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Facts about Jamaica for Kids


  • Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea, comprising the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles.
  • The island, 4,240 sq mi in area, lies about 90 mi south of Cuba, and 119 mi west of Hispaniola, the island containing the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
  • Jamaica is the fifth-largest island country in the Caribbean.
  • It achieved full independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962.
  • Kingston is the country’s largest city and its capital, with a population of 937,700.
  • Jamaica is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with legislative power vested in the bicameral Parliament of Jamaica, consisting of an appointed Senate and a directly elected House of Representatives.
  • The Jamaican National Heritage Trust is attempting to locate and document any evidence of the Taino/Arawaks.
  • One mile west of St. Ann’s Bay is the site of the first Spanish settlement on the island, Sevilla, which was established in 1509 and abandoned around 1524 because it was deemed unhealthy.
  • The name of Montego Bay, the capital of the parish of St. James, was derived from the Spanish name manteca bahía (or Bay of Lard), alluding to the lard-making industry based on processing the numerous boars in the area.
  • After the British took over rule of Jamaica, the Jews decided the best defense against Spain’s regaining control was to encourage making the colony a base for Caribbean pirates.
  • The slaves dispersed into the mountains, joining the maroons, those who had previously escaped from the Spanish to live with the Taínos.
  • During the long centuries of slavery, Maroons established free communities in the mountainous interior of Jamaica, where they maintained their freedom and independence for generations.
  • Following a series of rebellions on the island and changing attitudes in Great Britain, the British government formally abolished slavery by an 1833 act, beginning in 1834, with full emancipation from chattel slavery declared in 1838.
  • Strong economic growth, averaging approximately 6% per annum, marked the first ten years of independence under conservative governments; they were led successively by Prime Ministers Alexander Bustamante, Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer.
  • Due to rising foreign and local debt, accompanied by large fiscal deficits, the government sought International Monetary Fund (IMF) financing from the United States and others.
  • The governor-general is nominated by the Prime Minister of Jamaica and the entire Cabinet and appointed by the monarch.
  • The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) comprises an infantry Regiment and Reserve Corps, an Air Wing, a Coast Guard fleet and a supporting Engineering Unit.
  • In Jamaica involvement in athletics begins at a very young age and most high schools maintain rigorous athletics programs with their top athletes competing in national competitions and international meets .
  • Major sectors of the Jamaican economy include agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, and financial and insurance services.
  • The transport infrastructure in Jamaica consists of roadways, railways and air transport, with roadways forming the backbone of the island’s internal transport system.
  • Jamaica produces enormous quantities of hydrous ethanol (5% water content), most of which appears to be consumed as beverages, and none of it used as motor fuel.