Saturday, November 04, 2006

Introduction and History of Jamaica

We chose the name ‘Bonita Jamaica’ because Jamaica is peerless. ‘Bonita’ is a Spanish word that means pretty or beautiful. Never have you seen such raw and natural beauty. We also wanted to pay tribute to Christopher Columbus and Spain. Christopher Columbus ran into Jamaica in 1494 during his second voyage. When he landed, he was greeted by the Arawak Indians, a docile and peaceful tribe. That meeting was the beginning of the end for the Arawak Indians in Jamaica. (There is not even one Arawak Indian alive in Jamaica today). The name that the Arawak Indians called Jamaica then was Xaymaca, which means ‘Land of Wood and Water.’ Xaymaca was later changed to Santiago, which was the name given to it by Christopher Columbus and/or Spain. The British would later change the name to its current name, Jamaica.

In 1655, Spain lost Jamaica to Britain. The Arawak Indians were later replaced with West Africans, who were transported under torturous conditions via slave ships, and were forced to work under the harshest conditions as slaves. What started out as tobacco plantations later transformed into sugar cane plantations, and it stayed that way until slavery ended in August 1, 1838. After slavery ended, Jamaica remained under British rule until August 6, 1962 when it became independent. Between 1838 and 1962, a lot of indentured workers were brought to Jamaica from China, India, Europe, and India. Many of these workers remained in Jamaica after their employment contracts ended. Here lies the origin of our Motto, ‘Out of Many, One People’. A free and independent Jamaica would rise from nothing to show the world our greatness. Since then, we have shared with the world many of our great and remarkable people (from Mary Seacole to Marcus Garvey, from Bob Marley to Michael Manley), and have welcomed millions (as visitors) to our great and beautiful institution (country).

In Jamaica we are aware that we are citizens of the world. So while our first love is Jamaica, we fearlessly roam the world, and we hardly conform to man-made rules that are designed to prevent us from doing so. We are a Christian Institution so we are not always very tolerant of un-Christ-like conduct. We hate unfair practices and injustice and we believe all humankind are equal. It is in our DNA to be who we are, so we are hardly followers. We are still a part of the British Commonwealth, but we don’t bow to so-called kings or queens. For us, the only king or queen is God. But we love all people and all places and we look forward to see you one day in Jamaica. But if you can't make it, one of us will find you. That is a guarantee.

Jamaica Facts:

Jamaica is located in the Greater Antilles, 240 kilometres (150 mi) in length and 85 kilometres (50 mi) in width. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea. It is 635 kilometres (391 mi) east of the Central American mainland, 150 kilometres (93 mi) south of Cuba, and 180 kilometres (112 mi) west of the island of Hispaniola, on which Haiti and the Dominican Republic are situated. It is the third most populous Anglophone (someone who speaks English natively or by adoption) country in the Americas, after the United States and Canada.

National Anthem

Jamaica National Anthem
Eternal Father, Bless our Land,
Guard us with thy mighty hand,
Keep us free from evil powers,
Be our light through countless hours,
To our leaders, great defender,
Grant true wisdom from above,
Justice, truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, land we love,
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love

Teach us true respect for all,
Stir response to duty's call,
Strengthen us the weak to cherish,
Give us vision lest we perish,
Knowledge send us Heavenly Father,
Grant true wisdom from above,
Justice, truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, land we love,
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica, land we love

National Pledge

Before God and All mankind.
I pledge the love and loyalty of my hear
The wisdom and courage of my mind,
The strength and vigour of my body
in the service of my fellow citizens.
I promise to stand up for justice,
Brotherhood and Peace, to work diligently and creatively,
To think generously and honestly, so that,
Jamaica may, under God, increase in beauty, fellowship
and prosperity, and play her part in advancing the welfare
of the whole human race.

Motto - Out of many, one people
Capital - Kingston–(17°59′N - 76°48′W)
Largest City - Kingston
Official Language - English
Government - Constitutional Monarchy
Monarch - ElizabethII
Governor-General - Kenneth Hall
Prime Minister - Portia Simpson-Miller
Number of Parishes - 14
Total Area - 10,991km²
Water(%) - 1.5
Population - Estimated 2,772,900
Currency - Dollar(JMD)
Internet TLD - .jm
Calling Code - +1-876

Jamaica is more than a country. It is a revered institution.

See You in Jamaica.

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