Brief History of Jamaica and the National Anthem

On May 5, 1494, Christopher Columbus sailed west and landed in Jamaica that was called Xaymaca, by the Cubans who described it as “the land of blessed gold”.
The Arawak Indians were living on the island. Columbus and his men attacked the Arawaks, killed several and took over the island. However, On May 10, 1655, Admiral William Penn and General Robert Venables of England launched an attack on Jamaica. The Spaniards surrendered to the English, freed the slaves and fled to Cuba. The freed slaves were called Maroons.
There was a huge market in England for sugar, so slaves from Africa filled the labor force. The slave trade became a popular and profitable endeavor for the English settlers. The transportation of slaves to the West Indies was known as the ‘Middle Passage’. The voyage got its name because the journey of the British slaver was a three-step process. First, starting from England with goods that were exchanged for slaves in Africa then continued to the West Indies where the slaves were dropped off and sugar, rum, and molasses loaded onto the ships for the return trip to England.
Conditions for the slaves were less than desirable and many rebelled. Some ran away to the mountains and joined the Maroons.
On August 6, 1962, Jamaica was granted its independence from England. Jamaica now has its own constitution which sets out the laws by which the people are governed. The constitution provides for the freedom, equality, and justice for all who dwell in the country.
With Independence came national symbols; one being the National Anthem which is a prayer.

The Jamaican National Anthem

Eternal Father bless our land,
Guard us with Thy Mighty Hand,
Keep us free from evil powers,
Be our light through countless hours.
To our Leaders, Great Defender,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, Land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.
Teach us true respect for all,
Stir response to duty’s call, strengthen us the weak to cherish,
Give us vision lest we perish.
Knowledge send us Heavenly Father,
Grant true wisdom from above.
Justice, Truth be ours forever,
Jamaica, land we love.
Jamaica, Jamaica, Jamaica land we love.
Please research the history of Jamaica to learn more about the other symbols, the culture, customs, and people. Knowledge increases awareness that will bridge a cultural divide. On Monday, August 6, 2018, I will proudly wear my colors. Do you know what the colors represent?
Information adapted from the Jamaica Information Service