Though smaller than the smallest U.S. state, Jamaica has had a greater impact on world culture than most nations hundreds of times its size. The revolutionary language of much of its popular music, and the international phenomenon of Rastafari have globalized Jamaica in unprecedented ways.
This inordinate cultural richness comes out of "a densely compacted history that contains every movement of consequence in the western hemisphere: native societies devastated by European conquest; the extermination of aboriginal peoples and their replacement by African slaves; the long sleep of colonialism and the slow, painful awakening into the struggle for nationhood."
Even today, though Jamaica has been nominally independent for over thirty years, the island struggles with the neo-colonialisms of un-payable debt to international lending bodies, the conventional tourism industry, the international organized crime of the drug trade, extreme internal class divisions and political conflict, and more. Despite these ongoing struggles, however, Jamaican people and culture continue their vibrant history of creativity and militancy, and the world continues to listen...