Reggae music originating in Jamaica has meant
a lot to the cultural identity of the English-speaking
parts of the Caribbean. Reggae is closely linked to the
The followers of the rastafari movement (see
Religion) are easily recognized by their long hair with
waxed hair braids, dreadlocks. However, everyone with
dreadlocks are not rastafarian followers. The movement
mainly attracts poor people and has long been in
conflict with the country's authorities, not least
because of the marijuana use. The reggae mixes West
Indian and African rhythms with American rhythm & blues.
The texts are about praising Jah (God) as well as about
politics, societal problems and everyday life. The most
renowned reggae artist and Rastafarian supporter is Bob
Marley (1945-1981). The UN cultural body UNESCO placed
reggae on its list of international cultural heritage in
Latest population statistics of Jamaica, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Music is an important part of the island's cultural
life. In the 1950s, working songs from the plantations
became internationally popular since they were launched
by singer Harry Belafonte (American with Jamaican
blush). In the 1980s, several of the island's artists
reached the outside world with the new rhythms dancehall
Closely associated with music is the tradition of
verbally conveying poems to music, called dub poetry.
The colonial era with its oppression is a common theme.
In the literature, racism, poverty and slavery are
common topics. Claude McKay (1890-1948) is usually
mentioned as the country's first black novelist. He
wrote the novels Home to Harlem (1928) and Banana bottom
(1933) and poetry collections in Creole languages. Among
now living writers are Lorna Goodison and Rachel Manley,
who both live wholly or partly abroad. It also makes
Marlon James who in 2015 won several literary awards
including the prestigious British Man Booker Prize for
his novel A brief chronicle of seven murders (A
Brief History of seven killings).
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Jamaica. Artists and albums are also included.
The Jamaican visual artists Albert Huie (1920–2010)
and Barrington Watson (1931–2016) are internationally
renowned, as is the sculptor Edna Manley (1900–1987).
British honorary consul murdered
British Honorary Consul John Terry is found murdered in his home in the
tourist resort of Montego Bay. A man is later convicted of the murder.
New Governor-General assumes office
Jamaica's sixth Governor General, Patrick Allen, is installed. Allen has a
background within the Protestant community of the Seventh-day Adventists. He
replaces Kenneth Hall, who resigned for health reasons.
Parliament for the death penalty
Parliament votes to retain the death penalty. Although death sentences are
being imposed, they have not been enforced since 1988, when the Privy Council in
London introduced a moratorium (temporary halt) against executions.
Roll victory for the right-hand side JLP
In the parliamentary election, which was postponed a week due to Hurricane
Dean, the right-wing party of the Jamaica Workers' Party (JLP) wins after 18
years in opposition. Party leader Bruce Golding becomes new prime minister. The
election result is very even, but after recalculation, the JLP receives 32 of
the 60 seats, against 28 for the Socialist People's Nationalist Party (PNP).
Election day is moved forward after the hurricane
Hurricane Dean pulls over the country in the middle of the month, causing
great havoc. Around 300,000 people become homeless. Election day is moved
Violence before the election
The election campaign ahead of the parliamentary elections scheduled for
August will be violent. Street gangs with links to the political parties try to
influence how people vote through threats and harassment. More than ten people
are killed in the violence.