Official Name: Jamaica
Size:4,411 square miles. Slightly smaller than the state of Connecticut in the U.S.
Width: 22-51 miles
Population: 2,605,800 (July 2000 estimate).
Population of a few selected cities:Kingston, 800,000; Montego Bay, 82,000; Mandeville, 13,681; Port Antonio, 10,426; Ocho Rios, 5,851; Negril, 1,166
Annual population growth rate:0.46%
1. Small Snake Population
There are very few snakes on the island of Jamaica. The mongoose was imported to Jamaica to rid the cane fields of rats in 1872. As an added benefit, the mongoose has killed off almost the entire population of snakes. So running across a snake is a rare occurrence in Jamaica.
African slaves imported to Jamaica brought their own form of religion, Obeahism. Obeahism is a form of voodoo that is still practiced on the island. However, it is kept quiet, since the practice of Obeahism is punishable by death. People who practice this form of voodoo believe that the Obeah man can use evil spirits to bring good or bad luck to others.
3. Foreign Crops
The original inhabitants of Jamaica, the Arawak, grew corn and yams. Today, the major crops of Jamaica include sugar cane, bananas, and mangoes. None of these crops are native to the island; they were imported to the island at varying times in the island’s history. Coconut Palms, breadfruit, and bamboo were also imported to the island.
4. Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum
Rum is the national drink of Jamaica. Here rum is mixed with just about any other beverage. Try rum and coconut water for a very special island drink.
5. Bond, James Bond
British writer, Ian Fleming is famous for his 007 James Bond character. After designing his dream home, Ian Fleming choose to have it built in Jamaica and name it Goldeneye. In Jamaica, he wrote ten of his world renowned James Bond spy thrillers.
6. Olympic Winners
In 1988, Jamaica became the first tropical country to enter a Winter Olympic event. It was the bobsled event. The movie, Cool Runnings, tells the story of the Jamaica’s first foray in to the Winter Olympics. Only the United States has won more Olympic and World medals than Jamaica.