with all that's new at My-Island-Jamaica, Click Here to subscribe
for my updates and don't miss a thing!
Are Jamaicans Africans?
Answered by Tracie Shortridge, Associate Writer
Let’s break down the details!
Jamaica was first inhabited by a group of people called the Arawaks (pronounced A-ra-waks) or Tainos (pronounced Ta-i-nose) who were mild natured people who lived off the land and loved nature.
So in love were they with the island and its natural splendor and beauty that they named it Xaymaca (pronounced Ex-ai-ma-ca) which means “land of wood and water”. They were originally from South America but bore the physical features of Africans with flat foreheads, dark skins and broad nostrils.
Christopher Columbus ‘discovered’ the island of Jamaica, moved on to other conquests and then the English invaded the island.
With this invasion came ill treatment, abuse of the Arawaks and infectious diseases which, due to their gentile way of living, led to them dying out by the dozens until the last of their race was gone.
The English quickly saw the fertility of the island and this gave way to a very active sugar plantation opportunity.
With this booming lucrative and profitable business, the English needed labour to plant and reap the sugar cane needed to yield profits from the sugar industry and take it to heights of great success. Since all the Arawaks were gone, they decided their only hope was to purchase slaves.
The first set of slaves they purchased were the Koromantis (pronounced Ko-ro-man-tees) who were captured from their native home of Akan, West Africa, now known as Ghana and sold into slavery to the English settlers across the Caribbean including Jamaica.
During rebellions and the fight for freedom from slavery, some of these slaves ran away into the hills and created a town of “freed” slaves called Maroon Town. Therefore, all African slaves in this community were referred to as Maroons. Well, the Koromantis and the Maroons formed the first set of African inhabitants on the island of Jamaica.
So, YES, we are!!!
But how did some of us end up with lighter complexions, hair and eye colour?
Well, the African slaves cohabited amongst themselves resulting in the birth of African Jamaican or Afro Jamaican children which the plantation owners loved because this increased their labour force.
However, the plantation owners saw the strength and beauty in the Afro Jamaican women and forcibly cohabited with them resulting in the birth of “mixed” children.
But, due to society and the fact that the slaves were seen as nothing but labour, these children remained with their slave parents growing up as slaves even though they bore markings of their light-skinned fathers (And by the way, we have several high profile examples even now in Jamaica)
So again, yes, all persons born in Jamaica from Afro Jamaican parentage originate from Africans!
With them growing up as slaves, of course, they cohabited with the other Afro Jamaican slaves resulting in the birth of other “mixed” children. Of course, all these “mixed” children possessed the African bloodline thereby making them, Africans by descent.
Having said that, I am mindful that other nationalities from Europe and Asia (Chineese and Indians for example) that came, settled and cohabitated, helping to create a rich mix culture.
But even with that, over 90% of Jamaicans share some African roots, and so again I shout, a resounding “yes we are”!
You are welcome to read more about the history of Jamaica and significant events in Jamaica to get even more insight.
See also: Where did Jamaican ancestors come from?
Click here to post comments
Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to JamaicaQuestions.
Sharing IS Caring... Its now YOUR turn to...
If you found this page useful, please consider subscribing to my weekly newsletter, My Island Jamaica Digest here.
Back To The Top Of This Page
It tells you each week about the new information that I have added, including new developments and great stories from lovers of Jamaica!
New! Talk To Me
Was the information helpful? Something needs changing? I welcome your feedback here.
Recommended For You ...
Other Great Articles You Might Have Missed
Please help me get the message out by sharing this article with your friends on social media (links below). Thnx ;-)
Also connect with My-Island-Jamaica.com on Social Media:
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
P.S. Didn't find exactly what you were looking for? Still need help?
Click Here to try our dependable and effective Site Search tool. It works!
Or, simply click here and here, to browse my library of over 500 questions and answers! Chances are someone already asked (and got an answer to) your question.
Back To The Top Of This Page
About The Author
A patriotic Jamaican who adore its culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' since April 2007.
To date, he serves over 9,300 unique readers / viewers per day.
efforts have earned this site featured positions in local publications,
including the Jamaica Gleaner's Hospitality Jamaica, Carlong Publishers,
as well as recognition from numerous prestigious international agencies
and universities. Read more about him here.
He invites you to subscribe to this site to stay updated on all the latest and check out his unique Jamaican products on his Etsy store.
If you are on social media, here are the links to follow his latest posts
You are also invited to join his exclusive JAMHearts community where like-minded Jamaican enthusiasts discuss all things Jamaican.