From Our Commons Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Jamaica is a tiny island situated in the Caribbean Sea, south from Cuba and west Hispaniola, around 10990 kilometres. Within the Caribbean, it is fifth largest island, having a population of around 2,900,000.

Original Inhabitants& Discovery The original inhabitants of Jamaica are the Arawak’s that came from South America 2,500 years ago and named the island Xayamca… Land of wood and water. The Arawak’s were simple people and they were light brown, short and well-shaped with coarse hair and broad faces. On the island, they grew sweet potatoes, corn, cotton, cassava, vegetables, and tobacco. Tobacco was largely grown, as smoking was popular. Most of them settled on the coasts, near rivers in which they used to get food. However, they also built their own villages all over the island. The Arawak’s led a peaceful life until they were destroyed by the Spaniards, years after Christopher Columbus discovered the island, in 1494. Christopher Columbus, the European explorer, landed in Jamaican on May 5th 1994, and after claimed Jamaica for Spain. This occurred on his second travels to the West Indies. His landing point was Discovery Bay, originally known as Dry Harbour.


Jamaican cuisine includes different cooking techniques, spices, flavours and influences from the people on the island, and the British, Spanish, Africans, Indians and Chinese, who inhabited the island. In addition, crops that were introduced into the island from Southeast Asia influence the cuisine. Popular dishes include fried dumplings, ackee and saltfish, curry goat, rice and peas, fried plantain, steamed cabbage and jerk. Jamaican patties and pastries are popular also as well as Jamaican rum and fruit beverages. The first European arrivals to the island, the Spanish, contributed dishes such as escovitched fish. Later the Hakkainfluenced the development of the Jamaican patty, an empanada styled turnover filled with spiced meat or vegetables.


The music of Jamaica includes Jamaican folk music and genres such as reggae, dancehall, dub and mento and other related styles. The music culture is a fusion of elements from the USA, neighbouring Caribbean islands such as Trinidad and Tobago and Africa. Reggae is popular through the worldwide fame of Bob Marley. Whilst British genres such as jungle music and lovers rock are influenced by Jamaican music.

Dancehall is one of the most popular genres, played worldwide. It originated in the late 1970s and was a sparser version of reggae that was created by DJ spinning songs on beats produce by a different artists. Dancehall then became Jamaican popular music with YellowMan and Eak-a-mouse being Dancehalls earliest successful artists. Dancehall brought a new generation of producers, such as Gussie Clarke, Linval Thompson, and Jah Thomas. In the early 1990s songs by Shabba Ranks and Patra were the first dancehall hits in the US and abroad. In addition, during the mid- late 1990s, other varieties of dancehall achieved success outside of Jamaica. The early 2000 saw the success of newer artists such as Rihanna, Sean Paul, Elephant Man., and Vybz Kartel


Patois comes from French origin meaning “rough speech”. The language began to develop in the 1600s with the slave trade. The mix of European cultures and African, created the creole and in order for the slaves to communicate with each other, they had to learn the pidgin. The children learned pidgin from their parents as their first language so it then evolved from pidgin to creole.

Jamaican patois known as Jamaican creole and sometimes called a bastardization of English, is an English based creole language with influence from West Africa, spoken in Jamaica primarily. The language developed in the 17th century, when the slaves from central and West Africa were learned, exposed to and nativized the dialectal and vernacular forms of English spoken. Jamaican vocabulary and pronunciation are different from English, despite heavy use of derivatives or English words. The language reflects the struggles of ancestry and slavery from Africa as well as the European colonization.


Brayde Simpson thought in order for people to understand the Jamaican creole, a short video would be helpful.