The original inhabitants of Jamaica are believed to have been the Taino. They spoke a language known as ‘Arawakan’ and arrived in Jamaica having migrated north from the Orinoco Basin circa 650 A.D.
The Taino were dependent on farming, fishing, hunting and gathering for their subsistence. From cassava, they made a flat round bread, called ‘bammy’ by Jamaicans. The Taino also gave us the term ‘barbecue’, which comes from their method of roasting meat on a ‘bucan’, a four-legged stand made from savoury wood such as pimento.
Although the Taino are no longer in existence, their legacy is long lasting, having given the island the name Xaymaca, which to them meant “land of wood and water”.
Xamayca, Life in Spanish Jamaica – 1494-1655′ IOJ Exhibition Catalogue 2009
Scotiabank calendar 2010, January
Just a Thought — Jamaica – Jah Mek Yah – Jah made here – God made here — us who we are!
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