Jamaica is a mountainous Caribbean island discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1494. England conquered the island in 1655 and renamed it to Jamaica from Santiago. Under British rule Jamaica became one of the world’s leading sugar-exporting, slave-dependent nations. Although the slave trade was abolished in 1807, the British government formally abolished slavery in Jamaica by an 1833 act, beginning in 1834, with full emancipation from chattel slavery declared in 1838. It has been independent from Britain since 1962. Although independence is widely celebrated, a 2011 survey showed that approximately 60% of Jamaicans would push to once again become a British territory, citing years of social and fiscal mismanagement in the country.
Kingston Harbour is the seventh-largest natural harbour in the world. Although not currently, it previously facilitated cruise ships in the 1950s and 1960s, and a project has been proposed for the development of a cruise ship pier.
Some interesting facts
Jamaica is the birthplace of Rastafarianism – an Afro-Caribbean Religio-political Movement.
Blue moons occur in Jamaica whenever the weather and climate is perfect. Over the past 40 years there have been 12 blue moon sightings.
Jamaica is home to the fastest man on the planet – Usain Bolt, who allegedly ate 1,000 Chicken McNuggets in Beijing in 2008.
Ian Fleming created the character James Bond 007 from his home called ‘Goldeneye’ in St. Mary Jamaica. He also used the island as a setting in his novels Live and Let Die, Doctor No, “For Your Eyes Only”, The Man with the Golden Gun, Octopussy and The Living Daylights. James Bond Beach is in Oracabessa.
Reggae originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s.
After quitting Hollywood, Errol Flynn lived in Port Antonio, Jamaica in the early 1950s and was largely responsible for developing tourism in this area.
An estimated 1.3 million foreign tourists visit Jamaica every year.
There are many highlights for the tourist including Fort Charles (the only one of Kingston’s 20 forts to survive the 1692 earthquake), Doctor’s cave beach (Montego Bay’s most famous beach), Blue Lagoon (the waters that launched Brooke Shields’ movie career), Bob Marley Museum in Kingston and Maima Seville Great House & Heritage Park.
Jamaican cuisine includes various dishes from the different cultures brought to the island, alongside flavours & spices from the indigenous people. Some popular dishes are Jerk chicken, Jamaican Escovitch Fish (marinated fish), Ackee and Saltfish (salt cod and ackee fruit), Curry goat and Callaloo (leaf vegetable stew). Thanks to a recommendation from a friend (cheers Nigel Smith), I decided to cook Oxtail with Broad beans and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was definitely worth the wait!
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 10 hours
500g beef oxtail, cut into pieces
1 large onion, chopped
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger root
1 scotch bonnet chilli pepper, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup canned or frozen broad beans, drained
1 tsp whole allspice berries
1/2 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 130 degrees
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the oxtail, onion, spring onion, garlic, ginger, chilli, soy sauce, thyme, salt, and pepper.
Brown the oxtail in the skillet until browned all over, about 10 minutes.
Put the oxtail & onions mix into a lidded heavy casserole dish, and pour in 1 1/2 cup water.
Cover the casserole with foil and the lid.
Cook for 10 hours, checking a couple of times to ensure there is still liquid (add a little more water if dry)
Add the broad beans and allspice berries, and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water, and stir into the simmering oxtail.
Cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened, and the beans are tender.
Serve with rice or mash potato