Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning 10,990 square kilometres (4,240 sq mi) in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the fourth-largest island country in the Caribbean. Jamaica lies about 145 kilometres (90 mi) south of Cuba, and 191 kilometres (119 mi) west of Hispaniola (the island containing the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
Previously inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people died of disease, and the Spanish transplanted African slaves to Jamaica as labourers. The island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later Great Britain) conquered it and renamed it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with its plantation economy highly dependent on African slaves. The British fully emancipated all slaves in 1838, and many freedmen chose to have subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British utilized Chinese and Indian indentured labour to work on plantations. The island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962.
Ska is a Jamaica-originated music genre that combines elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by a walking bassline, a scratchlike tempo, accented guitar or piano rhythms on the offbeat; and in some cases, jazz-like horn riffs. Originating in the late 1950s, it was a precursor to rocksteady and reggae.
In the 1960s, ska was the preferred music genre of rude boys, although many ska artists condemned the violent rude boy subculture. Ska was also popular with British mods and skinheads, so artists such as Symarip, Laurel Aitken, Desmond Dekker and The Pioneers aimed songs at members of those two subcultures. Music historians typically divide the history of ska into three waves, with a revival in the United Kingdom in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and another in the 1990s, mostly based in the United States.
History and Society:
Jamaican reggae musician Bob Marley live in concert in Zurich, Switzerland, on May 30, 1980.
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