People and culture

Jamaican Patois

When the Turks imposed high taxes on the traders of the Middle East in the fifteenth century they inadvertently closed the trade routes across the Mediterranean. This lead to the discovery of the new world by the Spaniard Christopher Columbus in 1495 who sought to find a direct route to India via boat. Jamaica and the many islands comprising the Archipelago known as the Caribbean are the result of colonial governance by the French, British, Portuguese and the Spanish.

Jamaica has a rich and diverse culture blended from around the world. Jamaica’s motto is “Out of Many, One People”. Almost every race is represented here. This diversity is most apparent in the various foods. African and European influences dominate the culture; however, the Spanish, Irish, Indians, Chinese and Germans have all left their mark. The Jamaican people are inherently friendly telling it like it is.
The official language of Jamaica is English. However, most likely you will hear traces of what sounds like a foreign tongue. The language on the streets is called Patois. Patois is a combination of English, Spanish. Portuguese and African phrases which sounds more rhythmic then traditional English.


Jamaicans have a musical heritage that stems from their African and European roots. Reggae music is Jamaica’s most recognized sound. These thumping sounds are rich and infectious and encompass expression of personal freedom, independence, religion and gossip. Musical form is passed through a series of stages, including Roots, Ragga, Dub and Dancehall but still remains the primary platform that Jamaican artists use to express their views on social and political conditions. Dancehall, for example, is one of the most prominent forms of reggae, which was received with great sympathy with the younger generation. However, Reggae in its purest form continues to dominate. Jamaica’s most famous is Bob Marley whose influence helped bring Reggae music into the Jamaican main stream
Link: Bob Marley - One Love

Jamaican Patois