History of Jamaica Essay

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History of Jamaica

Columbus discovered Jamaica on May 5, 1494, one year after he heard of the existence of the island. However, the true history of Jamaica begins with the African-Jamaican people who came to the island twenty years after the English took control from the Spaniards. The history of Jamaica can be broken up into different time periods, which were defined by watershed moments or events. Jamaican history begins with the establishment of the native islanders called the Tainos who inhabited the island for hundreds of years before the discoveries of Columbus. (JNHT 1)

The Tainos are a subgroup of the Arawak people who were first
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Today Spanish names still exist in the form of rivers, family names, and towns(JNHT 2). The Spanish implemented a new form of economy on the island based on shipbuilding and repairs in order to maintain the trading post in the Caribbean. Jamaica relied heavily on the trade of fruits and animal skins in order to produce revenues for the Spanish Empire. Jamaica proved to be an unworthy colony for the Spanish because of the lack of prosperity of agriculture.

The Spanish remained in power of Jamaica for over 150 years until the invasion of England in 1655. The fleet of Admiral Penn and ground troops of General Venables were able to conquer Jamaica rather quickly although there would be reoccurring invasions by the Spanish in hope of recapturing their territory. England’s 38 ships and 8000 troops forced the Spaniards to flee with little resistance (Carley 27). The English established Port Royal as the main trading post which showed growth under their strict rule. The end of the invasion left no pure blood Tainos remaining on Jamaica. By the end of the Seventeenth Century, Jamaica was established as a prime source of sugar all across the globe. The growth of sugar paved the way for plantations because of the large amount of land needed to produce sugar along with a large labor force that resulted in slaves. The extermination of the native race was small compared to the…