Everything you need to know about Jamaica including background, food culture, history of Jamaica, and popular recipes to make.
- Jamaica has more churches per square kilometer than anywhere else in the world.
- They are the only Caribbean country with a national hockey team and the first Caribbean country to compete in the Winter Olympics in 1988 with their own bobsled team (though they came in last)
- The Milk River Spa, a radioactive spa, is in this country. It is claimed to have healing powers that help with a variety of ailments, but because of its radioactivity, people can only sit in it for 20 minutes.
- James Bond was invented here.
- This country is home to the most multiple births in the world per year.
- Usain Bolt, Bob Marley, and Notorious BIG are from this country.
Did you know that the Jamaican flag is the ONLY flag in the world without red, white, or blue on it? This flag was adopted on August 6, 1962
The flag is made up of black, yellow, and green. A yellow x crosses through the flag, representing the beautiful sunshine and amazing wealth of the country.
The green triangles above and below the yellow x represent lush vegetation in the country as well as hope. And the two black triangles to the left and right represent the “strength and creativity of the people which has allowed them to overcome difficulties”.
Jamaica is the third largest island country of the Greater Antilles at 146 miles long and 52 miles wide. It is located to the west of Haiti, south of Cuba, and east of the Cayman Islands. It is divided into 14 different parishes, and the capital of the country is Kingston.
The country is made up of about 49 islands, islets, and sandbanks, the largest of which is Great Goat Island. It is still struggling to maintain a hold on the small sandbanks and reefs of Bajo Nuevo Bank and the Serranilla Bank.
Jamaica is located on an elevated portion of the Caribbean Sea, which means that the water around it tends to be shallower and have different biodiversity than other Caribbean islands surrounding it.
The country is made up of valleys and plains in the center (sometimes called Cockpit Country). It also has four different mountain ranges, including the Dry Harbor Mountains, Mocho Mountains, and the Blue Mountains, the last of which is famous for its Blue Mountain Coffee.
The history of the Jamaican economy is rooted in Sugarcane. Many slaves from Africa were brought to the country to work the sugarcane plantations controlled by colonists. These days, sugarcane isn’t as popular as a crop, and the country has to grow much more.
Today the economy is much more reliant on services, including tourism and finance.
Jamaica’s motto is “Out of Many One People”, meaning that they come from a combination of ancestors that make them who they are today.
The country is home to 3 million people, with about 90% being black, 7% being mixed, and 3% being made up of other groups of people.
There is a subset of Jamaicans that live in Maroon villages. The people that live in these villages have descended from slaves that escaped their captors and created societies in the mountains. They are the cultural people (semi) responsible for the invention of Jerk Chicken! They are currently slightly autonomous from Jamaica and hold on to many cultural traditions from Africa.
The official language of the country is Standard Jamaican English (SJE). However, there is a dialect in the country called Jamaican Patwa, which is derived from Creole. There are many Patwa slang words that are common in Standard Jamaican English.
Jamaica is home to absolutely amazing cuisine and some very uniquely exciting cooking methods and ingredients. Some notable dishes from Jamaica include:
- Ackee and Saltfish: The National dish of the country. Salted cod is cooked with the ackee fruit and vegetables to create a unique and special breakfast dish.
- Jerk Chicken: Jerk is so special to Jamaican cuisine! In this dish, chicken pieces are marinated in Jerk Sauce, which is made with scotch bonnet pepper, pimento seeds and more. The chicken is then cooked over pimento wood for a flavorful and fiery meal you won’t soon forget!
- Curry Chicken or Curry Goat: This is Jamaica’s take on curry, in which chicken or goat is cooked in Jamaican Curry Powder and coconut milk.
- Chicken Foot (Steppers) Soup
- Jamaican Oxtail Recipe
Cannabis is also very popular in Jamaican life and culture. It was introduced by Indian indentured servants in the 1800s. For a long time, it was illegal in the country but in 2015, it became legal.