Arriving at Treasure Beach

Jamaica, 26 September 2016

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Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

We landed in Jamaica at Norman Manley Airport in Kingston.  I don’t think I realised that we were just a few kilometres from Port Royal, the original English settlement in Jamaica.  We could have visited Fort Charles (originally Fort Cromwell) but I had hired a car from the airport, was focused on the drive to Treasure Beach and would not have wanted to finish that in the dark.  I had read lots of warnings not to drive in Jamaica but it occurred to me that a lot of those might be from young Americans who drive on the wrong side of the road.  It seemed too expensive to avoid it and I’d driven in many foreign countries so I thought “How hard can it be?”.  As it turned out I found drivers in Jamaica zippy and a touch crazy but not insane so that was fine.

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Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

So here we are at Treasure beach looking out to sea and at a pelican on what looks like a pile.  Perhaps there was a wharf there once.

The Arawaks were the original inhabitants of Jamaica from about 2,500 years ago.  Columbus and the Spanish arrived in 1494 and though Jamaica was not very important to them, they had mostly wiped out the Arawaks by 1600.

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Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Cromwell dispatched a fleet in 1654 to conquer Hispaniola but they failed to take Santo Domingo (as we saw in an earlier post) so in 1655 they conquered Jamaica instead.  The Spanish slaves then fled inland and formed “Maroon” settlements. The English failed to defeat them so they reached an agreement whereby the English recognised the independence of the Maroons and the Maroons agreed to return any escaped English slaves.

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Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Cromwell’s fleet sailed away in 1657 leaving the English with a defence problem.  They solved this by offering sanctuary to English and French pirates holed up in places on the coast of Hispaniola and on the island of Tortuga.  The term buccaneer derives from these people and the Arawak word buccan, a frame for slowly roasting meat.

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Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Privateer/ pirate Henry Morgan became Governor of Jamaica for some years but in 1692, half of Port Royal disappeared under the seas in an earthquake.  The settlement subsequently moved to Kingston, though for many years the capital was at Spanish Town, the old Spanish capital a little further inland.

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Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

The main crops were initially cotton and tobacco but that shifted to sugar and in the 18th century the slave population greatly increased.  A slave rebellion in 1831 was suppressed so brutally it was a factor in the abolition of slavery throughout the Empire in 1833.

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Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Marcus Garvey is an important historical figure in Jamaica.  His tomb is also a monument in a Kingston park as a national hero and August 17 is a public holiday as Marcus Garvey Day.  Born to a poor family, he became a trade unionist, editor and journalist.  In Jamaica in 1914 he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA) which became very influential during his time in the US (1916-1927).  It promoted the advancement of black peoples and ran industries and a shipping line.  In 1920 it had over 1900 divisions in more than 40 countries and a 1920 conference was attended by 20,000 people.  Unlike the NAACP, which was open to all and promoted integration, the UNIA was by blacks and for blacks.  It sought to resettle black people in Africa though this never eventuated.  Garvey was controversial in many ways though, not least for talking to the Klu Klux Klan and advocating cooperation with them.

Back in Jamaica from 1927 to 1935, he founded the first political party there, the People’s Political Party (PPP) which advocated an eight hour day, a minimum wage and land reform.

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Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Rastafarianism started and grew from the 1930s, partly influenced by Marcus Garvey.  Rastafarianism was in turn part of the influence for many of the forms of Jamaican music, including reggae, ska, rock steady and dub and world-renowned musicians such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff and Burning Spear.

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Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Michael Manley, son of Jamaica’s first Prime Minister Norman Manley, was Prime Minister 1972 to 1980 and 1989 to 1992.  A Democratic Socialist, he instituted many socio-economic reforms and perhaps represents a high point in Jamaican politics, though the potential of his reforms was only partly realised.

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Architecture, Jamaica, Landscape, Nature, Pelicans, Photography, seascape, Street photography, Travel, Treasure Beach, Wildlife

Jamaica has a reputation as a friendly welcoming place with great music.  However, in certain locations it can be dangerous at night, it has a high murder rate and in some places there can be a lot of cadging of people perceived as tourists.  We didn’t encounter any of those potential drawbacks though and had a quiet friendly and relaxing time in Jamaica.

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4 comments on “Arriving at Treasure Beach

  1. Looks absolutely stunning

    Liked by 1 person

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