Before the arrival of the Spanish, Jamaica was inhabited by Indians who called the land “Xaymaca”, “the land of wood and water”.
The natives were decimated shortly after and the importation of African slaves began. With the arrival of the English the country started to be designated as Jamaica and a new capital was constituted – Kingston.
Throughout the period of English colonization, the country became a site known for its smuggling and piracy. Its closeness to the shipping routes and the natural settings of the bay itself, which allowed to protect a vast number of vessels, were two decisive factors for such.
In 1670, England appointed a governor and the pirates were chased until their extinction. Later, the Royal African Company was established and Jamaica became one of the biggest centers of slave trading. During the slavery period, the manifestations of religious beliefs by slaves were forbidden, and, due to it, the roots of what would later on be called the Rastafari and reggae movement started to be set. And this music, this lifestyle and way of being, it’s a crucial aspect when one talks about a trip to Jamaica. There’s a palpable cool vibe and it gives the proper context to the words you hear the most from Jamaicans: “no problem” and “respect”.
In order to be granted with a better notion I recommend you to go to Kingston and visit the Bob Marley museum, which was his house until his last breath.
Robert Nesta Marley, known as Bob Marley, is the most famous reggae musician.
He spoke about Jamaican social and political issues, peace and social equality. He was an advocate of the Rastafari movement, supporting the protection of the African culture.
I’ve visited the Museum when I arrived in Kingston, having departed Cuba. Right after that, I’ve rented a car and drove to Negril, Montego Bay and Ocho Rios. The route towards the coast is a massive burst of green. Visiting Jamaica and “losing” oneself in the country’s interior is mandatory. Don’t limit yourself to the beaches and the most well-known spots.
I recommend you to read about the region of which Jamaica is part of, the Caribbean.