People in Jamaica
Most Jamaicans (98 percent) are descended at least in
part from slaves who were brought into the country
primarily in the 17th and 18th centuries. The native
Taino had been exterminated by the Spanish conquerors.
Minorities come from Asia and Europe. Most of the Asians
are Indians and Chinese, whose ancestors were brought
here as workers.
More than half (56 percent) of all nearly three
million Jamaicans live in the city. Most cities can be
found on the coast, there are hardly any inland. Almost
a million people live in the capital Kingston alone.
Languages in Jamaica
The official language in Jamaica is English. So it
is used officially, on television, in newspapers, on
government offices and in forms and also in class. Most
Jamaicans speak Jamaican Creole on a daily basis. This
creole language is based on English. It is also called a
patois. Examples are: Mi a go would be I'm going in
English and Me tink dem see we would be I think they see
us. The English th is not spoken and becomes a t or d.
Reggae from Jamaica is mostly sung in Jamaican Creole.
Religions in Jamaica
64 percent of Jamaicans belong to a Protestant
church. This is a consequence of decades of British
rule. The believers are spread across different
churches, for example Adventists, Pentecostals,
Baptists or the Protestant Church of God. Only 2
percent of the population are Catholic. Jehovah's
Witnesses are 1.9 percent and Rastafarian 1.1 percent.
What is Rastafarian?
The Rastafarian belief
originated in Jamaica in the 1930s. Her followers see
the former emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassi as the
Messiah, a savior. Rastafarian followers often wear
dreadlocks, thick strands of matted hair. This is
supposed to give them strength and power, but it was
also a protest against the British colonial power.
addition to dreadlocks, reggae music also became a
symbol of the Rastafari. The supporters also fight for
equality for the black population. Green, yellow and
red, as the colors of a united Africa, are often the
colors of their clothes. The most famous Rastafarian
supporter was the singer Bob Marley.