The History of the Jamaican Language
The original settlement of Jamaica came between 4000 and 1000 BC. The Arawak and Taino tribes, originating from South America, were the first people to inhabit the island. In 1494, Christopher Columbus claimed the island in the name of Spain. They would keep the island for over 150 years, until the British invaded. After the British took rule of Jamaica in 1655 it became one of the leading slave-dependent nations, exporting mass amounts of sugar. There became quite a cultural mix, involving several different dialects. It is said that during the 18th century, Patwa started to take form as a language and involves dialects of East Indian, Spanish, Arawak, African and English decent. There are several common names for the language including Patwa, Patois, Jamaican, Jamaican Creole and Jamaican Slang. Although it still isn't considered an official language, it is spoken by over 3.1 million people and is known to be the official language of Jamaica. If you are interested in learning great Jamaican language visit the Learn to Speak Patwa page.