The Indigenous People Taino History Essay

Jamaica is one of the islands in the Caribbean Sea. It’s East to Mexico and South to the United States. It’s the third largest island and the largest English-speaking country in the Caribbean. Jamaica’s location is near Cuba and the island of Hispaniola. The capital of Jamaica is Kingston. It’s also the largest city both in size and population. Jamaica has an area of 10,991 km2. It has a population of 2,889,187 inhabitants.

Jamaica is an independent nation. It was the first country of the Caribbean that gained independence.

English is the official language in Jamaica. Creole is an English-African dialect that is used all over the island. It’s also called Jamaican patois. It’s not a written language. Many Jamaicans can speak Spanish. Many of the habitants are descendants of the Spanish colonist. The habitants have a rhythmic and melodic intonation.


The indigenous people, Arawak – also called Taino- settled on the island in between 4000 and 1000 BC. They came from South-America.

Christopher Columbus discovered the island on 14 May 1494. He named the island Santiago (Saint-James), but the name wasn’t used by the original inhabitants. They called the island for Xaymaca, which later became Jamaica.

Columbus claimed the island for the Spain. From 1509, the island was under Spanish rule, until the British took it from them in 1655. During this period, the aborigines were enslaved by the Spaniards. Some people were sent to Spain as slaves. Those who remained worked as slaves on the island or got killed.

When France exiled the Jews from their country in 1394, many fled to the New World. Jamaica became a refuge for the Jews by 1660. They arrived after Columbus settled on the island.

In 1660, the majority of the population was white people, but by early 1670s, the black’s number increased, due to the slave imports.

The British invaded Jamaica in 1665. After freeing their slaves, the Spanish colonist fled. The slaves escaped to the mountains. These people were called the Jamaican Maroons. They lived in peace and freedom in the mountains for several generations.

In 1807, the British imported Indian and Chinese slaves to produce sugar. The slaves’ descendants still lives in Jamaica today.

Jamaica gradually gained their independence from the British. In 1958 the island joined other colonies of the British in the Caribbean and formed the Federation of West Indies. Jamaica finally became fully independent from Britain on 6 August 1962, when they left the Federation.

Two political parties where formed not long after that and the first election of a Prime Minister where held. Jamaica’s economy grew stronger after that. The island opened up to the rest of the world and tourism grew.


Jamaica is a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy. The head of the state is Queen Elizabeth II, but she does not rule the country. She appoints a governor general, who represents her. The monarch, along with the governor general serves ceremonial roles.

The head of the government, the Prime Minister, is elected by the citizens of Jamaica. He is the one taking important decisions when it comes to ruling the country. The monarch gets aided by him when it’s time to choose a new governor general. The Prime Minister nominates a candidate, and it’s up to the monarch to appoint the governor general.

The parliament is built up like the British Parliament. It’s made up of a Senate of 21 members and a House of Representatives that consist of 60 members.


Christianity is the main religion in Jamaica. The Anglican Church and Church of God are the most practiced. There are also other variations of Christianity practiced in Jamaica, such as Seventh-day Adventist, Baptist, Roman Catholic and Pentecostal. Another religion is Rastafarianism, a religion influenced by African spirituality. Buddhism, Hinduism, Baha’i and Jehovah’s witnesses are other major religions in Jamaica.

Obeahism is a form of Voodoo that is used in Jamaica. It’s rarely heard of. The Obeah man’s role is the guide evil souls to bring good or bad fortune, using black magic. Practicing of Obeahism is a considered a crime in Jamaica, but the people still use it and risks to be imprisoned.


The majority of the population is people with colored skin and comes from many different places in the world.

Jamaican food is influenced by different cultures and ethnic groups that settled down on the island: Taino, Spanish, Indian, English and Chinese. The food is usually strong and spicy.

Music is important in Jamaica. The Jamaican music is known all over the world, thanks to Bob Marley and other great Jamaican musicians. The most popular type of music is reggae. The melody is catchy and easy to enjoy, a reason why it’s so popular worldwide. There is many more style of music. Jamaican folk music has been influenced by many cultures over the years. The biggest influence on the Jamaican music is African music.

Another type of Jamaican music is the religious music. It is a type of music influenced by the smaller religions on the island: Kumina, Pocomania and Rastafari. There’s a lot of drumming and chanting. The songs also have vocal and other instruments. They are often performed at vigils and services.

Along with the music comes dance. The Jamaican people are known for their passion for dance. Some popular dances on the island are the jonkonnu, a dance performed at Christmas time by slaves, and “ska”. Similar to the music, the type of dances in Jamaica are influenced by many different cultures.

Other facts

The national drink of Jamaica is rum. There are several famous people from Jamaica, such as Usain Bolt, Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Sean Paul and Lennox Lewis.


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