Case Study: Kingston, Jamaica Presented By: SHAWNDA R CHAPMAN Prof. Susan Lafont Urban Anthropology Final Project December 2008
Kingston, Jamaica <ul><li>The night seems to fade, </li></ul><ul><li>But the moonlight lingers on There are wonders for everyone The stars shine so bright, But they’re fading after dawn There is magic in Kingston town </li></ul><ul><li> ~UB40 </li></ul>
The Physical Setting <ul><li>K ingston, is the primate and capital city of Jamaica. It is located at the foot of the broad, fertile Liguanea plains and connects to the old city of Port Royal through a long narrow sand spit know as the Palisadoes. Kingston, a bustling, sprawling city of over half a million people. is the center of government and commerce in Jamaica. It faces a natural harbor and is set against a picturesque backdrop of the Blue Mountains. It is also the largest city on the island, has largest English-speaking population south of the United States and boasts the seventh largest natural deep sea harbor in the world. </li></ul>
Early Inhabitants The earliest inhabitants of Jamaica are thought to be the Taino Indians (generally know as the Arawak) who are represented on Jamaica’s coat arms. The Taino likely migrated up from South America and probably reached the Greater Antilles between 700 and 1000 B.C. The Taino were residents of Jamaica when Christopher Columbus arrived and claimed the land for Spain in 1494, although it was not fully colonized until after his death. However, only a few decades after his demise the Taino Indians in Jamaica were nearly completely exterminated. Overwork in the Mines and the fields in addition to contact with European disease led to the virtual annihilation of Jamaica’s indigenous people by the mid-1600’s
Slave Trade The Spanish began importing black slaves in 1501. The first black slaves brought to Jamaica did not come directly from Africa but were slaves of African descent, who had been originally enslaved in Spain. In 1518 King Charles I of Spain signed a four-year contract which an annual supply of 4,000 African slaves to enter Hispaniola, Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. Slaves then came directly from Africa and 1611 Jamaica had a population of 558 black slaves, 107 free blacks, and between up to 1,400 Spaniards.
Early History Kingston was founded July 22, 1692, after an earthquake devasted the notorious city of Port Royal which was situated across the harbor, killing 2,000 residents and plummeting two thirds of the city into the sea. The survivors of the earthquake established a refugee camp on the sea front at place known as Barry’s Hog Crawl; literally a place were pigs were stored. Within two months, the government purchased 200 acres from an absentee proprietor but the town did not begin to grow until 1703 when a fire further destroyed Port Royal. Prior to this, Kingston’s functions were purely agricultural
Growth & Expansion Kingston’s natural harbor fostered trade and by 1716 it had become the center of commerce for Jamaica as well as its largest town on the island. By the end of the end of the eighteenth century over 3,000 buildings composed of brick were in the city. Soon Kingston began to out-distance the capital of Spanish Town and in 1755 the governor made a controversial decision to transfer government offices to Kingston. Because of Kingston’s reputation for carousing, drinking and loose morals, many argued that the move to Port Royal would corrupt the assemblymen and the act was rescinded by the next governor.
Kingston’s Calamities Over the next century, despite several major disasters including a hurricane in 1784, a fire in 1843, a cholera epidemic in 1850, and another fire in 1864, Kingston continued to grow and by 1872 another act was passed that successfully transferred government offices from Spanish Town to Kingston. In 1907, approximately 800 people were killed in an earthquake that destroyed most of the city and the majority of historical buildings south of Parade. This natural disaster accounts for the lack of visual history in Kingston and was the beginning of the strict building code the restricted the erection of buildings to 60 feet or three stories high in the central business district.
Working Class Unrest In the early 1920’s the local governments of the parishes of Kingston and adjacent St Andrew were combined to form the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation. In the 1930’s dissatisfaction with low wages; lack of representation; high unemployment; and racist attitudes of colonial administrators and employers with black workers, in addition to increasing regional dissatisfaction and distress caused by world economic crisis that began in the U.S., lead to labor riots and subsequently the development of trade unions and political parties to represent workers
Urban Kingston Emerges In the 1960’s, major change began to occur in the redevelopment of Kingston’s central business district. International attention gained from reggae music in addition to the redevelopment of the water front area led to the influx of shops and office buildings and to the development of a new financial center called New Kingston.
Kingston Today New Kingston replaced the Knutsford Racetrack area and is comprised of multi-multistory buildings and new boulevards. With the development of New Kingston came the neglect and decay of former commercials areas downtown and to the demise of the historic Victoria Market; home of the Sunday and Christmas Markets for Over a Century
Kingston Today Kingston today is a place of stark contrasts. It is home of the National Art Gallery, several theatres, the Jamaican football team, cricket team, a vibrant night life and the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies. Yet, a large portion of the city is pure shantytown.
Kingston Today - Layout Today wealthier residents live uptown near the mountains in the Ligueanea neighborhoods of Hope Pastures, Mona Heights, Beverly Hills and Barbican while the economically disadvantaged live below the Torrington Bridge, the line of demarcation between wealthy and poor, in ghettos like Southside, Rema and the Jungle.
Unemployment & Poverty <ul><li>Kingston has an extremely high unemployment rate of 17. 5 percent. Most of these unemployed people can be found in shantytowns (squatter settlements) of the inner city. </li></ul><ul><li>In Kingston a person can be classified as living in poverty if they make less than J$38,409.15 per, which is only about $550 U.S. </li></ul>
Stratification In Kingston there is a significant level of inequality. The wealthiest 20 percent of the population controls approximately 46 percent of the national consumption, while the most disadvantaged 20 percent controls only 5.3 percent of the national consumption. In other words, the richest 10 percent consumed more than 12.5 times the poorest. It is this widespread poverty that underlies Kingston’s reputation for violent crime; a reputation that ranks third in the world and is one cause for the lack of tourism in the city.
Congestion Overcrowding is another issue faced by the growing city of Kingston. The importation of a large number of fairly cheap Japanese used cars contributes to the damage of roadways and congestion in the city. Improving the public transit system is one way the government is trying to decrease high volumes of traffic on roads.
Major Functions <ul><li>Kingston is the cultural, economic, financial and industrial epicenter of Jamaica. It has the largest number of financial institution, schools, hospitals and cultural and sports attractions of any urban area on the island. </li></ul><ul><li>Kingston’s harbor ranks seventh among the world’s largest natural harbors and serves and the cities chief function. </li></ul><ul><li>Kingston provides a host of other services including retail, administrative and social functions for the island. </li></ul><ul><li>Kingston is also home of Norman Manley International Airport and Air Jamaica </li></ul>
Bibliography <ul><li>"Kingston, Jamaica." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia . 15 Dec 2008, 04:53 UTC. 15 Dec 2008 < http:// en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title = Kingston,_Jamaica&oldid =258058407 >. </li></ul><ul><li>"Port Royal." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia . 14 Dec 2008, 12:04 UTC. 15 Dec 2008 < http:// en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title = Port_Royal&oldid =257892745 >. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Structure and Development of Kingston Jamaica." Smart Young . 14 Dec 2008, 12:04 UTC. 15 Dec 2008 < http:// www.smartyoung.com/cities/kingston/Introduction.htm >. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Remembering the Tainos." Jamaican Information Service . 14 Dec 2008, 12:04 UTC. 15 Dec 2008 < http://www.jis.gov.jm/information/html/20081110T100000-0500_17324_JIS_REMEMBERING_THE_TAINOS.asp >. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The City of Kingston." Discover Jamaica . 14 Dec 2008, 12:04 UTC. 15 Dec 2008 < http://www.discoverjamaica.com/gleaner/discover/tour_ja/tour_a.htm >. </li></ul>
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