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111 Town Square Pl, Jersey City, NJ 07310, U.S.

Jamaica has a vivid and painful history, marred since European settlement by an undercurrent of violence and tyranny. Jamaica was founded around 700AD by the peaceful Arawak Indians, who had migrated from South America. They named the island Xaymaca and left legacies such as bammy (cassava bread), barbecue meat (jerk cooking) and the words ‘hurricane, hammock, tobacco and canoe, essentials facets of Caribbean life. Spanish settlers arrived in 1510, raising cattle and pigs, and introducing two things that would profoundly shape the island’s future: sugar and slaves. By the end of the 16th century, the Arawak population had been entirely wiped out, suffering from hard labour, ill-treatment and European diseases to which they had no resistance. The Spanish were the first to import African slaves to work on tobacco and, later, sugar plantations. Unable to find gold and other precious metals on Jamaica, the Spanish saw little use for the island and hardly resisted the invasion of British soldiers in 1655

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