The island's name, Jamaica is derived from the Arawak word Xaymaca, which means "land of wood and water" or "land of Spring." Though a small nation, Jamaican culture has a strong global presence. Despite being such a small country, Jamaica has had an incredible influence on music around the world. Jamaica is the birthplace of many significant genres, cuisine, sports and artistic innovations.
Jamaica's multi-racial population is predominantly of African, European, East Indian and Chinese heritage, and Jamaica's Motto - "Out of Many, One People" is based on these multi-racial roots.
The flag of Jamaica was adopted on August 6, 1962 (Jamaica Independence Day), the country having gained independence from the British- protected Federation of the West Indies. The earlier interpretation of the colors are: Gold - recalls the shining sun, Black - reflects warships and Green - represents the land. But, in 1996 it was changed to: Black - representing the strength and creativity of the people which allowed them to overcome difficulties, Gold - for the wealth of the country and the golden sunshine and Green - for the lush vegetation of the island, as well as hope. The change was made on the recommendation of the Committee to Examine National Symbols and National Observances appointed by the then Prime Minister the Honorable P.J. Patterson and chaired by the Honorable Professor Milton "Rex" Nettleford.
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