The International Farmer: Peter Broggs

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A Brief History of Jamaica

ancient Jamaica

Jamaica is one of the most beautiful islands of the Caribbean and there are thousands of visitors pouring in every year. It's the land of wood, water, sugar and rum. The people escaping the frigid climate of the north reach Jamaica to enjoy the white sandy beaches and the sun shining upon them. The climate, people and culture of the place attract more tourists every year. If you are planning to visit the place in the near future, then it would be a sure add-on to know a little about the history of Jamaica.

Before the arrival of Columbus, the place was inhabited by the Arawaks tribe. They led a simple life thriving on activities like fishing, hunting and cassava cultivation. In 1494, Columbus found Jamaica and within 80 years, the tribe disappeared completely due to Spanish intervention. Only a few artifacts remain from this time of history of Jamaica which are a proof to the Arawaks tribe and that they occupied the place long ago. The artifacts can be found in the White Marl museum.

The Spanish attacked Jamaica in the search for gold, but were disappointed. They then used Jamaica as a Spanish settlement area for the conquest of the Americas. The town of Santiago de la Vega was the location of the settlement in the history of Jamaica and this is now called as the Spanish Town.

Segments of the architecture of this time are still prevalent in the town square. But in 1655, the place was captured by the British troops led by Admirals Penn and Venables. The period of Spanish settlement was only for a short period of time and the influence was also marginal. Yet, there are still a few buildings which depict the Spanish colonial architectural styles that remained from the Spanish colonization.

British rule later began looking unto Africans to be used as slaves for their sugar plantations. This made Jamaica one of the jewels in the English Crown. England, Africa and the Caribbean indulged in a triangular plantation trade. With the American war of independence, the Jamaicans died due to starvation. The sugar plantation in this area formed the economic root and all other activities relief on the plantation slavery. Towns were formed as commercial centers for the sale and sugar plantation imports.

The political system history of Jamaica at that time was against the slaves. After several struggles and revolutions, the slaves were emancipated and the plantations began paying wages to the workers. One of the popular figures was Rev. Sam Sharpe and the Montego Bay city square is named after him. Jamaica was granted political independence in 1938 following the Great Depression.

Jamaica came under the governance of the Prime Minister who was answerable to the Governor General. There are two main political parties, namely PNP and JLP now. The place was assisted by the USA in its development and even several emigrants from there came into the city. Today Jamaica, with its capital in Kingston has several thousands of visitors teeming up every year. The place is loved for its weather, heritage, people and the entertainment offerings.

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