In the beginning Jamaica

posted in: Life Style, Opinion | 0

Jamaica_relief_location_map

It came to pass that we came here and saw these beautiful lands and sea side. We were comprised of all nations who came here at one time or another. Among us were peoples who began as:

  • Slaves from Africa
  • Indentured laborers from Ireland, India and China,
  • Military, labor, and owners from Europe
  • Merchants from the Mediterranean

It could be a really wonderful place except we were mostly not free. Not free to pursue happiness because of some constraints. Even when slavery was emancipated in 1834 through 1838 the owners still held the title to the vast majority of the available property. The x-slaves had some choices. The could:

  • Seek to squat in the hillsides
  • Work on the plantation and live in the barracks
  • Go to the city and work with the businesses

Needless to say they had no title, no home, and little formal education. They were prey. When you have a family with children it is a motivation to do whatever you must to provide. This means there were no bargaining chips to play. Heck of a place to start your life of freedom.

Throughout the ages we evolved to become the children of the slaves, the children of the plantation owners, children of many races, and the children of all. There were some who evoked the idea that out of many we could be one people but this was not to happen. We are instead disparate and diasporic.

A female octoroon born in a slave pen pre 1830 held the last name of the European father who sired her. This was done for specific reasons. One is to mark the family connection and to avoid future incest. At that time not a lot of female Europeans available. A European man resident in Jamaica needed to take an African woman for sex. But you could make nearly European women as slaves.

Later there were merchants, professionals, and labor immigrants from around the world especially India, China, and the Middle East. Needless to say we produced Indian Africans, Chinese Africans, Arab Africans, and many other mixes of mixes.

Even yet there were much more Africans 92 percent of which identify as black. Bye these statistics, Jamaica is essentially an African country. But in culture and religion we are a very much like other British outposts such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.

In some of those places colonists could simply drop 4 stakes in the ground and claim thousands of acres. In other places nobles were granted title by the crown. In Jamaica, the Caribbean, South and Central America the x-slave had no such opportunity.

In many ways this inhibits the productive capacity of these citizens. It can taken many generations to achieve the capital needed to take advantage of the free enterprise system.