• Location: Caribbean (Greater Antilles)
• Capital: Kingston
• Language(s): English, Jamaican Creole
• Total Area: 10,992 sq km
• Population: 2,854,464
• Currency: Jamaican Dollar
• Curious Alcohol Fact: There is the real Jamaican rum.
• Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 5.00 liters
• Most Popular Drink(s): Jamaican rum, fruit juices
Located in the Caribbean Sea, the island of Jamaica is one of the most beloved nations in the region. One of the largest islands in the Caribbean, (only Cuba and Hispaniola are larger), Jamaica is located to the south of Cuba and to the west of Haiti. The Central American nation of Nicaragua lies to the northeast of the country. Very popular among tourists, Jamaica was colonized by the United Kingdom towards the end of the 17th century and with time, slaves from various nations in West Africa were brought to the island to till the ground and work on the vast plantations of sugarcane. It was not until 1962 that Jamaica became an independent nation. The city of Kingston is the country’s administrative center, major port and seat of government.
An overwhelming proportion of Jamaicans are Blacks and those of mixed ancestry (called mulattos). The Blacks are the descendants of the African slaves brought from different West African nations to work on the sugar plantations during the Slave Trade. I noticed that this demographic pattern repeats itself all over the Caribbean. English is the predominant language in the country although other tongues like Jamaican Creole, Spanish and French are also spoken in various communities. Christianity is the predominant religion in Jamaica and the most important denominations include the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Ethiopian Orthodox, Pentecostal movements, Baptists and Seventh-day Adventists. Jamaica is also home to exotic religions such as Rastafarianism and the Pocomani faith. The conversion of the late reggae superstar, Bob Marley to Rastafarianism helped greatly in boosting the popularity of the faith.
Eating and Drinking in Jamaica
I will say that from what I noticed, jerk chicken is the most popular dish in Jamaica. Other nice meals include the Jamaican spiced bun and ackee (with saltfish). All kinds of drinks are available in Jamaica.
Sports, Recreation & Music in Jamaica
Although many know Jamaica as the land of reggae and Bob Marley, you will be pleasantly surprised with the plurality of rhythm and melody in the country. Other forms of music in the country include ska, rock steady and calypso.
Interesting Facts About Jamaica
• The name of the country was derived from the Native Indian word ‘Xaymaca’ meaning the ‘place of wood and water’.
• Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, is from Jamaica.
• The first people to inhabit the island were the Arawak Indians.
• Jamaica is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
• The late reggae superstar, Bob Marley is from Jamaica.
• Jamaica was once called Santiago.
• Marcus Garvey is regarded as the country’s first national hero.
• Upon seeing the island nation, Christopher Columbus believed Jamaica to be the most beautiful in the region.
• The fascinating religion of Rastafarianism originated in Jamaica. Adherents of the religion believe that Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia is the reincarnation of God on earth. Rastafarians use marijuana as sacraments and are easily identified by their dreadlocks as the faith disallows the cutting of hair.
• Reggae music originated in Jamaica.
Story By World By Shotglass
©2013 World By Shotglass. All Rights Reserved
Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).