Unlike their fellow immigrants from China and India who had begun arriving in Jamaica in the mid-19th century, the Syrians and the Lebanese did not land on the island as indentured labourers.
They, like the Jews who had arrived centuries before, came of their own free will, albeit fleeing religious persecution.
Many started out as pedlars, becoming successful merchants over time opening dry goods stores in downtown Kingston. Many of these stores still exist today on Orange Street, West Queen, King and Harbour Streets.
The Lebanese and the Syrians have preserved their culture over the years, largely through their cuisine with traditional dishes such as kibbeh, tabouleh, hummus and stuffed grape leaves, still being prepared today. They introduced the popular flat bread known as Syrian bread
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