The Jamaica Portal

Location of Jamaica

Jamaica (/əˈmkə/ (listen); Jamaican Patois: Jumieka) is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola). Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola (the island containing the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic); the British Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands lies some 215 kilometres (134 mi) to the north-west.

With 2.9 million people, Jamaica is the third-most populous Anglophone country in the Americas (after the United States and Canada), and the fourth-most populous country in the Caribbean. Kingston is the country's capital and largest city. The majority of Jamaicans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, with significant European, East Asian (primarily Chinese), Indian, Lebanese, and mixed-race minorities. Due to a high rate of emigration for work since the 1960s, there is a large Jamaican diaspora, particularly in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The country has a global influence that belies its small size; it was the birthplace of the Rastafari religion, reggae music (and associated genres such as dub, ska and dancehall), and it is internationally prominent in sports, most notably cricket, sprinting and athletics. Having punched so highly above its weight, Jamaica is often considered the world’s least populous cultural superpower. (Full article...)

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View of Ocho Rios

Ocho Rios (Spanish for "Eight Rivers") is a town in the parish of Saint Ann on the north coast of Jamaica, and is more widely referred to as Ochi by locals. Beginning as a sleepy fishing village, Ocho Rios has seen explosive growth in the last decade to become a popular tourist destination featuring duty-free shopping, a cruise-ship terminal, world-renowned tourist attractions and several beaches and acclaimed resorts. In addition to being a port of call for cruise ships, Ocho Rios also hosts cargo ships at the Reynolds Pier for the exportation of sugar, limestone, and in the past, bauxite. The estimated population of the town in 2011 was 16,671, which is nearly 10% of the total population of St. Ann. The town is served by both Sangster International Airport (97 km west of Ocho Rios) and Ian Fleming International Airport (17 km east of Ocho Rios). Scuba diving and other water sports are offered in the town's vicinity.

The name "Ocho Rios" is a possible misnomer, as there are not currently eight rivers in the area. It could be a British corruption of the original Spanish name "Las Chorreras" ("the waterfalls"), a name given to the village because of the nearby Dunn's River Falls. (Full article...)
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Holness in 2020

Andrew Michael Holness, ON PC (born 22 July 1972) is a Jamaican politician who has been the Prime Minister of Jamaica since 3 March 2016, following the 2016 Jamaican general election. Holness previously served as prime minister from October 2011 to 5 January 2012. He succeeded Bruce Golding as prime minister, and decided to go to the polls in the 29 December 2011 general election in an attempt to get his own mandate from the Jamaican electorate. He failed in that bid, however, losing to the People's National Party led by Portia Simpson-Miller, with the PNP gaining 42 seats to the Jamaica Labour Party's 21. Following that defeat, Holness served as Leader of the Opposition from January 2012 to March 2016, when he once again assumed the position of prime minister. In 2020, The Labour Party won a landslide in another general election, and on 7 September Holness was sworn in for another term as prime minister.

Holness is the youngest person to have been elected and reelected prime minister in Jamaica's history. He is also the first prime minister to have been born after Jamaica gained independence in 1962. (Full article...)

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Maymie de Mena (December 10, 1879 – October 23, 1953, also known as Maymie Aiken or Madame DeMena Aiken in her later career) was an American-born activist who became one of the highest-ranking officers in the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She has been credited with keeping the organization alive after Marcus Garvey's conviction for mail fraud and deportation from the United States.

De Mena was born into a Creole family in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, and obtained her education in the United States before marrying a Nicaraguan and moving to Central America. After a decade in which she raised a daughter and taught school, she divorced, returned to the U.S., and joined the UNIA. Quickly rising in the ranks from a translator, because she was fluent in Spanish, de Mena became one of the leaders of the pan-African movement. She was responsible for increasing the membership of the organization in the Caribbean and Latin America. When Garvey was deported from the U.S. to Jamaica, de Mena became Garvey's official representative in New York and was the first woman to carry such a high distinction in the organization. (Full article...)

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Buju Banton performing at New York's Apollo theater during the 26th International Reggae & World Music Awards
Credit: Gregg
Buju Banton performing at New York's Apollo Theater during the 26th International Reggae & World Music Awards, 2007

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Authentic Jamaican Jerk Chicken

Jerk is a style of cooking native to Jamaica, in which meat is dry-rubbed or wet marinated with a hot spice mixture called Jamaican jerk spice.

The art of jerking (or cooking with jerk spice) originated with Amerindians in Jamaica from the Arawak and Taíno tribes who intermingled with the Maroons. (Full article...)

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  • ...that on the flag of Jamaica, black symbolises the strength and creativity of the Jamaican people, gold represents sunlight and the country's natural wealth and green represents hope for the future and agricultural richness?

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