The beautiful Caribbean island nation of Jamaica gained its independence from the United Kingdom on this day in 1962.
Originally inhabited by the Arawak and Taíno people with South American heritage, the island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494 which he subsequently claimed for Spain. The Spanish, however, relinquished power to Great Britain after they were defeated in the 1655 Invasion of Jamaica.
Keep in mind that under both Spanish and English rule, slaves were transported to the island to work on plantations. In the first 200 years of British rule, Jamaica was a leading exporter of sugar and this lucrative business thrived as a result of forced slave labour. Slave labour remained prevalent on the island until the British completely abolished it in 1838 after a series of very popular and well-known rebellions.
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Jamaica’s rich history and culture, which is heavily influenced by African heritage cannot be overestimated. To commemorate their independence day, Face2Face Africa shares with you some unique traditional dances from the Caribbean nation.
Take a look at them below and try them if you can!