Brief History

The original inhabitants of Jamaica were the Arawaks, who came from South America. They named the island Xaymaca, which meant “land of wood and water.” In 1494, Christopher Columbus was the first European to arrive in Jamaica. The Spaniards enslaved the Arawaks, and by 1600, they were completely wiped out by war and disease. The Spaniards brought slaves from Africa to grow sugar cane in Jamaica. In 1655, Britain took control of Jamaica and it became a British colony. By the late 1700s, it was one of the largest slave markets in the Western Hemisphere. After many uprisings, slavery was abolished in Jamaica in 1838. Jamaica became a fully independent country in 1962.

National Flag

The national flag of Jamaica has two green and black triangles separated by a diagonal cross. Black depicts the strength and creativity of the people, green symbolizes agriculture and hope, and yellow represents sunlight.


Jamaica is a mountainous island in the Caribbean Sea. It is located about 965 kilometers (600 miles) south of Miami, Florida. Jamaica has coastal beach regions, forests, hills, and mountains.



World Land Mass Ranking: 165th


Highest Mountain: Blue Mountain Peak, 2,256 m (7,402 ft)


Longest River: Rio Minho, 92 km (58 mi)

Main Languages


Jamaica Population: 2.9 million (as of 2023)

Capital City: Kingston

Capital City Population: 597,000 (as of 2023)


Jamaica has a hot, tropical climate. Jamaica has four seasons: two rainy seasons and two dry seasons. The driest month in Jamaica is February, and the wettest month is October.

Key People

Usain Bolt

Bob Marley

Louise Bennett-Coverley

Portia Simpson-Miller

  • Cuisine

    Jamaican cuisine is known for being flavorful and comforting. It is influenced by many different cultures. Some common ingredients used in Jamaican cuisine are rice, coconuts, beans, plantains, fish, chicken, and many different spices. The national dish of Jamaica is Ackee and Saltfish, which is often eaten for breakfast or brunch.

  • Sports

    Cricket is a popular sport in Jamaica, and the Jamaican national cricket team has won seven WICB Cups. Other sports that are common in Jamaica are football, netball, rugby, and water sports. Jamaica is one of the leading countries in sprinting. The current world record holder for 100m and 200m, Usain Bolt, is Jamaican.

  • Culture

    The population of Jamaica has multiracial roots, and the national motto is “Out of Many, One People.” Jamaica has an ethnically diverse population, with many different cultures and traditions. Music and traditional dance are an important part of Jamaican culture. Reggae music originated in Jamaica during the 1960s. Other aspects of Jamaican culture include pottery, literature, theater, and religion.

10 facts about Jamaica

1. The Jamaican Dollar is the monetary unit of Jamaica.
2. Ginger ale was created in Jamaica.
3. The life expectancy in Jamaica is 72 years.
4. Jamaica is the third-largest island in the Caribbean.
5. The average annual rainfall in Jamaica is 78 inches.
6. Jamaica has over 952 identified caves.
7. The doctor bird is Jamaica’s national animal.
8. Jamaica has 50 public beaches.
9. Jamaica is slightly smaller than Connecticut.
10. Over 200 orchid species grow wild in Jamaica.

Q&A Corner

1. Who were the original inhabitants of Jamaica? +
2. When did Jamaica become an independent nation? +
3. What colors make up Jamaica’s flag? +
4. What is the tallest mountain in Jamaica? +
5. Name a sport that is popular in Jamaica? +
6. What is the population of Jamaica (as of 2023)? +
7. Name a key/famous Jamaican? +
8. What is the capital city of Jamaica? +
9. Name a food that is common in Jamaica? +
10. What is Jamaica’s national motto? +