Culture of Jamaica

Topics: Jamaica, Caribbean, Culture of Jamaica Pages: 3 (1010 words) Published: December 6, 2013

Jamaica is an island located in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba. It is one of the Greater Antilles. The first settlers of Jamaica called the land “Xaymaca” which means “Land of springs” (Pillai, 2013). It is said that this is where the name of the country came from. Jamaica is known for many things like its beaches, wildlife, and reggae music. Jamaica has a mix of people from different races, religions, and countries so its culture is varied.

Christopher Columbus discovered Jamaica in 1494, but people have in habited the island for thousands of years before. The Arawaks and Tainos are said to be the first tribes to settle on the island, between 4000 B.C. AND 1000 B.C. (Pillai, 2013). From 1494 to 1655, Jamaica was a Spanish colony. It was a British colony from 1655 to 1962. Jamaica was granted a new constitution in 1944 and gained universal suffrage. The country gained independence August 6, 1962 (Purcell, 2013).

The population of Jamaica is 2,909,714 (FindTheData, 2013). 16.5% of the population lives below the poverty line. Africans make up most of the Jamaican population. After Africans, many of the Jamaicans are multiracial and from Indian or Chinese decent (Pillai, 2013). English is the official language of Jamaica (Purcell, 2013). Jamaican Patois is the de facto national language of Jamaica, which is a Creole language (Pillai, 2013). It is the most commonly spoken language in the country.

Many religions are practiced in Jamaica. Tainos, the first settlers, worshipped forces of nature like plants and animals. They believed in the God Yucahu and Goddess Atabey. They also worshipped good and evil spirits to prevent natural disasters (Pillai, 2013). Christianity made its way to the island with the colonizers. About 80% of Jamaicans are Christians. Rastafari developed in the 1920s in Jamaica. It is a “blend of Old Testament Christian faith, mystic beliefs, and African fundamentalist ideology.” The Rastas keep their hair long...

Bibliography: FindTheData. (2013, October 23). Retrieved from Jamaica World Country Facts: http://country-facts.findthedata.org/l/184/Jamaica
Pillai, P. (2013, February 8). Jamaican People: Traditions, Art, and Culture. Retrieved from Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/jamaican-people-traditions-art-and-culture.html
Purcell, T. W. (2013). Culture of Jamaica. Retrieved from Countries and Their Cultures: http://www.everyculture.com/Ja-Ma/Jamaica.html
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