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Ujima Celebrates Jamaican 52 years of independence

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Wednesday August 6th was the 52nd anniversary of Jamaica’s independence from Great Britain. Listen back to our Jamaican Independence specials with  Primrose on the Living Show (Part1, Part2). Also listen to Time with Divine (Part1, Part2) , plus Fada Solijee who also hosted a special show (Part1 ,Part2).

Jamaica’s history is simultaneously colorful, intriguing and dark. It is full of stories about pirates, European dominators, Africans and native inhabitants.

The country was first populated by Arawak Indians (which quickly became extinct after the arrival of the Spanish. Today, some 3,000 or so Arawaks exist only on the island of Dominica).

On his second trip to the New World, Christopher Columbus landed at Discovery Bay in 1494 and reportedly described the island as “the fairest land my eyes have ever seen.” The name he originally gave the island was St. Jago, after the patron saint of Spain. The word Jamaica eventually replaced St. Jago and is fittingly adapted from the Arawak word, “Xaymaca,” which means “land of wood and water.”

During a war the British captured Jamaica in 1655 and soon turned the island into a vast sugar cane empire. Africans were imported as slaves to work the huge plantations. Slavery ended in 1838 and Indians and Chinese were imported as cane workers, along with German workers—some of whom are still living descendants of this original group.

When England conquered Jamaica many of the Spanish slaves fled to the interior of the country. These people became known as Maroons—a word adapted from the word “cimarron” or cima—meaning mountain top, because of where the ex-slaves resided. Maroons still reside in the region and are allowed a certain element of self-governance.

About 90% of present day Jamaica’s population is African by descent; however, one hears “patois” spoken—a blend of Spanish, French, English and African dialects.

Jamaica comprises 4,411 square miles and is divided into 3 counties and 14 parishes. It is 146 miles long and varies between 22 and 51 miles in width. It has some 120 rivers and the annual rainfall is 78 inches. About half of the island is above 1000 feet, with the highest point being Blue Mountain at 7,402 feet.

Every year Jamaicans around the world celebrate August 6th as the day when Jamaica was finally given the power to rule its own.

On this day, Jamaicans remember their history,  descendants,  battles, and the sacrifices of ancestors made to make this country one of the greatest nation on earth.

The politics & achievements, the music & entertainment & the sports. This tiny nation in the Caribbean Sea has had and continues to have a big impact on the rest of the world.
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