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Fun Facts and World Records About Jamaica | Sports, Music, Culture and More!

by Sheree-Anita Shearer | Associate Writer



Jamaicans are known for their confidence and patriotism wherever they are in the world. We are a very proud people – proud of ourselves, our country and countrymen. After reading this list I think you’ll be inclined to agree. Here are some exciting facts about Jamaica.

MUSIC

  1. Let’s start off easy. Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae legend Robert (“Bob”) Marley who, along with the Wailers holds the world record for the most successful Reggae artistes in history. Their 1984 album, Legend – “The Best of Bob Marley & The Wailers”, is the biggest-selling reggae album of all time.

  2. Reggae group Black Uhuru won the first Grammy for Best Reggae Recording in 1985.

  3. Since the Reggae category was created in 1985, it has been won by a Jamaican artiste or group 34 of the 37 times. The top winners are Jimmy Cliff, Bunny Wailer, Ziggy Marley, Junior Gong Marley, Stephen Marley, Peter Tosh, Beenie Man and Shaggy. Shaggy also won for his collaborative project with Sting “44/876” in 2019. In 2020, Koffee won, becoming the youngest reggae artiste and first female to ever win in the category.

SPORTS

  1. Jamaica is the first team from the English-speaking Caribbean to qualify for the Football (Soccer) World Cup. This was the 1998 championship. Jamaica played and won against Croatia and Japan. However, the team lost to Argentina. Unfortunately, Jamaica was third in group standings and failed to advance to the next round. Not to be outdone, the Women's Football team became the first in the Caribbean region to enter the Women's world cup in 2019. This makes Jamaica the only Caribbean country with both a men and women team to have gone to the world cup!

  2. Jamaica has been the homeland of the fastest men alive since 2006! This started with Asafa Powell(9.77s) and then to Usain Bolt(9.58s). The women are equally as fast with Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce (10.60) and Elaine Thompson-Herah (10.54) being the second and third fastest women in history. Thompson-Herah is now the fastest woman alive after her stellar performance at both the Tokyo, Olympics and the Diamond League meets in 2021.

  3. Jamaica was the first tropical country to enter the IOC Winter Olympics. The bob sleigh team’s efforts inspired the film ‘Cool Runnings’.

  4. The most goals scored in a netball ANZ Championship match by an individual is 65 and was achieved by Jhaniele Fowler-Reid a member of Jamaica’s national team while playing overseas for New Zealand’s Southern Steel.

  5. When Jamaican boxer, Alicia ‘Slick’ Ashley defeated Christina McMahon on October 29th, 2015 in New York, she became the oldest female boxing world champion at 48 years and 67 days old.

  6. The fastest swim short course 100 metres breaststroke by a female was completed by Alia Atkinson of Jamaica on two occasions; once at the FINA World Swimming Championships in Doha, Qatar, on 6 December 2014, and again at the FINA World Cup event in Chartres, France, on 26 August 2016.

  7. Jamaican born, West Indian cricketer, Chris Gayle is the first to ever hit a 6 from the first ball in a test match when he swatted Bangladesh paceman Sohag Gazi over the boundary rope from the first delivery of the test match between the two teams in Mirpur, Bangladesh, on 13 November 2012.

  8. Chris Gayle made history again with the fastest century ever made on April 23, 2013. While playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, he made 100 runs off just 30 balls. His eventual score of 175 not out was the highest score by a player in a Twenty20 innings with 13 fours and 17 sixes! The team’s overall score was 263 for 5 in their 20 overs, the highest team score in a Twenty20 inning, and they won the contest by 130 runs.

HISTORY & CULTURE

  1. Jamaica, being arguably the most Christian country in the world, has the most churches per square mile of any country in the world. There are over 1,600 churches all over Jamaica and this doesn’t even account for the several backyards and living room churches held every week. This number is ever growing.

  2. Jamaica is the country with the fourth highest number of Miss World titles. The only countries with more Miss World titles are India, Venezuela and the UK. A remarkable achievement for such a tiny country isn’t it?

  3. Jamaica was the first colony England acquired by conquest. This was in the year 1655 when the Spanish were driven from the island.

  4. 80% of Jamaica’s coffee produce goes to Japan. Being one of the rarest and most sought after coffees in the world, Jamaica’s Blue Mountain Coffee is consistently ranked among the top 10 best coffees in the world. It is also one of the smallest coffee productions in the world which makes it quite a pricey commodity, especially for those living outside of Jamaica.

  5. Jamaica's flag is one of two (the other being Nepal) that does not share the colours of the United States'.

WILDLIFE

  1. The Jamaican Giant Swallowtail is the second largest in the world and the largest in the Americas. They can grow up to 3 inches with an average wingspan of 6 inches. These majestic creatures are dark with yellow or blue spots and arrows.

  2. Hellshire Hills, Jamaica is home to the rarest lizard in the world. The Jamaican Iguana is a critically endangered species that was only rediscovered in 1990. There are only 100 adult specimens in existence.

  3. The smallest egg laid by any bird is that of the Vervain Hummingbird of Jamaica.

HEALTH

  1. Jamaica has recorded more multiple live births than any other country in the world!

  2. Jamaica was the first country to sign a Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria grant agreement.

  3. Violet Brown, Supercentenarian, is the 7th oldest person in the world and one of two people who were born in the 19th Century before her death in 2017. Born March 10th 1900 she was the last known subject of Queen Victoria prior to her death. Her oldest son was the oldest recorded person with a living parent before his death at 97 years old.

SCIENCE, INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATION

  1. Jamaica had electricity in 1893, long before most of the United States. In 1893, electricity was delivered to what is now the Waterloo Guest House, the first private residence in Jamaica to receive electricity.

  2. Falmouth had running water before New York City. The town of Falmouth received water in 1799 some 43 years before the Big Apple.

  3. Jamaica had phone cards before the United States and the phone system was so well established that it was adopted by AT&T.

  4. In 1994, Jamaica became the first Caribbean country to launch a website. www.jamaicatravel.com, in 1994. It was then changed to https://www.visitjamaica.com/.

  5. Jamaica was the first British colony to establish a postal service. This was established in 1688.

TRANSPORTATION

  1. Jamaica was the first country in the Western world to construct a railway, even before the United States. This was constructed in 1845, only 20 years after Britain. Railway transportation ceased in 1992 and have since then only been used by private industrial companies. There was an attempt in 2011 to reopen the railway as a means of public transport but it proved inefficient.

EDUCATION

  1. The Rotary Club of Jamaica’s Kingston Chapter donated 657,061 books from May 1st to 10th 2010, making it the most books donated to charity in seven days. The books were distributed primarily to the Jamaica Library Service and also to schools in the area from kindergarten through to the high school level.

How many did you already know? Be sure to share them with us too!

I also recommend you read 5 Amazing Facts & Insightful Information On Jamaica.

Regards,
SS

References:

  • “Jamaica” Guinness Book of World Records, https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/search?term=jamaica&page=1&type=all&max=50&partial=_Results&
  • “Tidbits About Jamaica”, Canadian Chapter of CBTU, http://cbtu.ca/2010/12/tidbits-about-jamaica/


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A patriotic Jamaican who adore its culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.  

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