World History

Jamaica | History, Capital, Language, Flag, Facts & Geography of Jamaica

History of Jamaica:

The first to settle in Jamaica were the Arawak Indian tribe. The first European to reach Jamaica was his 1494 Christopher Columbus. Spain settled the island in 1510. Unfortunately, the Arawak were wiped out by disease, war and slavery. Slaves were imported from Africa to plow the land and grow sugar cane. In 1655 the British wrested control of the island from Spain and became a British colony.

The Spanish fled when the English arrived, but first freed the slaves. The slaves fled to the mountains. They became known as the Jamaican Maroons and fought the British in the 18th century. They established a free community in the mountains of Jamaica’s hinterland and remained free and independent from Britain for many years.

In the early 20th century, Jamaica was granted greater autonomy and control by Britain. In 1962 Jamaica became a fully independent country.

Information about Jamaica:

Capital Kingston
Population 2,825,429 (Source: 2023 worldometer)
Major Cities KINGSTON (capital), Montego Bay
Borders Haiti, to the east, and Cuba, to the north
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $17,097,760,745 (2022 worldometer)
Currency Jamaican dollar (JMD)

Flag of Jamaica:

Jamaica Economy Key Industries:

Jamaica Major Industries: tourism, bauxite/alumina, agro processing, light manufactures, rum, cement, metal, paper, chemical products, telecommunications

Jamaica Agricultural Products: sugarcane, bananas, coffee, citrus, yams, ackees, vegetables; poultry, goats, milk; crustaceans, mollusks

Jamaica Natural Resources: bauxite, gypsum, limestone

Jamaica Major Exports: alumina, bauxite, sugar, bananas, rum, coffee, yams, beverages, chemicals, wearing apparel, mineral fuels

Jamaica Major Imports: food and other consumer goods, industrial supplies, fuel, parts and accessories of capital goods, machinery and transport equipment, construction materials

The Geography of Jamaica:

Total Size of Jamaica: 10991 km2 (source: 2022 wikipedia)

Geographical Low Point of Jamaica: Caribbean Sea 0 m

Geographical High Point of Jamaica: Blue Mountain Peak 2,256 m

Climate of Jamaica: Tropical; hot, humid; temperate interior

General Terrain of Jamaica: mostly mountains, with narrow, discontinuous coastal plain

World Region or Continent of Jamaica:  Central America

Geographical Coordinates: 18 15 N, 77 30 W

The People of Jamaica & Culture

Jamaica Government Type: constitutional parliamentary democracy

Jamaica Nationality: Jamaican (s)

Jamaica National Holiday: Independence Day, 6 August (1962)

Jamaica Independence: 6 August 1962 (from UK)

Jamaica National Symbol: green-and-black streamertail (bird)

Jamaica National Anthem or Song: Jamaica, Land We Love

Jamaica Languages Spoken: English, patois English

Jamaica Religions: Protestant 61.3% (Church of God 21.2%, Seventh-Day Adventist 9%, Baptist 8.8%, Pentecostal 7.6%, Anglican 5.5%, Methodist 2.7%, United Church 2.7%, Jehovah’s Witness 1.6%, Brethren 1.1%, Moravian 1.1%), Roman Catholic 4%, other including some spiritual cults 34.7%

Interesting Facts about Jamaica:

Jamaica has an estimated 120 rivers, most of which flow outward from the Central Mountains. The longest river on the island is the Rio Minho and the widest is the Black River.

The Black River is Jamaica’s longest river.

Dancehall is the most popular style of music in Jamaica.

Tourism is the most important industry in Jamaica. Jamaica’s Kingston Harbor is the seventh largest natural harbor in the world.

Jamaica has one of the highest number of rum bars per square mile in the country, a pleasant surprise for many rum lovers who visit here.

Jamaica has more multiple births (a mother gives birth to more than two of her children) than any other country in the world.

In 1688, Jamaica became the first British colony to establish a postal service.

The reading of the Lord’s Prayer is required as part of the morning service in all public schools. The national flower of Jamaica is the lignum vitae, which means “tree of life”. In the past it was widely used as a medicine, but today it is of great value to cabinet makers and sculptors.

It is rare to see his eight species of snakes endemic to Jamaica. Most were killed by mongoose.

Twenty-three species of cave bats have been found in Jamaica. Of the more than 252 bird species found in Jamaica, 27 are found nowhere else in the world.

After the Spanish conquest of Jamaica, the Taíno were nearly exterminated due to slavery and disease.

Christopher Columbus landed in Jamaica in 1494 after learning about it from the Taíno people of Cuba. He described it as “the most beautiful island I have ever seen”.

Jamaica became a Spanish colony in her 1509 and remained so until 1655 when the British attacked the island and won. In 1655, the British emancipated Spanish-owned African slaves and brought their own slaves (who were also African) to work on the plantations. Freed slaves fled to the mountains and formed their own independent group, the Maroons.

The James Bond thrillers Casino Royale, Dr. No, Live and Let Die and The Man with the Golden Gun all feature Jamaican landscapes.

A popular attraction on the island is the Jamaica Swamp Safari. This crocodile farm was the site of a stunt where Bond walks on a crocodile in To Die. Jamaica’s third international airport is named after the famous author Ian Fleming.