Jamaica's culture is a diverse blend of customs and traditions shaped by the country's long history of colonialism, slavery and displacement. The earliest known natives of the island were the Taino people, who were displaced by the Spanish and British, who brought slaves from Africa. Later, immigrants from around the world came to Jamaica as well. For this reason, the motto of Jamaica is "Out of Many, One People." Today, the majority of Jamaica's 2,868,000 inhabitants are of African descent.Continue Reading
The official language of Jamaica is English, although it is a distinct dialect of English characterized by a heavy Jamaican accent. The informal language of Jamaica is Patois, a combination of English, Spanish, Portuguese, various African languages and Jamaican slang.
The majority of Jamaicans practice Christianity or an offshoot of Christianity known as Rastafarianism. Rastafarianism combines elements of Christianity with African consciousness, the use of marijuana as a sacrament and the divinity of Haile Sellasie, a former emperor of Ethiopia. The tenets of Rastafarianism are often expressed through reggae music, which is one of the most recognizable characteristics of Jamaican culture around the world. In the 1970s and 80s, the musician Bob Marley brought reggae music, Rastafarianism and other aspects of Jamaican culture to the mainstream and today remains one of Jamaica's most famous cultural heroes.Learn more about Cultures & Traditions