Jamaica is one of the most well-loved holiday destinations in the Caribbean. Every year, thousands of tourists visit this small island where they can enjoy the warm weather, the white sandy beaches, and the gorgeous crystal clear waters. The laid-back atmosphere invites travelers to enjoy a wide variety of activities and amenities.
But Jamaica is so much more than beaches and ocean. There are many interesting facts about Jamaica, some of which may surprise you.
Let’s take a look at 10 interesting facts about this tropical island.
1. Foreign Crops
The Arawaks, who were the original inhabitants of Jamaica, used to grow yams and corn. Today, however, Jamaica’s main crops are bananas, sugar cane, and mangoes. Not one of these crops is original to the island. They were imported throughout history to suit the needs of the growing population. Breadfruit, coconut palms were also brought to the island.
2. Rum Loving
You know what they say – yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum, or in this case, a country of rum. This alcoholic drink is Jamaica’s “national drink”, and it is mixed with almost all other beverages, such as punch as well as coconut water.
3. Snake Population
Jamaica does not have a lot of snakes left on the island. After the mongoose was brought to the island to get rid of the rats in the cane fields in 1872, the mongoose went on to kill almost all of the snakes. So if you are scared of snakes, it is improbable that you will encounter one as you explore the rainforests. Snakes are on display at the local zoo, however.
4. Religion and Voodoo
When slaves from Africa were brought to Jamaica, they brought along their religion called Obeahism, which is a type of voodoo that is practiced on the island, even today. The practice of this religion is kept very quiet, as it is punishable by a jail sentence. Those who follow these voodoo practices believe the Obeah man uses evil spirits to bring bad or good luck to people.
5. Independence and the Queen
In 1962, Jamaica became the first nation in the Caribbean to gain its independence, after many years of self-governing. Jamaica chose to keep its membership in the British Commonwealth. Like Canada, the queen of England, Queen Elizabeth II, is the Queen of Jamaica, only traditionally though.
6. Bond, James Bond
Ian Fleming, the British author famous for creating the James Bond novels, built his dream house in Jamaica and named it Goldeneye. While living in this house, Fleming penned ten of his world-famous James Bond spy books.
7. National Dish
Ackee and Saltfish is as Jamaican as it can get, which is why it is the island’s national dish. It is most commonly eaten for breakfast. Ackee is a locally grown fruit. The saltfish is combined with onions and peppers then cooked in oil. This is then served up with fried or boiled dumplings.
8. Jamaica’s Flag
There are only two countries in the world that have no common colors with the United States of America’s flag – Jamaica and Mauritania. Jamaica’s flag has two gold stripes which form an X, with black on the left and right sides, and green at the top and bottom.
9. Flora and Fauna
There are more than 200 different species of orchids which grow on the island, of which 73 are unique to Jamaica. There are also more than 1,000 tree species as well as 500 fern species.
10. Innovative Jamaica
Believe it or not, Jamaica was the first country in the west to have built a railroad, just 18 years after England built theirs. Jamaica’s telephone system was so well-developed that AT&T copied it. Jamaica also became the first Caribbean country to have its website in 1994.
I hope that these facts have given you some enlightenment about Jamaica and how amazing a place it really is.