Jamaica Facts

Interesting Facts about Jamaica for Kids

Jamaica Ocho Rios - images: Byvalet/shutterstock.comJamaica - Ocho Rios

Here are some interesting Jamaica Facts which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.

Jamaica for Kids

Flag of Jamaica
  • Population: 2.8 million people live in Jamaica (2020)
  • Capital: Kingston with 591,000 inhabitants 
  • Government: Parliamentary democracy
  • Motto: "Out of Many, One People"
  • Language: English, English Patois
  • Literacy: More than 89% of the people can read and write.
  • Religion: mainly Christians (67%)
  • Currency: 1 Jamaican dollar = 100 cents
  • National Symbols: green-and-black streamertail (national bird) Guaiacum (national flower), green, yellow and black (national colours)
  • National Anthem: "Jamaica, Land We Love"
  • National Day: 6 August (Independence Day)
  • History: Jamaica's first people are the Taíno and Arawak people. The Spanish colonised the country after Christopher Columbus arrived on the island in 1494. Jamaica belonged to Spain until 1655 when the British conquered Jamaica. The British established many plantations for sugar, cocoa and coffee in the 17th century. Slavery was abolished in Jamaica in 1838. On 6 August 1962, Jamaica gained independence from the UK.

Jamaica Facts | Geography
Where is Jamaica?

Jamaica is an island in the Caribbean Sea. The island of Jamaica is located south of Cuba and belongs to the North American continent.

Jamaica's capital city is called Kingston. This city is located in the Southeast of the island.

Map of Jamaica

The island of Jamaica is dominated by mountains with only a narrow band of coastal plains.

Jamaica is slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut/USA or slightly smaller than Qatar or only about the third of the land area of Belgium.

A flight from London/UK to Kingston/Jamaica takes roughly 10 hours while from Miami/USA a flight takes only 1.5 hours. 

Jamaica Facts | Climate

Jamaica has a tropical climate. The weather along the coastline is hot and humid, while the higher mountainsides experience more temperate temperatures. 

Lighthouse of Negril in JamaicaNegril Lighthouse is one of Jamaica's landmarks

The island is inside the Atlantic Ocean's hurricane belt. Hurricane season usually lasts from June to November. 

In 2019, Hurricane Matthew passed Jamaica and caused widespread flooding. Luckily, hurricanes seldom directly hit Jamaica as did Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.

Jamaica Facts
Jamaica Geo Superlatives

  • The name Jamaica comes from the native Taíno word "haymaca" meaning "Land of Wood and Water" or  "Land of Springs".
  • Jamaica is the third most populous Anglophone country in the Americas. Anglophone means that the population speaks English as the first language.
  • Among the largest towns in Jamaica are Kingston, New Kingston, Spanish Town and Montego Bay. Port Antonio, Ocho Rios and Negril are among the most popular tourist places.
Ocho Rios - image: Byvalet/shutterstock.comOcho Rios
  • Jamaica is the third largest island in the Caribbean - after Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
  • Dunn's River Falls are among the most famous landmarks of Jamaica.
Dunn's River Falls - image: YingnaCai/shutterstock.comDunn's River Falls
  • The longest river in Jamaica is Rio Minho with 92 km/ 57 miles.
  • The longest mountain range in Jamaica are the Blue Mountains. The highest peak is the Blue Mountain Peak at 2,256 m/ 7,402 ft.
Blue Mountain in Jamaica
  • Kingston is not only the country's capital city and largest city, but also houses the country's main container port. Discovery Bay is another important seaport.
  • Jamaica is known for Jamaican Blue mountain coffee, sugar plantations and Jamaican rum made from the island's sugarcane, famous reggae music and amazing beaches such as Doctor's Cave beach in Montego Bay (see below).
Doctors Cave Beach in Montego Bay

Jamaica Facts | Jamaica Economy

In the 17th and 18th century, Jamaica was among the largest sugar producers in the world. Today Jamaica is still among the leading producers of bauxite and alumina. These natural resources are used for the production of aluminium metal.

The main trading partner of Jamaica is the USA. 

Map of Jamaica in North AmericaKingston/Jamaica is located in the Caribbean - 577 km/ 929 mi distance from Miami/USA

The Netherlands and Canada are also important export partners.

The main export products are natural resources such as  alumina and bauxite. Coffee, sugar and yams are major  export goods as well.

Jamaica belongs to the British Commonwealth states, thus Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state of Jamaica. 

Jamaica Facts | People

More than half of all Jamaicans (56%) live in the capital city and other urban areas. About 43% of the population is under 24 years old.

Jamaican schoolgirls - image by Danita Delimont/shutterstock.comJamaican girls in school uniform

The indigenous people of Jamaica are the Taíno or Yamaye people which are descendants of the Arawak people who originally came from South America and settled in the Caribbean.

Most of the Jamaican people can trace their descents back to the African continent, mainly Ghana and Nigeria.

Reggae musicians in Jamaica - image by LostMountainStudio/shutterstock.comReggae musicians in Jamaica

Most people in Jamaica are Christians. The Rastafarian faith originates from Jamaica and is a movement since the 1930s. The Rastafarian movement is rooted in Christianity and focuses on the African origins.

Reggae is a popular musical genre originating from Jamaica in the 1960s. Bob Marley (1945-1981), who was also a Rastafarian, is considered the pioneer of Reggae music.

Bob Marley image by Lucian Milasan/shutterstock.comBob Marley

Another famous Jamaican is Usain Bolt, the current world record holder in the discipline of 100m sprint.

The official language in Jamaica is English but Jamaicans speak a special English-based creole language, Jamaican creole. Almost all people are bilingual and fluent in English and Jamaican creole.

Jamaica Facts | Jamaica Food

Cassavas, bananas, coconuts, plantains, fruits and vegetables are the staple diet of the Jamaicans. Chicken, pork and beef as well as fish and seafood are also common and part of many popular dishes.

Fruit seller's stand in JamaicaFruitstand in Jamaica

Typical Jamaican food and drinks include:

  • Ackee and saltfish: This fish or seafood dish is made with salted fish or seafood. Most often this dish is prepared with cod fish. This dish is made with the yellow ackee fruit and sautéed vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes, as well as various spices and herbs.
Jamaican traditional dish 'Ackee and saltfish' and callaloo'Ackee and saltfish' and callaloo
  • Callaloo: side dish made with sautéed leafy green vegetables such as amaranth or taro or water spinach
  • Jerk: made with chicken, pork or beef meat. Jerk is made with special spices such as garlic, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and pepper. 
  • Run dun: 'run down' is a fish stew made with onion, tomatoes, peppers and served most often with green bananas
  • Bammy: deep fried slices of cassava, that have been dipped in coconut milk. Most often served with callaloo.
  • Banana bread: sweet treat made with nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger and of course, ripe bananas
  • Toto: small coconut cake, typical Jamaican dessert

Jamaica Facts | Animals

Jamaica's national bird is the red-billed streamertail, a hummingbird. Three of the four indigenous hummingbird species of Jamaica are only found here.

Red billed streamer bird - Jamaican national birdRed billed streamer bird - Jamaican national bird

Wild boar and the small mongoos are also common animal species in Jamaica. Jamaica is also home to the Amazonian giant centipede, the world's largest centipede. 

Popular Pages

Useful Resources for Jamaica Facts

  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Jamaica." World Fact Book. Last updated 10 September 2020. Last accessed 23 September 2020
  • Kylie Morrow. "44 Irresistible Foods & Drinks You Must Try When In Jamaica." Beaches.com. 18 March 2020. Last accessed 25 September 2020

Images on Jamaica facts page: shutterstock.com and own images; header images by byvalet/shutterstock.com

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