Jamaica: Land of Inspiration
Jamaica is full of diversity. From religion, to ancestry, and even geography, Jamaica is always evolving. From the towering mountains all the way to the warm and sandy beaches, Jamaica is a sight to see. However, Jamaica was not always a happy and carefree place. The Jamaican people have suffered from war, disease, and slavery. Jamaica is a small and beautiful country that thrives with culture and should be studied by everyone around the world.
Geography and Climate
Jamaica has a wide range of geography. The geography varies from mountains, to forests, to coastal plains, to scattered hills, and also plateaus (“History”). Although Jamaica is a small country, it is the largest island of the Commonwealth Caribbean. Along the south coast of Jamaica, there are many small islands. Jamaica lies 118 miles west of Haiti, and 90 miles south of Cuba (“Geography”). The climate varies as much as the geography. The climate at the beaches of Jamaica is going to be different than that of the mountains. At sea level, the climate is tropical. In the mountainous areas, the climate is temperate. May and October are the two wettest months of the year (“History”).
Jamaica’s history is one of war and slavery. Due to these things, it made it harder for the Jamaican people to prosper. Arawaks from South America were the first to settle in Jamaica. In 1517, the Spanish brought the first African slaves to Jamaica. When the Spanish invaded, they began to exterminate the Arawaks, but they were also wiped out by years of disease and slavery. 138 years after the first slaves were brought to Jamaica, the British seized the island and gained full control. By 1834, slavery was abolished by the British Parliament (“Jamaica”). Once slavery was out of the way, Jamaican people began to take back their lives and their country. In the 1930’s Jamaica began to gain political control on a local level (“Jamaica”). With their gain of political control, they were allowed to make more decisions as to how they wanted to run their country, and express their opinions. Their first election was held in 1944, which was a major accomplishment for the Jamaican people. Then in 1958, Jamaica joined the West Indies Federation along with nine other U.K. territories. But, because the Jamaican people had the power to vote, they withdrew three years later because the voters rejected membership. In 1962, Jamaica gained independence from Britain, becoming their own country (“Jamaica Background”).
Religion, ancestry, and cuisine are all major parts of Jamaica’s culture. Most of Jamaica’s population consists of people of West African ancestry. 1.3 percent of people in Jamaica are West Indian (Witherbee). Another portion of Jamaica’s population are those who came to Jamaica very early from South America. Because there were so many types of people coming to Jamaica, religion was heavily influenced. Rastafarianism is practiced throughout Jamaica. It is a mixture...