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MedPro International Celebrates Jamaican Independence Day

MedPro International Celebrates Jamaican Independence Day

Sunday, August 6, marks Jamaican Independence Day, sixty-one years ago when the colony of Jamaica gained its independence from the United Kingdom. Every year the island celebrates the occasion starting on August 1, Emancipation Day. Jamaicans ring in the milestone with festivals, parties, and events featuring reggae music, dancing, and national dishes such as jerk chicken and beef patties. Parades, traditional music, galas, dance competitions, and more are all held on August 6.

 

‘Out of Many One People’

Out of Many One People” is the national motto on the Jamaican Coat of Arms paying homage to the country’s multiracial roots. According to Britannica, the “Redware people” inhabited the island around 600 CE (Current Era), followed by the Taíno, also known as the Arawaks, in 800 CE. The Taíno named the island Xaymaca “land of wood and water” and grew cassava, sweet potatoes, cotton, and tobacco while living near the island’s coast and rivers. In 1494 Christopher Columbus arrived and enslaved the Taínos. The Spanish would later bring enslaved Africans to the land before falling to a British invasion in the 17th Century. The Brits ruled for the next 200 years as immigrants from Ireland, Germany, India, and China came to work on the island’s sugarcane plantations. Jamaica finally became an independent nation on August 6, 1962, and elected labor leader Sir William Alexander Clarke Bustamante as the country’s first prime minister.

 

Jamaican Hall of Fame

The list of accomplished Jamaicans reshaping the island’s culture and politics and extending its influence worldwide is long and storied, but here are just a few names you may recognize.

  • Bob Marley Singer, songwriter, and musician Robert Nesta Marley is a reggae icon who helped spread the genre’s popularity worldwide. Marley was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.
  • Usain Bolt The fastest person on earth, former sprinter Usain Bolt holds world records for the men’s 100m and 200m sprints and reached a top speed of 27.33 mph.
  • Granny Nanny, aka Queen Nanny The 18th Century leader of the Maroons fought against the British military in the First Maroon War and is considered a national hero. Her image appears on the Jamaican $500 bill.
  • Louise Bennett-Coverley (Miss Lou) Jamaican folklorist, writer, and artist Miss Lou, received the Order of Jamaica in 1974 and was appointed a Member of the Jamaican Order of Merit in 2001 for her contributions to the country’s arts and culture.
  • Marcus Garvey Political leader, publisher, entrepreneur, and civil rights activist Marcus Garvey strongly supported Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements.
  • Jimmy Cliff Singer and actor Jimmy Cliff is the only living musician awarded the Order of Merit by Jamaica’s government. He starred in “The Harder They Come” and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.
  • Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce The world’s fastest woman, Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce, has won five 100-meter world titles and reached a top speed of 24.08 mph.

 

Happy Jamaican Independence Day!

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