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In this section, find excerpts and links to The Gleaner's Special Series: Pieces Of The Past authored by Dr. Rebecca Tortello in 2003.  Where applicable, updated information can be found throughout the site.

 

Out Of Many Cultures: The People Who Came: The Africans

Up until the early 1690s Jamaica's population was relatively equally mixed between white and black. (Senior, 2003, p. 446). The first Africans to arrive came in 1513 from the Iberian Peninsula after having been taken from West Africa by the Spanish and the Portuguese. They were servants, cowboys, herders of cattle, pigs and horses, as well as hunters. When the English captured... (READ MORE)

 

Out Of Many Cultures: The People Who Came: The Jews In Jamaica

Jews of Portugese-Spanish ancestry first landed on the island some 40 years later in 1530. They made their homes in Spanish Town, then known as St. Jago de la Vega ­ the only operating town on the island at the time. After many years, groups of Jews approached... (READ MORE)

 

Out Of Many Cultures: The People Who Came: The English, The Welsh, The Scottish

On the morning of May 10, 1655, two Spanish fishermen likely out searching for turtles off of Port Morant, looked up to see a most surprising sight ­ a fleet of 38 ships with large cannons moving towards them (Sherlock and Bennett, 1998, p.77). The British had arrived, led by Admiral Penn and General Venables, who were seeking to win favour with English Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. Turtles forgotten, the fishermen... (READ MORE)

 

Out Of Many Cultures: The People Who Came: The Irish

The Irish arrived in Jamaica over 350 years ago in the mid-1600s at the time of British Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell's capture of Jamaica. When British Admirals Penn and Venables failed in their expedition to take Santo Domingo from the Spanish, they turned their attention to Jamaica, not wanting to return to Cromwell empty-handed. With reinforcements from British-held Barbados (many of whom were Irish) they made quick work of .... (READ MORE)

 

Out Of Many Cultures: The People Who Came: The Germans

Known as bountied European immigration, this practice commenced in May of 1834 with the arrival of 64 Germans after a 108-day journey from the town of Bremen. They were recruited by the brother of Mr. Solomon Myers, the German Jewish owner of a coffee estate in St. George's (now part of Portland). Myers received...(READ MORE)

 

Out Of Many Cultures: The People Who Came: The Indians

From 1845 to 1921, over 36,000 East Indians, mainly of the Hindu faith, were brought to Jamaica. Close to two-thirds of them remained. Following the abolition of slavery in the 1830s, after failed attempts to source much-needed labour through bountied European immigration, the Jamaican Government turned to India and China. Indian labourers who had already proved successful... (READ MORE)

 

Out Of Many Cultures: The People Who Came: The Chinese

The story of the Chinese in Jamaica is linked to Panama and railways. In the mid-19th century, many Chinese looked west: to California, answering the call of the gold rush, and to Panama, where labourers were required for the building of a railroad from Panama City to Colon. Both options promised improvement in their lives and those of their children and led many Chinese to  ... (READ MORE)

 

Out Of Many Cultures: The People Who Came: The Lebanese

The story of the Lebanese in Jamaica begins towards the end of the nineteenth century. Unlike their fellow immigrants from China and India who had begun arriving in Jamaica in the mid-19th century, the Lebanese did not land on the island as indentured labourers. They, like the Jews that had come centuries before, arrived by ... (READ MORE)