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The original inhabitants of Jamaica were the indigenous Taíno, an Arawak-speaking people who began arriving on Hispaniola by canoe from the Belize and the Yucatan peninsula sometime before 2000 BCE. From there they colonized the large islands like Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean in conjunction with waves of indigenous people who had also sailed up from the Orinoco/Amazon region of South America. The name Jamaica is derived from Xaymaca, the Taíno-Arawak name for the island, which translates, as ‘isle of springs’.

The original inhabitants of Jamaica, 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.

Jamaica is the third largest island of the Greater Antilles chain. It is located south of Cuba in the Caribbean Sea. The total land area is 10,991 sq km.

Jamaica has produced many talented athletes, especially in track & field where athletes such as Usain Bolt, Johan Blake and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce have taken the world by storm.

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.

Speaking of sports, the Manchester Golf Club in Jamaica was established in 1868 and is the oldest golf club in the western hemisphere.

How many of these facts did you know? Think of all that is left to discover.

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