The people of Jamaica possess a genuine warmth and hospitality that you will be hard pressed to find anywhere else in the world. In addition to the breathtaking scenery and the warm tropical climate, no wonder why throngs of visitors return year after year to the shores of this tropical paradise.
Jamaicans have a friendly, carefree attitude and are some of the most accommodating people you can find. Because of their natural friendliness, they enjoy interacting with tourists and sharing what they know about Jamaica... adding another dimension to any visitor's vacation experience.
The Jamaican national motto is...
"Out of Many, One People"
...and it accurately describes the people of Jamaica.
According to the CIA World Factbook, Jamaica's population is 2,780,132 (July 2007 est.) Approximately 90% are of black ethnicity and Christianity is the dominant religion.
But don't be fooled.
Jamaica and Jamaicans today are the result of a racial and cultural mix caused by European colonizers, African slaves and indentured labourers. Imagine the eclectic mix! (You may actually find a few Chinese Scotsmen and Indian Africans!)
Over the centuries people came to the island by one way or another and today there are small communities of Indians, Chinese, Arabs, and Europeans living in Jamaica. The wonderful reality though is the fact that all races represented here coexist in harmony.
As a matter of fact, some visitors may be somewhat taken aback by the way Jamaicans often refer to one another. You may often hear someone being referred to as "Blacka", or "Indian" or "Cooloie or "Miss Chin/Mr. Chin" or "Browning/Brown Man", "Whitey" or even "Redman". And all this is taken in stride and without any hint of discrimination.
Jamaicans are a proud, resilient and strong people. We are a small country but we are not easily intimidated... and our influence is sometimes felt globally.
Think I'm kidding?
Just ask our sportsmen, sportswomen and our musicians who have collectively created millions of fans worldwide.
Here's a prime example of the type of people Jamaicans are...
Jamaica was in the forefront of the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa. In 1957, while still a colony of Britain, Jamaica was the first country to declare a trade embargo against South Africa. Being a colony, Jamaica didn't even have responsibility for its external relations!
A common saying in Jamaica is "Wi likkle but wi tallawah" meaning "we're a small nation but we're strong-willed, we're determined and we refuse to be restrained by the boundaries of our small island".
And guess what?
We the people of Jamaica believe it.