agriculture and The Economy

Another problem includes illicit cultivation of marijuana. Tourism is a vital part of the nation’s economy. The service sector is extremely important to the Jamaican economy accounted for nearly half of the gross domestic product. Agriculture, mining, financial and insurances services as well as manufacturing are other major sectors for the Jamaican economy. Agricultural products Jamaica is known for include: sugar cane, yams, coffee, citrus, rum and bananas.

For such a small country, Jamaica is one of the most influential cultures in the world.

The Climate

The average height temperature on the island is 89˚ Fahrenheit and the average low is just 73˚. So it’s easy to understand why Jamaica is considered a tropical paradise and a popular destination for American Tourist. The majority of tourist activity is centered on the Northern Coast of the island around Montego Bay. Montego Bay along with Port Royal and Kingston are the cities that nearly 1.3 million foreign tourists visit in Jamaica each year.

Music Is The Culture of Jamaica

Music in Jamaica is addictive with a frumpy, passionate and infectious sound that is the trademark of Jamaican reggae. It is defined as the heartbeat of the Jamaican people. Remembering that 90% of all Jamaicans come from an African heritage it is obvious that their music has a heritage from Africa as well. Bob Marley is realistically the most well-known reggae musician known throughout the world. Jamaicans have honored him with a museum in the capital city of Kingston which is visited daily by tourists. A small sample of his music can be heard at the conclusion of this movie. Nearly every race is represented on this small island of Jamaica; African, English, Spanish, Irish, Scottish, Indian, Chinese, German and even Syria. Whether they are ancestors who came willingly in search of a better life or unwillingly as slaves, the Jamaican people are extremely diverse.


RECOMMENDED READING: Also check out the evolution of Jamaican dance.

Other Facts About Jamaica

It is said that while Jamaicans are soft hearted they’re not exactly tactful or politically correct. Walking through the streets you should not be offended if you are called “brownin”, “red man”, “coolie”, “whitey”, “blacka”, or even “miss chin”. It’s the way that they’ve acknowledged and make light of their diverse racial heritage. Food on this small island is as diverse as its people; pickled meats and fish from the European yams, and bananas from the Africans, curry from the East Indians, and Cassava from the Native Arawaks. Put it all together; add some more spice and what do you get, Jamaican cuisine.

The Guinness Book of World Records documents that Jamaica has the most churches per square mile than any other country in the world. There are wide and varied religious beliefs within the country with prophetic Christians making up the majority, but Catholics, Jews and even Muslims are also present in the culture. Most Jamaicans believe in a higher power and spend a large portion of their years in church with very healthy respect for faith. From the discovery of their land by Christopher Columbus, in gaining independence from the UK, to the beautiful landscapes that draw millions of tourist per year, and from the uniquely diverse culture of food to the heritage of music and faith; we have Jamaica.


 tweetable Discover the history for Jamaica in a snackable bite.
 tweetable A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. – Marcus Garvey
 tweetable Jamaica is much more than beaches and marijuana. Check the history.
 tweetable Out of all the places in the world, Jamaica is my favorite place. – Eve

Source: A Class Project by Dave Hackney

Now It’s Your Turn – What’s Your Experience?
What are some of the things about Jamaica you enjoy? What facts about Jamaica would you love others to discover? Leave a quick comment below.

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