History is the study of past events with emphasis on human activities, that is, social, economic and political practices. History of Jamaica is recorded in two forms:
Oral which is the spoken form passed by word-of-mouth from one generation to the next.
Written is that which is recorded in books, manuscripts, journals, newspapers and so on.
The Importance of history
Having knowledge of past events, individuals can objectively examine past events or provide a baseline for analysis of present and future events and situations. The history of Jamaica is very unique and colorful because of its blend with people from different ethnicities and they all have different culture, food and social practices.
The people who came
The History of Jamaica started before Columbus came into the Caribbean, the Tainos (earlier called the Arawaks) were present and they occupied two hundred sites around the island. The Tainos were said to arrive five hundred years (500 yrs) before Columbus. Today one of the historical sites of the Tainos is located in the Two Sister Cave in Portmore, St. Catherine.
The Spanish period is recorded in the history of Jamaica from 1494 – 1655; when Columbus arrived on his second voyage to the West Indies. The first Spanish settlement was establishment by Juan de Esquivel near Saint Ann’s Bay and they brought slaves from Europe and Africa. However, after the last stand at Rio Nuevo in St. Mary between the Spanish and the British, Jamaica then became a British Colony.
The beginning of the British colony was in 1655 and they brought Africans, Chinese, Indians, Germans and Jews. After the earthquake at Port Royal in 1692, there was another attempt to take back Jamaica from the British by the French but they were defeated. So Jamaica remained a British Colony until present day.
In the history of Jamaica, the British era was very interesting as they brought what was called “Plantocracy” or “Slavocracy”, which means, political under or government comprised of (or dominated by) plantation owners.
The late 1600’s to the late 1700’s Jamaica had some experiences, such as:
There was the plantation era
Jamaica was the largest importer of slave labor and also a transshipment port
Sugar made Jamaica the most jewels in the English crown
The Plantocracy – the rich planter is “king”
Life on the plantation – pain and drudgery
In the history of Jamaica, one important date was August 1, 1938; Jamaica had full freedom from slavery. The first free village as a result of this was established in Sligoville, St. Catherine.
The big date in the history of Jamaica was August 6, 1962 when Jamaica gained independence. Today, the people that came are still present in Jamaica and that rich history with different cultures is still on going. For example, The East Indian and the Chinese went into trading, Germans into trading, shipping and setting up villages and the Africans are still farmers. For much more data and information visit GetJamaica.Com.