Jamaica Interesting Facts
- Tourism is the most important industry in Jamaica and the base of its economy.
- Jamaica has no conscription, which means that military service is not compulsory.
- Two of Jamaica’s airports have VIP lounges to welcome tourists with a feel of Jamaica’s hospitality.
- Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean.
- Jamaica was the first Caribbean country to gain independence from the United Kingdom, in 1962. However, they chose to remain a member of the Commonwealth and Queen Elizabeth II is still their queen, if only by tradition.
- Jamaica was the first country, outside Europe and North America, to have railway lines. Their construction began in 1845, only 20 years after the first railway started working in the UK!
- Port Royal is one of the oldest most historic regions of Jamaica. Back in the 17th century, it was a full city and headquarters of several pirates (it was known as “the wickedest city in the west”!). Most of it got swallowed by the sea and lies underwater thanks to the earthquake of 1692.
- The Taino were the original dwellers of Jamaica, before the Spanish conquered the island. Though they became practically extinct due to disease and slavery, their legacy carries on through several cultural aspects, including common words like hammock, barbecue, tobacco, canoe and even hurricane!
People & Culture
- Jamaica is the largest English-speaking island in the Caribbean. They also speak Patois, which is an English-based creole language with West African influences!
- Jamaicans drive on the left side of the road.
- The famous reggae artist Bob Marley helped spread Jamaican music and culture, as well as the Rastafarian movement.
- The musical genres Jamaica is known for include reggae (of course), ska, mento, rocksteady and dub.
- James Bond was born in Jamaica! Or at least 10 of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels. The author built his dream home, Goldeneye, near Ocho Rios and set to writing there!
- Football is the most popular local sport, though recent success of Jamaican athletes has made track and field popular as well.
- Usain Bolt is considered the fastest man on Earth, and he’s Jamaican!
- Jamaica was the first tropical country to enter the Winter Olympics, in 1988, with the national bobsleigh team.
Nature & Attractions
- There are 8 native snake species in Jamaica, none of which are venomous!
- The Blue Mountains are named so because the mists that regularly cover them look blue from a distance.
- There are over 220 species of orchids in Jamaica, and approximately 66 of those are endemic. This is possible thanks to the diversity of environmental habitats available in the island.
- The “Doctor Bird” is the common name of the swallow-tailed hummingbird, hummingbird that lives only in Jamaica. This green and black bird is the national symbol of Jamaica.
- Jamaica exports bananas, coffee, sugar cane, mangoes, coconut palms and bamboo.
- Sugar, cocoa and coffee became part of Jamaica’s economy back in 1655, when England seized the island and established a plantation economy.
- Jamaican rum is one of the best you’ll ever try. It’s part of the nation’s history since the 17th century. You can find different kinds of Jamaican rum, from light gold rum used in cocktails to dark, spiced, fine rum that must be enjoyed neat!
- The national dish is Ackee and Saltfish.
- Jerk chicken and pork are the most common street food. Jerk is a type of marinating sauce native to Jamaica. The most traditional jerk recipe is made of Caribbean red peppers, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, onions, thyme, garlic and salt.
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