One of the largest islands in the Caribbean and also home to the Arawak and Tainos. Jamaica may have been inhabited as far back as 5,000 years ago, and between 1000 BCE and 500 BCE, a somewhat more advanced Mesolithic race known as the “Ciboneys” or the “Guanahacabibe” began arriving, settling in Jamaica, the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti. Two centuries later, the Ciboneys were followed by a wave of Neolithic migrants, comprising broadly the Tainos, and later by the Kalinagos, also widely known as the “Caribs” or “Island Caribs” to differentiate from an allied people of the mainland.
Life in Jamaica changed rapidly with the arrival of the Spanish, beginning a torturous history of European colonization that only resulted in Jamaica’s independence in 1962. Imperialism not only affected indigenous people, but also gave rise to modern nationalist movements and famous advocates like Marcus Garvey.
Modern Jamaica: The History of the Caribbean Island from Christopher Columbus to Today chronicles how the island’s history progressed, from Columbus’ historic voyages to the modern era.