There are stereotypes that simply cannot be eradicated. One of them is that
Jamaica is primarily perceived through the Jamaican rum.
The Caribbean island of Jamaica is one of the Greater Antilles, which in turn is
part of the West Indies. Originally settled by the peaceful Taíno Indians, the
island became a center of the slave trade and a pirate stronghold at the end of
the 17th century. Today it is a transit point for the drug trade from South to
North America and still has one of the highest crime rates in the world. Still,
Jamaica is a popular vacation paradise with lots of sun and clear water.
This is also where reggae originated, the most famous representative of which
was undoubtedly Bob Marley (1945-1981). The Rastafarian culture, which is
characterized by the dreadlock hairstyle, the artistically matted hair that
symbolizes a lion's mane, also originated in Jamaica. Marcus Moziah Garvey (1887
- 1940), the founder of the Rastafarians and the "Back-to-Africa" movement,
was a diviner. He prophesied a black king who would free the black people from
their oppression. Many African Americans therefore saw the former King Haile
Selassie I of Ethiopia as the Messiah.
Unfortunately, with 59 murders per 100,000 residents in 2007, the country has
the world's highest murder rate - followed by El Salvador (55), Guatemala (47)
and Venezuela (45).
|Name of the country
|Form of government
||parliamentary monarchy with the Queen of England as head of state
||Island in the Caribbean
||Jamaica, land we love
||August 6 (the country gained independence on August 6, 1962)
||about 3 million (Credit:
||approx. 76% black, 15% mulatto, 1.3% Indian, the rest among other
things European and Chinese
||approx. 60% Protestants (mainly Anglicans, Baptists and Methodists),
approx. 4% Catholics, approx. 1% Rastafari-ans, further followers of
natural religions as well as Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Bahais
||English and Patois (Creole language)
||Kingston with around 700,000 residents
||Blue Mountain Peak, 2,256 m
||Black River, approx. 70 km
||there are no lakes to speak of in Jamaica
|International license plate
|Time difference to CET
||- 6 h
|International phone code
|Mains voltage, frequency
||110 volts, 50 hertz, adapter required
|Internet TLD (Top Level Domain)
Before the year 1000
Between 600 and 900 BC Chr. Were Taíno -Indianer the tribe
of the Arawak sailed from areas of today's Venezuela and Guyana
with dugout canoes to the north and the entire Antilles and Jamaica also had
settled. They led a peaceful life and ate agriculture and fishing. In the Arawak
language, the word "Chaymaka" meant the island of springs.
From the year 1000 to the 16th century
Abbreviationfinder website, in the 15th century the Tainó besieged by the less peaceful
Caribs, who drove them from many of the Antilles islands, but not from
Jamaica. The dispute ended when the Spaniards appeared. On his second trip to
the "New World", Christopher Columbus set foot on May 5, 1494 in what is now St.
Ann's Bay as the first European on the island. On June 25, 1503, on his last
great voyage, Columbus beached his two remaining ships, the "Capitano" and the
"Santiago de Palos", which were completely eaten up by the Toredo worm, in
today's St. Ann's Bay. It was not until June 28, 1504, almost a year later, that
he and his men were saved. After his return to Spain he retired to his house in
Valladolid, where he died on May 19, 1506, completely lonely and impoverished.
In 1510 the first European settlers came to the island and established an
important trading post near "Spanish Town". In the course of the colonization of
the country, the native Indians were enslaved and treated as a kind of
"subhuman". The people, who are very close to their home, family and tribes,
often did not survive the terrible treatment. But many also fell victim to the
diseases that were brought in, against which they had little resistance. So the
native Indians died out and instead of them slaves were introduced from black
Africa, whose descendants still live in Jamaica today.
In the 17th to the 19th centuries
From 1655 the English conquered Jamaica against the bitter resistance of the
Spaniards. The armed slaves released by the Spaniards in the hope of resistance
instead withdrew to the mountains and later became the Maroons. The
English-backed pirates in the region played a special role in the clashes
between the two colonial powers. These have hijacked Spanish treasure and supply
ships for decades. Henry Morgan (1635-1688), who had his base in Port Royal, is
particularly well known. He was later knighted by the English for his "merits"
and even made governor of Jamaica.
The island was officially taken over by the British in 1670 through the Treaty
of Madrid. In 1692 an earthquake completely destroyed Port Royal, the capital of
Port Royal, which was notorious as a pirate's nest and also known as Sin
City. The Royal African Company, founded in 1672, made Jamaica one of the
world's largest slave markets.
In the 1730s and towards the end of the 18th century, the so-called Maroon Wars
took place between British troops and the Maroons. The reason was that more and
more runaway slaves overflowed to the Maroons and attacked the sugar plantations
together with them to free more slaves. The most famous leader of the Maroons
was probably the former slave Granny Nanny from the Ashanti people.
In 1831 the Christmas uprising took place near Montego Bay under the leadership
of Samuel Sharpe, which was bloodily suppressed; however, in 1834 the law to
abolish slavery was passed. In the following period cheap workers immigrated
from India, among others.
In 1865, under the leadership of Paul Bogle and George William Gordon, another
uprising of the black population broke out, which was suppressed with massive
violence. Jamaica was declared a British Crown Colony. However, the new governor
John Peter Grant initiated some reforms.
In the 20th century
During the Second World War, Jamaica signed a lease agreement with the USA
for 99 years for the construction and use of military bases. Just three years
later, in 1944, the island received its own constitution. This constitution
transferred the regulation of internal administrative acts to a freely elected
representation. Jamaica gained independence on August 6, 1962. In 1988 the
island was badly devastated by Hurricane "Gilbert".
Already since the 19th century up to the present day, masses of Jamaicans and
residents of the other Caribbean islands have been emigrating to Europe and
especially America. Emigration from Jamaica is facilitated by membership in the
Commonwealth. In total, there are now more Jamaicans living in London, Toronto
and New York than on the island itself.