Today August 6th, Jamaica celebrates 50 years of independence from British rule, having gained independence on this day in 1962.
Jamaica (i/dʒəˈmeɪkə/), officially the Commonwealth of Jamaica, is the 4th largest island nation of the Greater Antilles, 234 kilometres (145 mi) in length, up to 80 kilometres (50 mi) in width, and 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Jamaica is the 5th largest island country in the Caribbean. The indigenous Arawakan-speaking Taíno name for the island was Xaymaca, meaning the “Land of Wood and Water” or the “Land of Springs”.
Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, it became an English colony in 1655 under the name Jamaica. It achieved full independence from Britain on August 6, 1962. With 2.8 million people, it is the third most populous Anglophone country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada. It remains a Commonwealth realm in concert with the Monarchy of Jamaica holding ultimate executive power, where Queen Elizabeth II is the current head of state and Queen of Jamaica. The head of government and Prime Minister of Jamaica is currently Portia Simpson-Miller, who holds full legislative power of the country. Kingston is the country’s largest city, with a population of 937,700, and its capital. Jamaica has a large diaspora around the world consisting of Jamaican citizens migrating from the country. The island has come to acclaim for hits indigenous reggae music, tasty dishes including Jerk and of course its athletes especially Usain St. Leo Bolt who is the the Olympic 100m champion two games in a row!
Famous Jamaicans include actress Sheryl Lee Ralphy, reggae legend Bob Marley, athletes Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell, Yohan Blake, Shelly Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell Brown, politicians Michael Manley, stylist Misa Hylton-Brim, pop star Sean Kingston,, producer Tony Kelly, songwriter/coach Claude Kelly, philanthropists Shaggy and many many more!
NICKNAME: Land of wood and water
MOTTO: Out of Many One People
ANTHEM: Jamaica Land We Love
NATIONAL FLOWER: Lignum vitae (Guiacum officinale)
NATIONAL BIRD: Red-billed Streamertail (aka Doctor Bird
NATIONAL TREE: Blue Mahoe (Hibiscus talipariti elatum)
NATIONAL DISH: Ackee and saltfish
AIRPORT: Norman Manley International (Kingston) | Sangster International (Montego Bay)
DRIVES ON THE: left
CURRENCY: JamaicanDollar (JCD)
AREA CODE: 876
INTERNET TLD: .jm
CELEBRATES CARNIVAL IN: April