Jamaica is like a woman with a past, present and future. The Original inhabitants of Jamaica are believed to be the Arawaks also called Tainos who arrived from South America 2,500 years ago. Initially the Island was named Xaymaca meaning “land of wood and water”. Living off the land during this time they grew cassava, sweet potatoes, maize (corn), fruits, vegetables, cotton and tobacco.
On Christopher Columbus' travels to the new world for a second time he heard about Jamaica then called Xaymaca. Which the Cubans described as “the land of blessed gold”. Which you could imagine when Christopher Columbus came, he imagined an island of gold and riches. He was sure to find out that there was no gold in that region.
The Spanish ruled over Jamaica from 1509 to 1655, then be colonised by the British and was under their rule for as long as 307 years. An Island that had been through so many trials and tribulations; from being extorted for its lands, sugar cane and cotton. Now finally broken from the shackles of slavery to have its own identity.
The 6th August 1962 was the beginning of a new era. As Founding members of The Federation of the West Indies in 1961, under Norman Manley Chief Minister, Jamaica decided to withdraw from the Foundation. Following that year, the Union Jack flag was lowered at midnight and the Jamaican Flag was raised throughout the country.
The festivities and celebrations were so profound that many people from that day remember, feeling a sense of release and belief that the country would be embarking on a new path… and they were right…
The innovation of Jamaica has bought many legends through history like Bob Marley and Greggory Isaac. To modern-day artists like Sean Paul and Vybz Kartel. With all the culture and traditions surrounding Jamaica, like the Rastafarian religion it is not short of personality and flare.
From an Island at a period that was repressed many years ago to now being one of the most influential places for food, such as Jerk Pork and the infamous Scotch bonnet chilli, and music like Dancehall and reggae. Jamaica is also one of the biggest suppliers of Rum in the world.
I can truly say Jamaica will continue to push barriers and remind everyone to never forget where you came from because it contributes to who you are.
By Mara Mullings