Jamaica



Why and how English has become a language there

English became the official language of Jamaica because Jamaica is a former British colony. Nearly all the 100,000 Jamaican natives had died about 100 years after the colonization, and the native language died out with them. The British who lived there did of course speak English. They imported many slaves from Africa, and since the slaves did not have a common tongue, they also started speaking English, but with a twist. They developed their own language called Jamaican Patois, consisting of mostly English, but also some Spanish and various African languages. The majority of the Jamaicans today speak Patois as their everyday language, but it is not an official language in Jamaica. Patois is widely known because of the reggae music, performed by artists such as Bob Marley.

Its historical relation to Britain and its relation to Britain today

Britain has a long history in Jamaica. The English took Jamaica from the Spanish in 1655, and by that time, most of the natives were already dead. The slaves the Spanish left in Jamaica fled to the mountains and fought against the British until the 18th century. The British imported a lot of people from Africa and forced them to work as slaves, and that is how Jamaica became one of the world’s leading sugar exporters. By the beginning of the 19th century, the black slaves outnumbered the British with almost 20 slaves per 1 British person. Most of the inhabitants of Jamaica are descendants of those slaves. In 1834, slavery was abolished, but Jamaica did not gain independence from the UK until 1962.
More than 300 years of British rule has influenced Jamaica a lot. Their military force is a direct descendant from the British colonial military force, and their monarch is Queen Elisabeth the second. Most of the inhabitants are Christian, a result of British missionaries. Jamaica is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, an organization for former British Colonies. After the Second World War, there was a great shortage of labour in Britain, and they invited workers from the former colonies to move to Britain. Many Jamaicans chose to move to Britain, and today about 800 000 Jamaicans live in the UK. Although most of the first Jamaican immigrants had to take low paid, dirty and often dangerous jobs, many Britons of Jamaican descent have become very successful. Amongst them are the famous supermodel Naomi Campbell and the artist Alesha Dixon.

Sources:
http://wapedia.mobi/en/Jamaican_Briton
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaican_Patois
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Jamaican
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jamaica