History Of Jamaica - The People
Jamaica’s motto is ‘Out of Many One People’
Jamaicans are said to be some of the friendliest people in the world. Although we are well known for our awe-inspiring mountains and beautiful beaches, it is the kind and friendly people that make our island a home away from home. Your most special moments will be when you meet the Jamaican people.
Jamaica’s motto “Out of Many One People” summarizes the melting pot of cultures of our island.
This journey began when Christopher Columbus discovered the island in 1494 and claimed it for Spain. In 1655 Admiral William Penn fought the Spaniards and captured the island for England.
The English quickly realized that the island was ideal for the growing of sugar. To grow sugar profitably, cheap labor was needed and the English planters filled this need by importing slaves from mainly West Africa. By the late 16th century Jamaica was established as a top sugar producer.
In 1834, slavery was formally abolished, but the need for cheap labour still existed. As a result the plantation owners found indentured workers, now known as ‘contract workers.’ Many of these races were English, Jews, Chinese, Indians, Lebanese, Germans, and French Creoles. They settled in different parts of the island and introduced their customs, religion and foods.
The descendants of slaves now form the majority of Jamaica’s population and the sugar plantation still influences our culture and life. Today most of the other nationalities introduced here have either inter-married or have children of mixed races.
As you move around the island on your visit, look out for the African roots along with those from the many other races that have influenced this land and understand why our motto is “Out of Many One People”.