Founded in 1692, Kingston was just considered a place for displaced survivors of the earthquake that destroyed Port Royal that same year. It only began to expand after the 1703 fire that further destroyed Port Royal. John Goffe, a surveyor, drew up a plan for the town based on a grid bounded by North, East, West and Harbour Streets. The grid system of the town was designed to facilitate commerce, particularly the system of main thoroughfares 66 feet (20 m) across which allowed transportation between the port and plantations farther inland and by 1716 it had become the largest town and the centre of trade for Jamaica.
As with every country, Jamaica’s upper class has always imported their culture from the places they were either from or had visited. For the rest of the population, culture had to come from what was around them. Whether being language, food or music, what is defined as the culture of the land is by and large created by the masses.
The story, and subsequent evolution, of Jamaican music speaks directly to what was experienced by most Jamaicans at varying times during the country’s development. When the populace was more spread out across the island, the music played had a folk-like quality juxtapose that with grittier sound that was produced once most of the population started to migrate to more urban spaces looking for work and living conditions become more cramped. For many, in addition to being a welcome distraction to the sometimes harsh realities of day to day living, music became a viable way of making money and gaining respect within the community. Music is truly the heartbeat of the island and subsequently the capital city, but don’t take our word for it. Come on out and give it a try.
Jamaican food and its preparation has been regarded as some of the world’s best. From our jerk recipe and escoveitch fish to special ice cream flavors like Rum & Raisin, Grapenut and differing variations of Irish stout, the flavours and tastes are limitless. Beginning with the Tainos, who it is said never cooked with water, prepared their food on charcoal; which lead many to believe that this was the beginning of the barbeque style of cooking. Then the Spaniards brought to our shores the love of seasonings, vinegar and hot peppers. The British brought with them a taste for puddings and our Asian immigrants added spices like curry powder and soy sauce to the mix. Finally the African influence had many Jamaicans adopting the ‘one pot’ method which led to endemic delicacies such as ‘run dung’ a particular stew which features fish, ground provisions, coconut milk and a variety of seasonings.
Kingston is the home to the world’s 7th largest natural harbour and is bordered by Jamaica’s largest mountain range. Kingston certainly has its fair share of historical, educational and recreational experiences such as Port Royal, National Heroes Park, Institute of Jamaica, Devon House and so on. There is also a healthy night life in Kingston fueled by one of Jamaica’s indigenous music forms, dancehall. Every night of the week there are parties or ‘sessions’ dedicated in making sure that all who attend are having the time of their lives. There are also theatres, markets, galleries, craft shops, coffee farms, bird watching and hiking trails available for all to enjoy.
On August 6th 1962, the country of Jamaica gained independence and begun using the motto “OUT OF MANY ONE PEOPLE” and a no more accurate a statement has been made about the Jamaica populace since. A mixture of ethnicities and social backgrounds creates a potpourri of people that by and large are extremely friendly and helpful. More than willing to go out of their way to assist others in their time of need. It is the Jamaican way to welcome guests with open arms and play the perfect hosts as they show off their land, food, language, culture, flora and fauna.