# Out Of Many One Jamaica People.
Happy Jamaicans Celebrating
A country’s greatest asset ought to be the people, and that is the truth about Jamaica.
This place is truly a melting pot with the combining and blending of makeup of the population with the Motto “Out Of Many One People”.
The ethnic groups are African, the largest with 90.9 percent, European 0.2 percent, Chinese 0.2 percent, East Indian 1.3 percent, and mixed ethnicities 7.3 percent,.
I am a proud citizen of this lovely island and of predominant African descent, but obviously a mixture of some other race.
And that is the case with almost the entire nation.
Out Of Many One People
Ninety odd percent are by far of African descent, starting from the Maroons.
Those Africans who refused to surrender to the English when they to over from the Spaniards.
We still have Maroon communities today in Accompong St Elisabeth and Moore Town in Portland and else where.
There is an annual Maroon celebration in Accompong on the 6th of January.
The Maroons are a proud group of people who cherish their freedom, they are the only group exempted from paying taxes.
Even during the three hundred years of slavery when the English populated the island with African slaves, the Maroons remain a free group of people.
The majority of Africans were brought here forcibly to work on the sugar plantation. But after emancipation, between 1837 and 2867 more than 11,000 free Africans arrived to work on the estates as indentured labourers.
Regardless of where we come form, now, Out Of Many One People
East Indians form the largest ethnic minority in Jamaica.
Most of these Indians are descendants of 36,412 immigrants brought here as workers on the sugar plantation. Also on other estates after emancipation of the Africans who were offering service against their will.
The Jews are special people, well, we are all special in a way, but the Jews are unique.
They are believed to be amongst the first people to arrive here from Spain and Portugal seeking refuge following their expulsion from Spain by the Catholic monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella in March 1492.
The Spanish new world did not officially allowed Jews, however, some are believed to arrive with Spanish settlers from the earliest days of colonization by Esquivel, at the start of 1509.
Jamaica at the time was under the jurisdiction of Christopher Columbus family and not the Spanish Crown. Which cause the Spanish Inquisition to be excluded and Jews lived in relative safety….
but there was never-the-less the constant fear of exposure, since the Inquisition was active on other islands.
The Jews are Unusually Gifted
To hide their identity, the Jews assumed different names like “Portugals”(many were Portuguese) and “Marranos” meaning, Jews who were converted to Catholicism.
Many were converted, but continued to practice their own religion in secret.
When the British took over, the Jews were allowed to remain, and citizenship granted by Oliver Cramwell. And they were confirmed by the Windsor Declaration of 1661 that made them, like other residents in Jamaica, “Full British Citizenship”.
You should take note of the fact that they could acquire land, was an attraction to other Jewish settlers of Spanish and Portuguese origin.
Some were wholesale merchants while others were in the retail trade, with strong trade contracts with Spanish, Dutch and British America.
Their influence on the financial, economic, artistic and social development of the nation was remarkable in proportion to their numbers.
The population of Jewish people in the island was approximately 1,000 before massive emigration in the 1970s.
Out Of Many One People
If you study the Jews, you will quickly realize that where ever they go they dominate with prosperity and influence.
Their influence in the mid 19th century was remarkable, in 1849, 8 of the 47 member House of Assembly were Jews
After the Morant Bay Rebellion in 1865, when the constitution was abolished, there were 13 Jewish members in the House of Assembly.
The House of Assembly was probably the first in the world, as a legislative body outside of Israel, to adjourn for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement as we know it, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.
The Chinese make up a small percentage of the population. Nevertheless, their impact on the economic development in the area of commerce has been outstanding.
Chinese are experts at business
This ethnic group was first brought to the British West Indies in the 19th century as contract labourers to work on the sugar plantation following emancipation.
Like other indentured workers of the time, they found the experience on the plantation to be quite different from what they were promised.
On their arrival they had to work on a specific estate for fixed wages, and could only travel two miles beyond it boundary.
They were subject to exploitation and abuse.
Some worked out their contract on the plantation, but many deserted the estate.
Other Chinese joined their relatives in the 20th century as free immigrants.
Some grew rice and went into market gardening. But the vast majority found their talent in the grocery and retail business across the length and breadth of the island.
Many of the small business grew into big business enterprise. Not only as retail but wholesale and manufacturing. We are indeed one, Out Of Many One People, one nation.
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