• population: majority African, some East Indians, Europeans, and Chinese. 
  • history: Discovered by Columbus in 1494, Jamaica was a Spanish settlement until it was captured by the British in 1655
  • the Moroon--To the safety of the impenetrable hills (e.g. Blue Mountains), bands of former slaves fled, after they were freed

  • and armed by the Spanish to fight the English when they seized the island in 1655. The Maroons, as they became known, founded a community and underground state that would fight a guerrilla war against the English settlers on and off for nearly eighty years. 
  • Jamaica prospered during the 1700's.  Sugar became the major crop, and the island ranked as the most important slave market in the Western Hemisphere.
  •    Full internal self-government came in 1959, within the West Indies Federation, and full independence with the British Commonwealth in 1962.
  • Since 1960's, Jamaica has faced many problems, including inflation, unemployment, and poverty.  Many Jamaicans became dissatisfied, and their discontent sometimes let to riots and violent crime.  . . . Michael Manley of the People's National Party was elected prime minister of Jamaica in 1972.  He sought to solve the economic problems by adopting socialistic policies.   The next prime minister was Edward Seaga of the Jamaican Labor Party. 
  • World Book V11: 23
     Jamaica: A short History: history offered by Island with pictures.


  • People: 90% of African descent.

a  ghetto in Kingston 《國家與人民》p. 172
"In the ghetto, where discontent was ever-present, the ideas of such black nationalists as the Jamaican born Marcus Garvey were gaining momentum.  Conventional social democracy had not improved the lot of the sufferers in the ghetto. Garveyism, whose potency had been sharpened by the American Black Power ideology of the Sixties,  was combining with Rastafarianism; it seemed to offer a viable alternative to what was widely  perceived as the corrupt system of Babylon." (from The Story of Jamaican Music)  

 Marcus Garvey--the first prophet of black self determination in the 1920s, founded the Black Star shipping line, intended to transport descendants of slaves back to Africa.  


Authors: Derek Walcott  (Jamaica-U.S.),  Michelle Cliff (Jamaica-U.S.)