Jamaica: “nuh worries mon – everything irie”


Bob Marley – the voice of Reggae. Jamaican music has inspired the world’s music in many ways: hip hop, dance hall, reggaeton are only some of the sounds of Jamaica. Bob Marley – One Love

(note: the following is a brief excerpt of Jamaican history taken from One World Nations Online) . Little is known about the island’s early history, except that there are many traces of Arawak habitation, and that Arawaks, agriculturists who made good-quality textiles and pottery, were living there when Christopher Columbus landed on 14 May 1494, on his second American voyage of exploration. He named the island Santiago (Saint-James). However, the name was never adopted and it kept its Arawak name Xaymaca, of which ‘Jamaica’ is a corruption. Lacking gold, Jamaica was used mainly as a staging post in the scramble for the wealth of the Americas.

The Spanish arrival was a disaster to the indigenous peoples, great numbers of whom were sent to Spain as slaves, others used as slaves on site, and many killed by the invaders, despite the efforts of Spanish Christian missionaries to prevent these outrages. There were no Arawaks left on the island by 1665, but there were enslaved Africans replacing them.Jamaica

In 1645 the British captured Jamaica from the Spaniards, whose former slaves refused to surrender, took to the mountains and repelled all attempts to subjugate them. These people came to be known as Maroons (from the Spanish cimarron, meaning ‘wild’, a word applied to escaped slaves). Between 1660 and 1670 pirates used Jamaica as a place of resort.

In 1670 Spain formally ceded the island to Britain. Two years later the Royal Africa Company, a slave-trading enterprise, was formed. The company used Jamaica as its chief market, and the island became a centre of slave trading in the West Indies. Nonetheless, the battles of the Maroons to retain their freedom succeeded when, in 1740, the British authorities recognised their rights to freedom and ownership of property . . .  for more on Jamaican history go to One World Nations


Anancy Stories

Anancy – The Ashanti handed down  folktales about the trickster Anancy, the spider-man is primarily a Trickster in West African folklore, but Anancy stories are popular throughout the Caribbean.
Two aspects to Tricksters:
  • Positive Trickster who uses his skills to trick the Dragon and gain the bounty for the tribe.
  • Negative (Shadow) Trickster who only thinks for himself–me and mine.
Anancy overcomes the Dragon–any seeming situation/obstacle that would make us see ourselves as small, weak or powerless–that could potentially overcome us.
Anancy teaches us that we are bigger than any situation. But we have to use our intelligence–wits.  Click here to read more . . . .
  • The Lion of Judah motif figured prominently on the old imperial flag, currency, stamps, etc. and may still be seen gracing the terrace of the Ethiopian capital as a national symbol.

    The Lion of Judah motif figured prominently on the old imperial flag, currency, stamps, etc. and may still be seen gracing the terrace of the Ethiopian capital as a national symbol.

Rastafari and Haile Selassie
The words “Rastafari” and “Lion of Judah” have special meaning in Jamaica. In Rastafari, “The Lion of Judah” represents Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia, crowned November 2, 1930 with the titles King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God and Power of the Trinity. Rastas hold that Selassie is a direct descendant of the Israelite Tribe of Judah through the lineage of King David and Solomon, and that he is also the Lion of Judah mentioned in the Book of Revelation.
“Rasta” in our current context is often associated with Jamaican music – reggae, dance hall, ska, dub, as well as with natural foods and medicines, and of course “ganja” or marijuana. Consequently, much of  the original Rastafarian ideas have been commercialized, trivialized, or demonized in modern culture. If you would like to learn more about Rastafaris, one of the more reliable and comprehensive sites is “Rasta Seed”.

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