The island of Jamaica was colonized by the Taino tribes prior to the arrival of Columbus in 1494. The Spanish enslaved the Tainos, who were so ravaged by their conflict with the Europeans and by foreign diseases that nearly the entire native population was extinct by 1600. The Spanish also transported hundreds of enslaved West Africans to the island. In 1655, the English invaded Jamaica, defeating the Spanish colonists. Enslaved Africans seized the moment of political turmoil and fled to the island's interior, forming independent communities (known as the Maroons). Meanwhile, on the coast, the English built the settlement of Port Royal, which became a base of operations for pirates and privateers, including Captain Henry Morgan.
Food & Dining
Jamaican cuisine includes a mixture of cooking techniques, flavours, spices and influences from the indigenous people on the island of Jamaica, and the Spanish, British, Africans, Indian and Chinese who have inhabited the island. It is also influenced by the crops introduced into the island from tropical Southeast Asia. Jamaican cuisine includes various dishes from the different cultures brought to the island with the arrival of people from elsewhere. Other dishes are novel or a fusion of techniques and traditions. In addition to ingredients that are native to Jamaica, many foods have been introduced and are now grown locally. A wide variety of seafood, tropical fruits and meats are available.