Front Cover
 Table of Contents
 History, art, literature &...
 Special geological supplement
 Back Cover

Title: Jamaica journal
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090030/00030
 Material Information
Title: Jamaica journal
Series Title: Jamaica journal.
Abbreviated Title: Jam. j.
Physical Description: v. : ill. (part col.) ; 31 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Institute of Jamaica
Publisher: Institute of Jamaica.
Place of Publication: Kingston
Publication Date: 1976
Frequency: semiannual
Subject: Periodicals -- Jamaica   ( lcsh )
Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: Jamaica
Dates or Sequential Designation: Began with Dec. 1967 issue.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090030
Volume ID: VID00030
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01797964
lccn - 75027862
issn - 0021-4124

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Table of Contents
        Page 1
    History, art, literature & music
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
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        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    Special geological supplement
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
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        Page 92
    Back Cover
        Page 93
        Page 94
Full Text

VOL. 10 Nos. 2,3 & 4.





.Jameaca Journal is published Quarterly oy The
Institute of Jamaica, 12 16 East Street,
"kingston;,Ja-liaici, West indies.
'Rex Nettleford, Chairman: Dahlia Mills-Repole,
'Vice-Chalrman; Neville Dawes, Manager and
Secretary to the Board of Governors.
Awl n 'D-costa, Chairman, .Dahea Mills-Repole;
"W..,: 4ThwalteV. Raphael D. Shearer; J. A.
a.Crn egle.

iS tflrst-academle, scientific, technical and
Ss.tifh'staff of the Institute of Jamaica and re-
A ij'tad organizations.
4T. Asshell.
I ^urbiher.ILtd.
i Printers Ltd.

I.-IlIn s by 'twelve Inches, Illustrated.
"S- ;ol.tents page is produced with each issue.
FL(H Index not available.
Voflmies -4-10 -available from the Bookshop
-'Oft-it;he Institute of Jamaica. The entire series
k :.vallable on microfilm from the West In.
1l d-iReerence Library (WIRL) of the Institute
6f .JMItia, and from University Microfilms,
Ann tArbor; Michigan 48106, USA.
"'SgirHplon -rates overseas -are quoted for sur-
face rna Air -Mail availatile at special rites.
.Address -abels .carry. account number and ex.
;piFv date. A "new computer system will carry
fufth'er-eference coding.
% Ao ..t'tJior)n A'gecies. C6mrrlsaion to
dtii ip.flbabia, subject tb services

fla lbe .iii teaching
114-,- & 'M-i- ,.:. ..- a '- 1h- '
iiiee JA- AICA J.o. RltJ AL is
aTO cultural rtI erar for children 6i
S n mln. Julik rates are given on.
Bu B3 -or- moae copies. All student issue

7, .. ,,

VOL. 10 Nos. 2, 3 & 4.



The Jamaican Sculptors ............................... .....................Phillip Sherlock 2
Indian Heritage in Jamaica...........................................L. Mansingh & A. Mansingh 10
The Jonkonnu Festival................................................................Judith Bettleheim 20
Old West Indian Dwelling Houses in Panama..Trevor Burrowes & Angus McDonald 28
Interview with Roberto Fernandez Retamar..................................... ........... .. 36
Jamaicans in the Australian Gold Rushes...........................................Barry Higman 38

Understanding Jamaican Bauxite................................................... Carlton E. Davis 48
Earthquake Risk & Hazards ................................................Raymond Wright 52
Judgement Cliff.................... .................. ............................C. Bernard Lewis 61
The Minerals of Jamaica...................... ...... .............. Anthony R. D. Porter 64
Some Ecological Questions for Jamaica..........................................Dr. Barry Wade 78
Quarrying in Jamaica......................................................................Calford Scott 80
Minerals & Plate Tectonics............................. .. ............. Edward Robinson 86

1 year ............................................ ...J$5.00)
3 years...................$12.50) postage free
5 years................................ ......... J$22.20)
1 year................................. ......... EC$20.00
3 years.................EC$50.00) including postage
5 years........................................ EC$90.00)

Payable in all currencies to the equivalent of
the following as expressed in US (or Canadian)
$to facilitate conversion.
1 year.... .........................................$15.00)
3 years................$40.00) including all postage
5 years...............$65.00) and handling charges.

Articles appearing in Jamaica Journal are abstracted and indexed in Historical Abstracts and America,
History & Life.
Published by the Institute of Jamaica, December 1976.

This issue is very late off press due to a prolonged production shut down, beyond
our control. We are grateful to our designer, Huntley Burgher, and to Lithographic
Printers Ltd. for their efforts to close the production gap. This should enable us to
bring Vol. 11 No. 1 back onto schedule.

COVER PICTURE: Modern Indian wedding in rural Jamaica. All Indian traditions are observed;
note however that the women in the foreground have adopted the local African-type headdress.





Sir Phillip Sherlock C.B.E., LL.D., D.C.L.,
D.Litt educator, author and poet, was formerly
Secretary to the Institute of Jamaica. He retired
as Vice Chancellor of the U.W.I. in 1969 and
is at present Secretary to the General Association
of Caribbean Universities andResearchInstitutes.
His publications include Short History of the
West Indies, Caribbean Citizen, West Indian
Story, Anansi the Spider Man, Caribbean Read-
ers, Jamaica Way, West Indian Folk Tales, Ja-
maica-A Junior History, and West Indies.

On September 4, at the kind invitation
of the Prime Minister, I had the privilege
and honour of opening this Exhibition
at the Commonwealth Institute in Lon-
don. As you know, the Exhibition was
very successful. At the request of the
Institute it was extended for a week,
and it was attended by about 7,000
persons. We had about 450 persons at
the opening-about three times as many
as the Institute anticipated-and it was
heart warming to see the pleasure and
pride with which West Indians, and
our English friends, welcomed the ex-
hibition. It was beautifully arranged,
and for this credit must go to the Insti-
tute, notably to Mr. Bowen. I was
impressed by the fact that both Mr.
Bowen and Mrs. Vera Hyatt appeared
to be in complete possession of their
senses, calm and relaxed, at the opening
ceremony. No one could possibly have
guessed that, because of unforseen
delays in taking delivery of the cases,
they had less than 48 hours in which to
unpack and put in position the 90
pieces that we now have the pleasure of
viewing this evening. And I congratulate
our National Gallery for arranging
that we here in Jamaica should have an
opportunity of seeing the Exhibition.

Unfortunately Mrs. Edna Manley
could not be with us in London, because
her doctors had advised against her
making the trip. As I said then, this
was a previous disappointment to her
and to us. She had been invited by the
Directors of the Commonwealth Institute
to exhibit her work. She accepted, and
she suggested that the invitation should
be extended to other sculptors now at
work in Jamaica. It was characteristic of
Mrs. Manley that she should have done
this, for she has always been selfless in
her dedication to her work and unselfish in
her relationships with her fellow-artists.

So it came about that through the
generosity of the Directors of the Com-
monwealth Institute and through Mrs
Manley's thoughtful act, we had the first
representative collection of the sculpture
of Jamaican artists to be held overseas.

As you see, it features the work of
Gonzalez, Harrack, Kapo, Miller, Nemb-
hard, Patrick, Sullivan, Watson as well
as of those grand pioneers, Marriott
and Edna Manley.

It is always difficult to know what to
say to a strange audience in a country
that is not one's own. For good or ill
I made three points. The first was that
in presenting the exhibition we did not
ask for any special consideration. I
emphasised that we wished to be judged
by the highest standard for it was at the
highest standards that we aimed. We
sought no patronage. All that we asked
was a judgment based on knowledge
and marked by insight.

I then went on to say that the exhibi-
tion showed where we stand as a people.
Bear in mind that there was no Jamaican
nor West Indian sculpture of note
before the 1930's, nor any West Indian
literature, nor any school of painters.
Up to the 1930's our creative potential
had lain dormant. For more than 300
years our countries had been colonies.
We were at a disadvantage as compared
with the inhabitants of other British
colonies for unlike them, we had no
memory of an earlier independence, no
history of our own group identity.
Most of us had accepted the imperial
stereotypes. We thought of Africa and
India, the homelands of the majority of
our people, as inferior places. We accept-
ed the notion of ourselves as second-class
people. We accepted values based on
colour and race, and saw blackness as
ugly and inferior. We accepted it as
natural and inevitable that the models
of excellence should be found elsewhere.
We were afraid to confront our history.
Our eyes were turned away from our
surroundings and from ourselves.

Then, in the 1920's, Marcus Garvey
spoke to us in another language. He
challenged us to smash the old stereotypes,
to put self-esteem in the place of self-
contempt, to put self-confidence and
self-reliance in the place of dependence
and self-distrust. He challenged us to
recognize that the History of Africa
had its own right to a special place and
its own special significance in the history
of civilisation. His words rang out like
a trumpet call: "Up, you mighty race,
you can accomplish what you will."
Most of those who had position and
power rejected him. The common people
never did. They heard him gladly and
they hid his words in their hearts.

The work of self-liberation had begun.

In the 1930's we began to feel that.
we belonged together and that we had a
country. We began to discover our
identity as a people. Mr. Norman Manley
emphasised the significance of this in a
speech which he made in 1938 when he
said: "In the past the majority of the
inhabitants of this country regarded
Jamaica as merely a place to live in.
There is a tremendous difference between
living in a place and belonging to it
and feeling that your own life and your
destiny is irrevocably bound up in the
the life and destiny of that place....
It is that spirit which alone encourages
the development of our national con-
sciousness and can lead us to anything
resembling civilisation".

It was out of this growing self-esteem,
out of the discovery of our group identity
that the new nations of the Common-
wealth Caribbean emerged. It was out
of the deep emotional and intellectual
experiences of that period that the art
movement grew, that our creative powers
began to manifest themselves. It was
in that moment that the artists, as Rex
Nettleford has said, "began to articulate
and to shape the indigenous culture and
national ethos rooted in the collective
experience of the Jamaican people."
And not only of the Jamaican people,
for one of the most extraordinary develop-
ments of that mountain-top dawning,
that Pisgah moment, was that together,
at the same time, yet without prior
consultation and without conscious plan-
ning, all West Indians began to claim
their countries as their own and their
communities of diverse peoples and
cultures as their people.

In these very years when Aime
Cesaire of Martinique was articulating
his philosophy of negritude, Vaughn of
Barbados was addressing his poem
"Revelation" to the black girl he loved

"Turn sideways now and let them see
What loveliness escapes the schools
Then turn again and smile and be
The perfect answer to those fools
That only prate of Greece and Rome,
"The face that launched a thousand
And such like things but keep tight
For burnished beauty nearer home."

It was in those electric years that young
George Lamming looked at the sugar-

The Angel Edna Manley (1974) (Kingston Parish Church). Photo Maria LaYacona

Lure (male and female figures) for the Norman Manley Memorial by Christopher Gonzales. Courtesy National Trust Commission

Top left: Top right:
(Two views of same picture)
Who Shall I turn to Osmond
Watson (From the artist's4
collection). Photo API

Middle left:
Figure Hylton Nembhard.
Photo API

Middle right:
Youth Winston Patrick (Courtesy
Dr. David Boxer). Photo API

Bottom left:
Mahogany Fitz Harrack (From the
Artist's collection). Photo API
Bottom right:
Head Alvin Marriott (1939) (National
Gallery). Photo API

plantation society of Barbados and the
colonial experience from within the
Castle of My Skin; that Selvon and
Naipaul were portraying the daily life
of the people of Trinidad; that Mittel-
holzer and Seymour were illuming Guy-
ana's history, and Vic Reid, Salkey, Ro-
ger Mais and John Hearne were interpre-
ting the Jamaican experience. It was in
that period that Edna Manley led the way
for our sculptors, and that Albert Huie
and other painters, with help from an
Englishman, Delves Molesworth who

was then at the Institute of Jamaica,
began to express on canvas our way of
life. It was in that period that Beryl
MacBurnie of Trinidad and Ivy Baxter
of Jamaica pioneered the way for our
dancers. It was all ours, and because it
was so uniquely our voice we gained
the power to communicate with other
artists and to understand other cultures.
It was authentic but never exclusive.
George Campbell expressed this in
lines that combine tenderness with

"Let my dreams hang intact round
my tree
And let my branches reach in every
So all the people of the world might
The beauty and the tear drops from
my hands....
And there be world possession of my
Spread thus my dreams...."
This exhibition, then, is evidence of
our nationhood, and I suggest that the

Market Woman Edna
Photo Maria LaYacona

Angel (Winged Moon Man) Kapo (Courtesy Larry Wirth, Stony Hill Hotel) The Beadseller Edna Manley (1923)
Photo API National Gallery of Jamaica

Jamaican experience, and indeed the
Starboy Kay Sullivan. Photo Owen Minott West Indian and the Caribbean ex-
perience demonstrate the indissoluble
link between self-esteem, group-identity
and creativity. There is an important
lesson here for all who are interested in
development. We have tended to speak
of economic growth, industrialisation,
modernisation as if these were the whole,
whereas in fact they are parts, indis-
pensable but nevertheless parts of a
larger and more complex whole. Mr.
Norman Manley reminded us that "Socie-
ty is a dynamic unit and it is not compris-
ed of separate or several parts.. . .
Society is a moving, living, dynamic
whole, a whole in which all the parts are
interconnected in a way that cannot
arbitrarily be changed because they are
inherent in the existence of human life."

Finally, I emphasised that this ex-
hibition was evidence of our creative
power, but that, though important in
itself, it was only a part of the evidence.
Tonight, as you look at this dramatic
record of our aspirations and frustrations,
our agonies and triumphs, set it in the
context of a larger moverhent of impress-
ive dimensions, of a great emotional
upsurge with our artists plunging deep in-
to the lives of our people. In the process
Rex Nettleford has given rich new forms
to the dance, and Derek Walcott and
Edward Brathwaite have set new direc-
tions for West Indian literature and
drama. In every field we have a growing
number of young artists, including Ras-
tafarians whose work is vigorous and
vital. In the 1930's, being still insecure,
our work was marked by vehemence
and protest. There is now a greater
certainty, for we know that we can stand
on our own feet, that we can shape and
enlarge the West Indian idiom, and that
we now have the capability to communi-
cate on equal terms with other peoples
through the arts. Secure in our sense of
identity we can now play our part, along
with artists everywhere, in overcoming the
tribalisms of this desperate period in
human history. Harold Isaacs, in his
recent book Idols of the Tribe de-
scribes our predicament: "the more
global our science and technology, the
more tribal our politics; the more
universal our system of communications,
the less we know what to communicate;
................; the more it becomes
apparent that human beings cannot
decently survive with their separateness,
.- the more separate they become. In the
face of an ever more urgent need to pool
the world's resources and its powers,
human society is splitting itself into
smaller and smaller fragments ..... ."

In these circumstances it is the artists,
perhaps more than. anyone else, who can
help us to find the language of brother-
hood. We ask you to see in this ex-
hibition both an expression of what is
uniquely ours, an expression of our
own identity, and also a new capability
for moving beyond the tribal, boundaries
to the discovery that, as Josd Marti of
"Cuba emphagised o often, whatever tlhe
differences of race we will belong to the
human race.




The East Indians are the largest ethnic
minority in Jamaica, comprising about 3.5
percent of the national population. 17 They
were brought here as indentured labourers
between 1845 and 1917; from the beginning,
they struggled for the implementation of
certain contract terms and recognition of
religious and cultural identity within a
society which had already begun struggle for
its own peculiar identity. 1,2, 16. They have
become an integral part of the Jamaican
society, sharing the national aspirations and
goals with their compatriots while retaining
distinctive cultural and to some extent,
religious identity.
The striving of Indians for a sense of
identity in this polyethnic, culturally plural-
istic and fluid society of Jamaica, provides
an interesting perspective in which one can
observe and perceive how a small but cul-
turally rich segment of the local population
accommodates and adjusts and contributes to
rather different and often contradictory
normative demands of other segments of
the society. For a realistic appreciation of
Indian cultural heritage in Jamaica, one must
acquaint himself with the cultural back-
ground of the Indian people and the econo-
mic and political conditions prevailing in
India and Jamaica during the latter half of
the 19th century and the early 20th century.
With the abolition of slavery in the British
West Indies in 1834 and the premature
ending of apprenticeship in 1838, the majority
of emancipated Negro slaves left the banana
and sugar cane plantations ',9. They sought
to wipe out the memories of slavery by
refusing to work on plantations, creating
a serious labour shortage which threatened
the very existence of plantations in the
Caribbean. At first the planters sought Euro-
pean immigrants and brought over 4,500
British, German and Portuguese immigrants
who could hardly fulfil the job requirements
Is. The search then extended to Negroes from
U.S.A., Bahamas and Western Africa but was
only partially successful. Finally the Indian
labourers were lured to Jamaica, particularly
because they had been very effective in
salvaging British Guianese plantations since
their arrival in May 1834. The die was thus
cast for the role of Indian labourers in the
revival and expansion of the Jamaican eco-
nomy. 8

The indentured labourer scheme envisaged
bringing Indian labourers on contract to
work on a plantation for a minimum of five
years. I Their return passages were to be
paid and proper residential and health re-
quirements were to be provided during their
stay in island. The recruiting depots were
opened in Calcutta and Madras and the agents
who brought the labourers to the depots
were given handsome commissions of 7
pounds in 1911; 3 Naturally, a false inflated
and misleading picture of contract terms
and renumerations was given to the innocent
and usually illiterate intending adventurers
who were supposed to have given their con-
sent in the presence of a magistrate. At the
depot,. the recruiting officer would read the
terms and conditions in clear and loud

language which the labourers could not
understand. The interpretation was usually
provided by the same commission agents
whom their clients trusted, and the poor and
innocent put their thumb impressions, on
what Ram Samuj (the 85 year old inden-
tured labourer) appropriately termed "exile
warrant". The conditions of contract forced
the labourers to work for five and a half or
six days a week with two weeks annual vaca-
tion during which they could obtain a permit
to leave the plantation i. The absence from
work was regarded as a criminal offence
leading to a prison term.
The political and economic instability
during 19th century India (when the British
East Indian Company and later the British
Government were trying to consolidate.their
rule and economic exploitation again athe:
will of the people) permitted the fraud et
and faulty recruiting system to continue for
a long time. The voices of concern against
the indentured system were raised only ter-
the formation of the Indian National Con-
gress in 1875. The inequities in the system,
the ignorance of the recruits, immorality
resulting from disproportion of sexes, and the
application of criminal law for enforcing 'a
civil contract were attacked by the Indian
leader Gopal Krishna Gokhale. 10 The
system was finally abolished in 1917 after
the British Colonial Office took into account
the Indian public opinion, increasing unrest
among the local Indians against the living
conditions of the indentured labourers coupl-
ed with the inadequacy of shipping facili-
ties during the First World War.
Initially, the recruitment of male labourers
was preferred and in many instances, women
stayed behind and waited for the husbands
return with the riches. Indeed the first ship
brought only 28 women, 200 males and 33
children under 12 years of age i3. Only in the
later years of the indentureship period were
measures taken to recruit whole families
and even people from the same area. Special
efforts were made to recruit young women,
presumably by giving fatter commissions to
the recruiters. This evidently led to the kid-
napping of women and girls, an experience
with which the victims could never reconcile.
With tears streaming down her eyes, 85 year
old Mrs. Kulsama Bux narrated to us that
unfortunate day in 1911 when as a 16 year
old girl she was returning from her uncle's
village to her father's home village Bari
Pipria (District Colonelganj), a few miles
away. On the way she was met with a recruit-
er who claimed to know her father and
offered her a ride in an Ekka (horse buggy).
She was forcibly brought to Calcutta where
all her appeals to the officer were in vain.
She was well looked after throughout, and
on reaching Westmoreland, the parental care
of the supervisor Kewal Singh saw her
married off to a Muslim gentleman from
Punjab. Similarly, Ganga Devi of St. Mary
and several others (according to their des-
cecidants) were also kidnapped.
Almost all the 36,412 Indian Labourers
came from North India; a few hundred
Madrasis that were recruited between 1845

and 1850 earned a bad reputation probably
because they were more susceptibleto malaria
and hookworm. Of the 6,151 immigrants
during the 1900-1913 period, 4,447 (72.%)
came from Uttar Pradesh, mostly from the
eastern districts; another 830 (13.6%) were
recruited from the adjoining Bibar and
Central Provinces, 478 (7.5%) from. the far
fung Punjab and. North West. Frontiers
province and the rest. from Assam, npgal,
Orrisa and Rajasthan.. Among these-nm-
migrants, there were 3 Christians, 979 Mus-
lims, 1,098 Brahmins and Kshatriyas
(surnames Mahraj or Maragh and Singh),
1881 from agricultural communities, 378
artisans and 1,815 low caste Hindus. 14, 6.
On landing in Jamaia, they wer.di ptcj4
ed in working parties' of 20 to 40 ija al
to. plantations, particularly in S.rTllhom
Pottland, St. 'Mary, Westmoldi ad
Clarendon. They livedvn6barMracl k' iew'0 e
separatedfrom those of Negroes.: lI s.ioui-:
ing conditions, and food supplioesweVionly
good enough for survival; adequatM6 alth
care was almost non-existent i. The baraks
offered, no privacy to married couples qr
families, resulting in inevitable sea crime-
during the early years of im aion..
Malaria and hookworm infestations etd
heavy motiality, in fact bt of 5.003 A-.
rants in 1848; 1, 50i3 idlvduals-dt ."
eases 'or were unaccounted foi.
sickness usually incapacitated a large~leg
ment ;of the population resulting in loss 6f
income, poor nutrition, low vitality ianl
perpetual ill health and poverty. The fear in
the poor but self-respecting labourers, of
being disgraced by the prison term, often
forced many sick people to report for work
since 'invisible' ficknesses like fatigue, and
aches were not accepted.
Perhaps the hardest decision for an Indian
is to leave his.home, be it for a few months in
a nearby city, or a few years in a far away land.
The very sight of his near and dear ones
inspires the soul and infuses the all-important
confidence, all the living and non-living
cohabitants of his home environs induce a
cosy sense of belonging; the perception,
realization and experience of these visible
and invisible, real and imaginary, and physical
and metaphysical factors provide the unique
pleasure, joy, happiness, contentment and
satisfaction to an Indian even in the midst of
material poverty. What had then attracted-so
many Indians to the far away Caribbean
Islands? Such emotionally tormenting re-
flections still bring tears in the eyes of those
original indentured labourers who are still
surviving in Jamaica.

Most of the aging labourers hold the tradi-
tion of their motherland in blaming .no one
but themselves for jumping into an uncertain,
unknown and mostly unrewarding world.
"Our vision was marred by the exaggerated
and inflated picture of prosperity in the.
promised land; contentment yielded to greed
and lust for richness; youth, ambition,
inexperience and naivety made us trust the
recruiters claims that we would become rich
in five years, and we have paid dearly for our
expediency", affirms Imam Ali in conveying



the emotional despondency and material
frustrations of almost every Indian labourer
of his generation and those before him.
Undoubtedly, the indentured labourers
came to Jamaica to earn a "fortune" for
starting a better life back in India. When
Imam Ali was lured into leaving ten
acres of fertile land in Village Hariharpur
(District Bahraich, U.P.) and four pairs
of bullocks, -he was abandoning pros-
perity even from the present standards. A
fit of anger after being disciplined by his
well-to-do father drove Calu to Jamaica via
the recruiters in Calcutta, an act which he
always regretted. Family quarrels forced
Jagdish Narain, a landlord of Gorakhpur
district to seek peace elsewhere in the world-
and these are not isolated instances. Natural
disasters such as floods and droughts in
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh states of North
India had left many with no choice.

Whatever the reasons for their coming
to the West Indies, the first batch of Indian
labourers who set their feet on the fertile
land of Jamaica on May 9, 1845, had 13 no
idea that their numbers would swell to 5,500
in the next three years, or the recruiters would
take another 55 years to lure only 23,395
more of their compatriots to an over-exaggera-
ted picture of prosperity, or that another
7,517 people would cross the seas for
Jamaica in this century before the highly
controversial and often fraudulent system
of indentured labourers was abandoned in
1917. Little did these innocent coolies (mean-
ing dedicated labourers) visualize that -a
significant number of them would succumb
to the vagaries of nature, about one third
would flee the scene and return to a familiar
and settled life of their motherland while
most of them would accept happily or
otherwise the "arranged marriage" with the
lovely and picturesque island of Jamaica.*
Official records claim that the indentured
labourers who stayed back in Jamaica did
so because the conditions in India were
deplorable.2Orr own interviews with a number
of original immigrants and their first genera-
tion Jamaicans suggest that they had never
abandoned the hope or desire to return to
India. Their feelings were aptly summed up
by Imam Ali through a couplet written
during his last days by the last Emperor of
India, Bahadur Shah Zafar, who was exiled
by the British to Burma in 1857:
"Kitna hi badnaseeb Zafar dafan ke liye,
(How unfortunate is Zafar for burial)
Do gaz zamin 'bhi na' mili kooai yar
mein" (couldn't get even two yards of
land in motherland)
There were a number of official and
personal factors which were responsible for
the permanent settlement of over 60%
of the immigrants in Jamaica. The hard-
working Indians were badly needed for the
continued success of the Jamaican economy,
which they had virtually salvaged from total
disaster. Consequently, their return passage
was deferred for another five years and a
"system of reindentures had been adopted

which kept the immigrants under perpetual
indenture". 2, The scheme of offering grants
of money or land in lieu of the return passage
made some headway in Jamaica after 1903.2
Often the offer was forced upon them by
rejecting their genuine and legal rights to
claim return passage grants on flimsy excuses.
For instance Jagdish Narain was refused
permission to return in 1920s because he
had got married to a 'foreigner'-a Jamaican
Indian girl. Many others were not even
considered for the settlement offer because
they were too poor (due to continued poor
health or otherwise) to buy return passage
for the increased family and resettle them
back in India and thus had no choice.
Marriages among several indentured labou-
rers and their dependents had also woven
intricate relationships among many families
originating from distant places in India;
transplanting the entire structure to a new-
place in India was indeed difficult, if not
senseless. Acquisition of property and mod-
erately successful business were also good
incentives for some to settle down perma-

Be that as it may, the majority of Indian
indentured labourers did settle down in an
atmosphere of unnecessary prejudice, hate,
ridicule and exploitation during the days
when everything in Jamaica was seen through
the European eyes. Since they came to do the
jobs which the emancipated African slaves
did not like to do, they 'were considered
"inferior" in certain ways. Because they
brought with them a rich and sophisticated
religion and culture, which was different from
those of the rulers, they were ridiculed by
ignorant individuals, officials and organiza-

During the pre-independence era, the
culture, religion and social traditions of the
Indian labourers were never understood or
appreciated in Jamaica. In 1922, a British
Government report described the East Indians
in the West Indies as "largely illiterate,
speaking five or six different languages, 'and
living a life of their own." 2 Such evalua-
tion of Indian culture has indeed been a
fallacy of British-style thinking and attitude-
if one did not speak English or had different
social norms, one was not considered literate
or cultured. On the -shallowness of Western
people about India and Indian Society,,
the noted historian Will Durant states:
"Nothing should more deeply shame the
modern student than the recency and in-
adequacy of his acquaintnace with India.
Here is......an impressive continuity of deve-
lopment and civilization from Mohenjo-
daro, 2,900 B.C. or earlier, to Ghandi, Raman
and Tagore: faiths compassing every stage
from barbarous idolatry to the most
subtle and spiritual pantheism; philosophers
playing a thousand variations on one
monistic theme for Upanishads eight centu-
ries before Christ to Shankara, eight centuries
after him; scientists developing astronomy
three thousand years ago and bringing
Nobel prizes in our times; a democratic
constitution of untraceable antiquity in the
villages........; ministrels singing great epics
almost as old as Homer, and poets holding

world audience today: artists raising gigantic
temples for Hindu gods from Tibet to Ceylon
and from Cambodia to Java or carving perfect
palaces by the scores for Mughal Kings and
queens-this is India that patient scholarship
is now opening up like a new intellectual
continent, to that western mind which only
yesterday thought civilization an exclusively
European thing."
Since Hinduism and Buddhism-the two
native religions of India, are more of a
personalized philosophy and way of life than
an institutionalized religion, they have evolv-
ed certain set patterns in the social life of
Indians. Indian mythology which spans the
entire human civilization is distinguished from
that of most other lands by the fact that it
is still part of living culture at every level of

Kulma Bux

Imam Alm

il' i

Group of early Indian Labourers posing for a photograph intheir body (extreme left, second row) or a saree (middle second row).
native dress. Most of the men, obviously direct from work, are In the background is a replca of a temple. made of bamboo,
wearing dhoti; the women wear a thiee-piece dress Aith lahanga cloth and paper. The double-ended drum dholak is on display. The
(long skirt), blouse and udhni (long scarf) to cover the head and central figure in the front row wears prayer beads.


Post-indentureship Indian settlement. Note the change in dress; while t
the women no longer wear saree but the long western dress of the modified
period; figure far left has adopted the African style head-tie, manner

he older women seen in the centre of the picture, have
id this style. The two men squatting in typically Indian
,wear the Indian kusta (shirt) and payjama. WIRL

society. Indians have always tended to retain
their early beliefs and mould them into new
social conditions and philosophies. Every
cultural, artistic and philosophical activity
of an individual has a religious significance;
for most if not every situation, there is some
direct or indirect mythological or historical
precedent to provide guidance. It should
therefore not be an exaggeration to state that
every Indian indentured labourer, regardless
of his illiteracy and poverty, was just as much
familiar with various religious and social
structures and cultural traditions of an Indian
society, as his rich or educated compatriots;
their poverty and misfortunes may have
exposed certain weaknesses which are usually
masked by riches in others.

Indeed the coolies, particularly from Bihar
and U.P. were proudly aware of the fact that
Lord Rama, Lord Krishna, Lord Mahavira
and Lord Buddha were born in their midst.
They may have never read scriptures but the
philosophies of their great teachers were
engrained in their names, customs, traditions
and songs. The use of Kabir's dohas (couplets),
Tulsidas's chaupais (stanzas) and Hanuman
Chalisa as proverbs, was bewilderingly com-

A number of rather powerful factors never
permitted the true Indian culture to get
a sound foothold in Jamaica thus depriving a
developing society of at least certain good
points of an established civilization. The
recruitment policies, particularly of the last
century were not conducive to the establish-
ment of Indian culture as men were preferred
over women and families. 14,15 The religious
and cultural feelings of the Indians were never
considered by the recruiting authorities.
Though an overwhelming majority of the
labourers were Hindus, followed by Muslims,
priests were never recruited for satisfying
religious sentiments of the labourers. Some
priests did come but only as indentured
labourers; they practiced priesthood as a
part-time profession or service. Ganga
Mahraj was recruited in 1890s on the pretext
that he would be a priest in Jamaica, but
there was only one way to go-sign the in-
dentured labour contract. On reaching Cla-
rendon, he was charged with a criminal
offence for refusing to be a labourer. Ganga
Mahraj was adamant on the only role that he
was to play in Jamaica and chopped off his
right hand to escape criminal proceedings.
To this day, he is remembered by his grand-
son, Muneshwar Maragh, J.P. and others as
"Lulua Baba" or handless priest.

At the end of their indentureship contract,
many Indians reverted to their ancestral
occupations, some became farmers or fisher,
men, while others returned to the trades of
barber, gold-smith and Iron-smith. Some
became money-lenders, with all the social
advantages and disadvantages. However a
few were inspired and stimulated by the
beauty of land and sea, to seek a metaphysical
merger with the creator. Some individuals
thus became Sadluis (holy men) in the Hindu
tradition; they lived on alms and spent their
lives in meditation and singing of devotional
songs. Among them Kesho Das of Portland
is remembered with some reverence.

The process of "deculturalization and
Christianization" of Indians was not only
confined to deprivation of religious and cul-
tural facilities and atmosphere. Concentrated
and in most instances successful efforts, were
made to crush their individuality by changing
an Indian name which always meant some-
thing, to an anglicized one which meant
nothing. For instance, Janki became John
King, Dinesh became Denis and so on. The
traditional Indian practice of naming the
boys after Gods and heroes and the girls
after Godesses, rivers, flowers, seasons moods

etc. or with words of great significance
(e.g. Amar, meaning immortal) has now been
completely abandoned. Almost every Indian
regardless of his or her religion has Angli-
cized first and second names; the surnames
too have changed except Maraghs, Singhs

and Tewaris. Indeed the official policy of the
West Indian Governments of those days
(as outlined by Governor Keate of Trinidad)
had been to aid Christian institutions by
alienating Indian children from parental
influence so that a nucleus of Indian popula-
tion could be created which was Indian in
appearance but English in education and

Furthermore, Hindu and Muslim marriages
were not recognized legally, giving bastardly
legal status to Indian children and inducing
a feeling of immorality in their minds.
The lack of educational facilities for non-
christians further assisted in "denaturaliza-
tion" of an Indian; the price of education and
probable prosperity was the loss of religion,
culture and identity. Thus the authorities,
whether in collusion with Christian missiona-
ries or not, had created, preserved and
encouraged an atmosphere which was adverse
if not fatal, for the retention and develop-
tion of any culture or value that was not

The parent Indian society must also take
their share of blame; nowhere in the world
have the Indian settlers been so completely
abandoned by Indian cultural or religious
organizations as in Jamaica. The only cultur-
al inflow which the local Indians everhad from
India was through the new immigrants, a
flow which ended in 1917. During the past
two decades or so, an invisible and often
imaginary umbilical cord has been revived
through occasional shows of Indian movies
and the visits by Indian Cricket teams.

The foundations of Indian culture in the
West Indies as a whole were laid down by the
strong social and cultural awareness in the
coolies. This, according to Hosein, 18 deve-
loped bonds of race and fellowhsip even as
early as in recruiting depots in India. On
ship, close emotional ties were established
which later flourished as family relationships
regardless of caste or religion. The segrega-
tion of Indians in plantations, their legalized
immobility out of the plantation premises,
the differences in their language, religion,
social manners and culture further cemented
the Indians together. Thus, a new racial and
cultural entity was established in Jamaica,
whose forced isolation gave the impression of
racial prejudice.

The plantation society was highly stratified
according to occupational status, prank and
authority, permitting absolutely no mobility.8
Indians in Trinidad were relieved of those
strains some 106 years ago when the establish-
ment of Indian villages provided opportunity
for the revival of traditional Indian family and
social life. 12 In Jamaica, small and isolated
plantation populations developed centres of
Indian culture which flourished until around
1940. However, the continued stresses on their
religion and culture led to inevitable modifica-
tion and often abandonment of many golden
values. Still the culture persists in many
ways among over 56,000 individuals of
Indian origin scattered all over the island.

The distinguishing features of an Indian
society have been the Panchayata system
caste heirarchy (Hindus) and the joint family
system. Religious ceremonies, social customs
and traditions, dress, food and music are also
distinctly different from any western society.
In Jamaica, most of these features have been
modified by the settlers while retaining their
essential values.

From time immemorial, an Indian com-
munity has always been governed by a
democratically elected Panchayat (Council of
five) whose decisions were binding; such
panchyatas were always set up by settlers in
plantations by electing Sardars (supervisors)
and elders. Later on, landlords, money
lenders and priest exercised great influence
on the community. However, as the Indian
population started dispersing and integrating
into the general socio-economic pattern of the
island, the system broke down some thirty
years ago. 21

The intricate caste system of Hindu society
has always puzzled others. In every society,
birth alone decides a person's social status and
economic opportunities; such inequalities
have been maintained by law, sanctioned by
religious institutions of recent times and
accepted by the general masses. It is therefore
not astonishing to find that the Hindu society
whose traditions go back to prehistoric times.
had also evolved a social system, based upon
the birth of an individual. The first mention of
Jati (or caste as termed by Portuguese) is in
the Hindu philosophical scriptures, the Riga
Veda (2nd millennium B.C.) and has since been
incorporated into mythology. Legend has it
that Hindus were created from the person of
Brahma-the creator; Brahmin (the priest)
from his head, Kshatriya (the warriors and
rulers) from the arms. The Vaishya (business
and agriculture caste) from the thighs and
Sudras (menial class) from the feet. 21

The social origin of the caste system is
believed to have been started by the appre-
hensive Indo-Aryan settlers who wanted to
preserve racial purity. However, most scho-
lars feel that the need for efficient labour and
development of professional skills which
could be selflessly passed on to the next
generation, prompted the establishment of
caste system. Whatever its origin, the caste
system had been the most guarded institution
of Hindu society, Each caste, which is sub-
divided into dozens of sub-castes, is an
autonomous, self-sufficient and independent
unit, governed by its own council. A pious
Hindu would proudly accept his place in the
caste system and find contentment within its
obligations, limitations, rights and duties.
However, abhorrent practices during the past
few centuries had led to its abolition in 1947.

The close ties developed between Jahaji
Bhai and Bahin (Ship-brother and sister) and
the peculiar life of plantations of Jamaica
surpassed the rigidtiy of caste and religious
barriers in social life and marriages. Yet, the
Hindu-Muslim or Brahmin-non-Brahmin sen-
timents were respected by each other. The
traditional practice of greeting a Brahmin
with respectful word "payalagi" (touch your
feet) or a Kshatriya with Pranam was in
vogue until the late 1940's. The supervisory
duties in plantations were always given to
those of higher caste. The proximity of
individuals in a samll community encouraged
inter-caste marriages, though one always
preferred to marry within one's own caste
or religion. Today most young Hindus do
not even know the caste of their parents or
grand parents, unless, of course they have
surnames like Maragh or Singh.

An Indian is born into an age old institu-
tion of the joint family system in which
brothers, their wives and children all live
together with the parents. After marriage
sons bring their wives into the family home
while the daughters leave to join their
husband's family. This sort of communism
which envisages the oldest member as the
head of the family, pooling together of all
the resources and spending on individuals
according to needs, provides economic,
social and emotional security and equal
opportunity to every member of the family. 21


Plate 1. Parchhan (welcome) ceremony by mother-in-law.

Plate 3. Jaya Mala (groom returns the gesture)

ate 2. Jaya Mala (bride welcomes the groom)
Plate 2. Jaya Mala (bride welcomes the groom)

Plate 4. Diya Bama (lighting the lamp)

An Indian thus learns to share prosperity,
happiness, sorrows and misfortunes with
others. Indeed, Indian immigrants to North
America and Europe still prefer to share
their weekend meals and vacations with
friends and relatives rather than the family
going "alone" to a resort; apparently an
emotionally charged environment is necessary
for our inspiration and happiness.

The extended family system was developed
in Jamaica by the growth of individual family
units of the immigrants, and was fairly
common up to the previous generation.
However, the changing pattern of life in
modern Jamaica and India, dictated by job
opportunities in urban or distant places, has
caused severe strain on the continuation of the
joint family system in a physical sense.
Furthermore, the desire to have an individual
family unit is fairly strong among the modern
westernized youth; inter-racial marriages
have also contributed to the adaptation of
the European style family system. Still,
many Indians retain the joint family system;
the Hafizullahs of Annotto Bay are an
excellent example where daughters and son-in
-law of different ethnic origins live in perfect
harmony under the "parental shadow" while
retaining individual professions and liberties.

In spite of modifications in the family
system, the words 'family' and 'relatives' have
not lost their magic or magnetism in arousing
traditional loyalties and emotions. The feel-
ing of closeness between parents and children,
brothers, sisters, cousins and uncles, and the
concern for each other's welfare still exist.
The elders may not be able to dictate, yet
feel responsible for the welfare of younger
ones. An uncle or elder brother automatical-
ly assumes financial and other responsibilities
of younger ones, should the situation demand
(present example, an Indian family of
Waltham Park, Kingston). The younger
generation also returns the gratitude by
looking after the old and retired elders; it is
notuncommon to see family members sitting

around their sick or invalid elders and singing
or narrating stories in the evenings.

The relationship between different members
of a family is uniquely traditional. An Indian
girl, regardless of her education or social
status, still regards home-building as her
primary role. Among the couples in their
forties or over, the wives revere their hus-
bands, many waiting for them to finish
dinner before starting their own. Indeed
tremendous capacity for tolerance and
sacrifice in the Indian women is responsible
for the success of some marriages, particu-
larly among the lower economic strata of the
society where one may see some husbands
addicted to rum, leaving the entire family
responsibilities on the wife. Various stresses
on the traditional family system have
brought about rather adverse changes in the
upbringing of children. The practice of
evening story-telling sessions during which
various essential values of life were instilled
in children, has almost completely dissap-
peared. No wonder so many of the present
generation of Indians have personality con-
For an orthodox Hindu, there are 12
purifactory rites or Samskaras 21 starting
soon after the wedding and covering all
important aspects of a child from birth
through education to marriage. Some of these
have been retained as customs by many
Indian Muslims and Christians also. The
principal ceremonies prescribed for a boy
by ancient law-givers are (1) Garbha-lambhana
(impregnation); (2) Pumsavana (male produc-
tion); (3) Simantonnayana (hair parting);
(4) Jata Karman (birth ceremony); (5) Nama
karna (name giving); (6) Nish-Karamana
(carrying out); (7) Anna Prasana (food-giving)

(8) Kshaura (shaving); (9) Kesanta tonsuree);
(10) Upanayana (initiation); (11) Samalartana
(return from the house of the preceptor);
(12) Vivaha (marriage).
Most Hindus around the world, particular-
ly in Jamaica, do not observe the first three

samskaras. The Jata Karman and Nama
Karna have been combined in one and are
either celebrated on the sixth (chatti) or
twelveth (barahi) day after birth. Jamaican
Hindu parents usually hold prayers at their
homes, and the priest ceremoniously uses
the child's name in the prayers. (The tradi-
tional Indian custom of priest preparing the
horoscope and suggesting a few astrologically
auspicious names was apparently never
followed here). Later, the traditional Sohar
songs are sung by ladies, followed by drinking
and feasting; many Christians of Indian
origin also celebrate barahi in this manner.
The Nishkaranana rite which involved the
ceremonial exposure of child to open air
and sun during the fourth month after birth
is not observed here. However, the twin
ceremonies of shaving and tonsure of head
are still common among many Jamaican
Hindus and some Christians. While the priest
chants Mantras, the child's head is shaved,
this follows folk singing, dancing and feasting.
The higher caste Hindus practiced the
initiation or sacred thread ceremony till the
1940s or so. The Samvartana or "graduation"
ceremony used to be after the completion of
formal education by the son and his exaltation
from Brahmchar to Snatak or householder;
only a few individuals in Jamaica attach
the traditional significance to their children's
Marriage in an Indian society is the most
important and usually most expensive social
ceremony; for Hindu parents, it is the last
samskar. Traditionally, marriage is not en-
trusted to the myopia of passion or the
accident of proximity of the youth; it is
arranged by the parents before the fever of
sex preciptiates a union which is doomed to
disillusionment and failure (considering the
high rate of divorces and separations in the
western world, there is apparently some
merit in the system). Manu's code also
permits marriages of mutual choice called
Gandharva vivah, but the society had stig-
matized it as a union motivated by physical

desire. Indian society also perferred early
marriages which acted as "a barrier against
the premarital relations." The strong reli-
gious and social sanctions used by every
religious group in the inculcation of wifely
fidelity made adultery much more difficult
and rare than in Europe and America. 7
In modern India, the minimum marriage
age has been raised to 16 years, though most
educated girls marry after 20 and boys
after 25, still individuals are expected to
refrain from pre-marital sex. Arranged mar-
riage is becoming more of an arranged
introduction after prior screening by the
parents. With greater opportunity for the
young people to meet and know each other,
Gandharva vivah are increasing, though
rarely without parental considerations and
consent. The scientific eugenic principles are
strictly observed by the Hindus who do not
marry within seventh cousins. Many Chris-
tians have retained the tradition of their
Hindu ancestors while the Muslims do not
mind marriages within cousins and step
In Jamaica, early and arranged marriages
had been the custom among the Indians till
mid-1950s. The parents still consider it their
moral responsibility to marry off sons and
daughters, and are always on the lookout
for prospective matches. Dating among the
middle class Hindus is still not common,
most others may allow it but with restrictions.
Caste and religious barriers have broken down
from the earlier days; inter-racial marriages
are now becoming common. Some educated
Indian girls are influenced by their mother's
plight against alcoholic fathers.
Whatever be the source of their introduc-

tion, parentally arranged or otherwise, once
the prospective couple make up their minds,
they convey their wishes to the parents.
In the traditional Hindu way, the girl's
parents carry the formal proposal to the
boy's parents who promptly accept; among
the Muslims, the boy's family makes the
proposal. The two families then discuss the
dates and details of wedding ceremony.
Unlike Hindu society in India where auspi-
cious dates are astrologically selected, the
local Hindus select the weekends. The dowry
is never a subject for discussion or expectation,
though parents try to give as much to their
daughters as they can afford.
The engagement ceremony in Jamaica is
rather an informal presentation of a ring to
the girl. Among the Christians, the wedding
ceremony is performed in the western
Christian fashion. The Muslims have a
typically Islamic ceremony in which the priest
(Mullah) performs the Nikah at the bride's
home. The bride and bridegroom are seated
far apart, and through a messenger, they
convey their consent and sign the agreement
(an old Islamic registration system). This is
followed by prayers and traditional Indian
The Hindus of Jamaica have proudly
retained almost all the traditional wedding
ceremonies and customs which are so common
in their ancestral home in U.P. and Bihar.
A couple of days before the wedding, Tilak
ceremony is usually performed with special
prayers at the bride's place, followed by a
similar ceremony at the bridegroom's home
where the bride's father and family members
ceremonially present special gifts to the
bridegroom. All the Hindu weddings in
Jamaica are held at the bride's home; in

Trinidad, Guyana, Surinam and India, some
people find temples a more convenient
location. Regardless of the site, the bride's
family is always the host.
Traditionally, the bridegroom goes to the
bride's home in a gay and "imperial" pro-
cession called barat. In India barat is led
by a richly attired musical band, followed by
relatives and family friends; the bridegroom,
riding a tastefully decorated horse, elephant
or car, is always at the end, flanked by his
friends. Mobile gas lamps, crackers and
fireworks bring down the galaxy of stars to
earth and delight the residents and passers-by
along the route. In Jamaica, Barat is an
integral part of Hindu and Muslim weddings,
though it never attained the grandeur of an
Indian barat. In the countryside the band
usually includes Dholak.Majeera and Dhantal,
and within the metropolitan area, barat, often
assembles outside bride's home. The signifi-
cance of barat has an age old tradition of
making the groom and his family and friends
to "go all the way" to bring his bride cere-
moniously from her home. The bridegroom
leads the barat within the gates of the bride's
home and is traditionally welcomed by the
mother-in-law in the "dwarchar" ceremony
(plate 1); during this period baratis (members
of barat) are greeted by the host and his
guests. The groom then waits alone for a few
moments while the bride comes out majesti-
cally, with a garland in hand and flanked by
sisters and girl friends amidst singing of
love songs and greets the groom who later
returns the gesture (plates 2, 3).
The wedding ceremony is performed in a
special area called mandap, which is about
6 8 ft. square with four bamboo poles at
each end and a central thick post: usually

Plate 7. Phera (taking seven rounds of fire:
finalization of marriage


i^ -
^ ^
..' ij

Plates 5. & 6 Kanya dan (giving away of daughter)


mandap is erected outside though some prefer
indoors. Each post is wrapped with mango
and banana leaves and paper buntings,
strings of leaves and buntings also criss-cross
the tops of each pole, giving the mandap an
appearance of a tropical hut. The prayer
area is in the centre and includes the Vedi or
altar made of tray filled with earth on which
are made floral patterns, along with OM or
Swastika signs. (plates 4,7). Around or on the
Vedi are jug of water, an earthen pitcher with
water, on top of whichis-a small plate with an
oil lamp and several food grains. Also
present are a steel or earthen plate with
burning charcoal and mango twigs and idols
of Lord Ganesh and Lord Krishna. The five
omnipresent elements-the sky, the earth,
the air, the fire and the water are thus pre-
sent in the mandap to witness the wedding

The priest sits on one side facing north or
west and chants Mantras while the groom
sits on his left and lights the lamps-"for a
bright and prosperous married life" (plate 4)
The bride is then brought by the parents and
seated opposite the groom, and the father
now starts the Kanyadan (giving away of
daughter) ceremony (plate 5) in which he is
later joined by the mother and son (plate 6).
The ceremony involves the putting of the
bride's hands which are full of grains and
money (signifying prosperity) on to the
groom's. This is followed by Phera ceremony
which binds the couple into eternal bondage
(plate 7). The end of a scarf from the groom is
tied to the end of the bride's saree palloo
and the two make seven rounds of the prayer
area, taking vows amidst changing of Mantras
by the priest; the bride leads, the groom in
the first three rounds and follows him there-
after-until death. Hindu marriage is legally
completed after the seventh phera.
The husband now performs sindurdan
ceremony by putting vermillion powder on
the hair parting of the wife (plate 8). A
Hindu lady puts on sindur every morning
until she is widowed. The brjde greets the
husband by applying sindur tika (vermillion
round mark) on his forehead. Once the
couple have accepted each other as partners
for better or worse, she puts her hand on his
and the priest holds the other hand and makes
the couple repeat seven vows for everyone to
hear (plate 10.) The exchange of rings and
signing of marriage register (plates 11 and 12)
are western adaptations.
In India, Hindu marriages are never regis-
tered for legal purposes. The couple take
vows in the presence of five essential and
omnipresent elements and make a moral
commitment to themselves. The presence of
relatives and friends is enough to apply social
pressure for accommodation, should relations
between the couple get rough. Since inde-
pendence in 1947, a Hindu couple in India
may obtain a certificate of marriage by
filing an affidavit with the magistrate-but
it is not a requirement. In Jamaica, Hindu
marriages were not recognized until 1957
when the Hindu Marriage Law gave legal
status to all the marriages since 1954.
The wedding ceremonies end with some
little games between husband and wife,
which are designed in such a way that both
lose a few and win a few-yes no one can
win them all. Finally, the husband and wife
feed sweets to each other signifying the fact
that the sweetness in ealch other's future
depends on them, individually and jointly
(plates 13 and 14).

The concept of attainment of Moksha
(salvation) and transmigration of soul has
introduced certain distinctly unique funeral
rites and ceremonies among the Hindus around
the World. In India, the corpse of a Hindu or
Muslim is washed and perfumed, covered
with a length of white unstitched muslin and

decked with flowers. Hindus do not use
coffins; rich or poor, everyone is carried on a
bamboo stretcher, covered with banana or
mango leaves. The body is either immersed
in a deep river with weights, for aquatic
animals to feed on, or is more commonly
cremated in a wood pyre or electric crema-
torium. Muslims carry the body on a cot
and bury it. The funeral is almost always
within a day of the death.

Jamaican Hindus never had proper crema-
tion facilities; earlier some rich Hindu dead
bodies were enclosed in lead coffins and
immersed in deep sea, while others were
buried in a completely Indian "atmosphere".
Now-a-days completely western burial prac-
tices are followed, except for the Hindu or
Muslim prayers. Soon after death, the body
is taken by the undertakers, and on the day
of the funeral, it is brought to the de-
ceased's home in a coffin and lies in state for
a few hours. Just before being taken for
burial, the priest offers special prayers
followed by chanting of mantras and devo-
tional songs.

Mourning in a Jamaican Hindu family
lasts for thirteen days, during which incense
is burntcontinuously at home with occasional
prayers. On the last day, there is a special
puja (prayer) in the morning, followed by a
community dinner. Muslims mourn for forty
days, in a similar fashion. Almost all the
Hindus and many christians perform Shradda
ceremony on the first death anniversary by
prayers, feasts and a musical evening.

All the Indianimmigrants (except Madrasis)
spoke Hindi, mostly in Bhojpuri and Oudhi
dialects. Until around 1950, most Indians
preferred to converse in Hindi because
many individuals, particularly ladies, knew
no other language. Today almost every one
speaks English and the knowledge of Hindi
is restricted mostly to those above 50-55
years of age. It has also changed the tradi-
tional way of addressing a relative with the
specific Hindi word. Up to the middle of this
century, Indians in Jamaica always addressed
maternal grandfather, grandmother, uncle
and aunt as Nana, Nani, Mama, and Mami
respectively. Similarly, Chacha or Kaka and
Chachi or Kaki (father's brother and his
wife), Mausi and Mausa (mother's sister and
her husband), Bhaiyya (brother), Bahini
(sister), Amman (Mother) Bapa or Dada
(father), Bahuji (brother's wife), Sala and
Sali (wife's brother and his wife) were in
common usage. One hardly hears these
terms now except from older people or fami-
lies with strict Indian traditions. Indeed the
language is dying fast as the life style of
younger generation is becoming more in-

Though all the Indians landed here in
their native dresses, men in Kurta-dhoti or
Kurta-payjama, and women in saree or
Lahanga (long skirt), they changed them soon
to the Western style. The older ladies still
wear long gown-like dresses with a scarf
on the head. The traditional Indian saree
can still be seen during festivals or weddings,
but the men never put on any Indian attire
except the priests. The wearing of the turban
by men rapidly fell into disuse after their
arrival in Jamaica.

Indian ladies have always been fond of
jewellery; the art in India being distinctly
different from other parts of the world. The
immigrants brought with them various types
of gold and silver ornaments such as Churis
(bangles), Haar (necklace), Bunda and Jhumka
(ear-rings and tops), Kangan (bracelet),
Kardhani (waist belt) and Payal (anklet).
During the early part of this century, many
professional jewellers immigrated from India
and established new and thriving businesses

(e.g. Williams Jewellers). The typical Indian
bangles and necklaces have become famous
souvenirs for the West Indian tourists.

The Indians introduced several plants and
trees in Jamaica, the most common being
Tulsi, Paan (Betel leaves), Suparee (betel nut),
Bair (coolie plum) Aam (mango), Kathal
(jackfruit) and Imli (tamrind). The technical
knowledge of agriculture enabled the coolies
to successfully cultivate paddy, gram and
various varieties (moong, urd) of pulses in
Jamaica. Even those plants which provided
their favourite intoxicating drinks such as
Bhang (hemp), or smokes such as Ganja
(Cannabis) and Charas were not left behind.
The Chilam which is usually associated with
tobacco smoking in India is synonymous
with ganja in Jamaica.

The social life in plantations was restricted
and simple; after nine hours of work, people
had little time or energy to indulge in any
social or cultural activity. While the ladies
did the domestic chores, menfolk sat in small
groups, chatted and smoked tobacco or
ganja. Later on, rum became the favourite
drink for getting over physical tiredness and
emotional frustrations. Some energetic young
people would occasionally start singing
folk songs on dholak, until they fell asleep.
On the weekends,, people had more leisure
and always arranged community musical
evenings preceded by Katha or Moulad
shareef (prayers). Festivals like Diwali, Holi
and Hosay were always big occasions.
The restrictions on the movement of
Indians beyond a two mile limit never allowed
the system of social calls to develop. The
usual manner of greeting was dictated by
caste; priests were wished paylagi, others
with Ram Ram, sita Ram, Jai Ramji or
Namaste: Muslims greeted with Salaam.
Greetings were always followed by the enquiry
kaisan haal hai (how are you?). These
practices were in vogue until around 1950,
though most old people, Hindu or Muslim,
still greet us with Jai Ramji and Kaisan haal

A visit by strangers like us to a typically
Jamaican Indian home elicits a spectrum of
response fromthe host, ranging from complete
Indian or Western mannerism and cordiality
to rather unintentional indifference and
confusion. In the traditional Indian way,
many hosts serve drinks or snacks with the
right hand with the left hand under the right
hand or touching the right elbow, and bow-
ing down slightly before the guest. A good
percentage of menfolk behave towards ladies
in a manner not considered acceptable;
they tend to ignore an approaching lady
and do not rise to greet her.

Indians have always been superstitious
people, particularly in matters of the welfare
of their dear ones. It is not uncommon to
see babies in India with a small black mark
somewhere on their face to ward off Nazar
(evil eye). Should a child get sick, someone
with recognized psychic powers is called to
do Jharphunk; he chants mantras quietly and
then blows air over the patient's body. It was
a normal practice for Jamaican Indians too,
to cure various digestive and respiratory
disorders in children, and aches and pains or
insect and scorpion bites, in this manner.
Some families with old grandparents still
practice the faith healing.

The food habits of Indians have a distinctly
Indian flavour and taste. A typical Indian
dinner consists of curried goat, Roti or Daal
Puri (roti stuffed with lentils), Daal (pulses)
usually cooked with raw mangoes, Aaloo
tarkari (curried potato), and one tarkari
(fried vegetables) such as Bhanta (eggplant),
Karela (bitter gourd), Bhindi (okra), Lauki

Plate 8. Sindur-dan: the groom puts vernmidon powder on wte pasiUng of brides hail. Plate 9. Tika the bnde puts the good luck mark on his lorehead

Plate 10. Sapta-Vachan the couple takes seven vows.

Plate 12. Signing of register (Western adaptation)

Plate 11. Exchange of rngs (Western adaptation)

Plate 13.
Kohbar celemonoy (feeding ieetl to each other). Plate 14. Kohbar ceremony breedingg sweets to each other.

(squash), Semia (flat beans), and Bhat;
Kamranga and mango achar (pickles) or
mango chutney are the common appetizers.
Among the common spice names used by the
Indians are Jeera (cumin), dhania (corriander)
methi, pudina (mint), long (cloves) Ilaichi,
(cardamom), and haldi (turmeric). Laddoo
Khurma, pua, gulgula, jalebi, kheer and halwa
are the common sweet dishes. Savoury
snacks are limited to bada, phulaori, mungaora
and namkeen or namak para. Since the
introduction in 1973, coconut burfi (fudge),
gulab jaman, samosa and sewa are becoming
great favourites.

At an Indian dinner, children are served
first followed by men, often with formal lady
guests; all the ladies usually eat together at
the end. We are quite bewildered to see the
the normal consumption of alcoholic drinks
by the menfolk before and after dinner. In
the traditional Indian style, the ladies dish
out the food on plates and bring them to the

Surprisingly, the coolies had great interest
in and fairly good knowledge of music, dance
and dramas, which they used for the tradi-
tional display of emotional and spiritual
exuberance during leisure and festivities.
The musical instruments that were brought
to Jamaica are dholak (a small barrel-shaped
drum), sarangi (fiddle), majeera (cymbals),
Kartal Khanjree (tamborine) and flute:
harmonium and tabla were introduced later.
These instruments are played fairly commonly
though the most popular ones are dholak
and majeera.

Classical music like Bhairavi, Thumri and
Dadra was sung by only a few immigrants
and vanished with them. Folk music has
interested most and is sung by persons of all
ages and at every occasion. Among the vari-
ous types of songs, Hori, Kajri, Birha,
Jhumar, Dhrupad, Basant Malhar and Sohar
are quite popular. Gali (raillery) songs are
also heard at weddings and on special re-
quest from older people. A few old people
also sing Aalha Udal ballad. Singing of
Ramayana is not heard any more, though de-
votional songs and modem Hindi film songs
are extremely popular. In fact, the Sunday
afternoon half hour radio programme on
JBC is devoted entirely to Hindi film music.
Most of the listeners and singers do not un-
derstand the language but sing with near
perfection. Among the leading Indian musi-
cians in Jamaica are Muneshwar Shankar
(Dholak and Sarangi), Edgar Campbell,
and Mrs. M. Pancham (folk songs)

The popular dance dramas among the
Jamaican Indians were Ram Lila and Krishna
Lila which were performed by the plantation
dwellers but never really caught root. Folk
dancing has been a part of the Indian's life,
the most famous being Phagwa, Janghia and
Kathghora. People dance to the beat of
dholak and majeera in exactly the same
manner as their cousins in India.

Contemporary folk dances of India have
recently been introduced by the professional
expatriates from India, particularly by Shikha
Ganguli and ourselves. Indeed, the presence
of the expatriates has given a shot in the arm
to the local artists, for manifesting their
heritage and talents with more vigour and
confidence. Formerly, the display of Indian
art had been restricted to festivals and
gathering of Indians and their friends only.
Since 1974, however, they have captured the
national interest by their highly successful
stage shows, first at the Institute of Jamaica 5
and then at the Vale Royal.4, 6. Under the
patronage of the Deputy Prime Minister
Hon. David Coore, and with the efforts of
Mr. B.C. Chutkan and the S.D.M., Iadian
culture seems to have been revived in Jam-

aica. During the past two years, active Indian
musical bands have been organized in Port-
land, Clarendon, St. Mary and Kingston:
there already is a fairly popular professional
Indian Band in Jamaica.

The decline in the following of Hinduism
and Islam is probably responsible for the
gradually vanishing Indian culture in Jamaica.
The overwhelming number (over 90%) of
the indentured labourers were Hindus, the
rest being Muslims, except for a few Christians.
Today, only about 15% of Indians adhere to
Hinduism and 4% to Islam, while the rest
are either Christians or undecided. These
conversions may be attributed to (1) various
discriminatory and prejudicial policies of
colonial governments outlined earlier, (2)
disorganization of Indian society with no
selfless and dynamic leadership, (3) absence
of theologicallyra ined and educated reli-
gious leadership, (4) complete isolation of the
local Indian population from that of India
and other Caribbean islands, (5) social and
economic pressures and the fear of being
ridiculed or victimized.

From time to time, Indians formed social
and religious organizations; Dr. J.L. Varma
and his friends founded the East India
Progressive Society in 1940, for fighting legal
and social injustices to Indians whose
ancestors had settled in Jamaica during the
past 95 years. The society achieved many
objectives, the major ones being the recog-
nition of Hindu and Muslim marriages in
1957 (thanks to the National Hero Norman
Manley) with retroactivity, and the appoint-
ments of Hindus and Muslims as marriage
officers and members of various committees.
Besides the moral advantages, the recogni-
tion of these marriages entitled the offspring
of such wedlock to inherit parental property
which was otherwise confiscated by the
government. At the social front, the E.I.P.
Society offered scholarships and welfare
allowances to the needy.

In 1965, a Hindu organization named
Sanatan Dharma Mandir (temple of eternal
religion) was founded and in 1974 it received
the assent of the Jamaican House of Repre-
sentatives. The construction of the first
ever Hindu temple in Jamaica was started in
1968 at Hagley Park Road, Kingston, and
is now nearing completion. The S.D.M. has
done commendable work in restoring and
propagating Indian culture and has provided
a centre for religious activities. However,
there are only two ageing priests in the island
whose activities are restricted to the rituals
rather than philosophical and theological
discourses which are essential for thousands
of Hindus to continue their adherence to the
Indian religion.

The present Hindu religious activities
involve holding of Sat Sangh (prayer meet-
ings) on Sunday and often on Tuesday even-
ings perform Sat Narayan Katha and prayers
at the homes of Hindu devotees. The prayers
are performed in the'typically North Indian
style: the priest brings his box of prayer
samagrhi (things) which include the Vedi, a
Lota (metal jug) full of water, Kalsa (pot),
fire, incense and mango leaves etc. The
priest chants Gayatri mantra of Rega Veda
and other scriptures while Ghee (clarified
butter) and mango wood is on the fire.. Katha
is followed by the distribution of Prasad,
consisting of Charna mitra (holy communion)
of milk, panjeeri (fried flour), halwa and
fruits. Charity in the form of clothes such as
shirts and towels, is given to five poor people
(earlier only Brahmins received it). The
religious ceremony is almost always followed
by a big feast.

In contrast, the Muslims have been better
organized, and constructed two mosques

Bharat Natyan Lakshmi Mansingh, as performed at the
Institute of Jamaica.

Above: With hand and body movements and facial ex-
pression, Roopa Rao expresses joy and surprise. Below:
The story of the eternal lovers. Usha Ranga in Kuchi-
pirdi style of dance.

during the past twenty five years, one in
Spanish Town (1952) and the other in
Westmoreland (1962). According to Mr.
Henry Goloub, President of Islamic Society,
there are about a dozen priests serving the
needs of some two thousand Indian Muslims
in Jamaica. They hold prayer meetings on
Friday and Sundays at the mosques and
perform Moulad Shareef at homes: this is
celebrated in a manner similar to Kaiha of
Hindus- Very few Muslims keep fast during
Ramadan month but almost all of them
enjoy Id festivals with more unity and gaiety
than any festival celebrated by the Hindus.

In view of several legal and social handi-
caps, many Indians became Christians for
convenience rather than conviction; this
uncomfortable feeling still exists in an over-
whelming majority of these Christians and
literally haunts some. With the Rastafarians
and Black Muslims trying to find religious
roots in Africa, and the Government provid-
ing free education and equal job opportunities
to all Jamaicans, it may not be surprising
to find Indians reverting to their ancestral

Hindus in Jamaica celebrate Ram Naumi
(birthday of Lord Rama), Janamashthmi
(birthday of Lord Krishna), Dussehra (Victory
of Lord Rama over Ravana), Diwall
(festival of lights) and Phagwa or Holi
(festival of colour). A few old people
celebrate Shiva ratri (Lord Shiva's marriage).
Karlik purnima (full moon in October-
November), and Basan Panchmi (spring), by
holding Katha and feasts at home. Earlier
many immigrants used to keep fasts on special
days and observed some other minor festival
also. All but two of these festivals are now
observed by holding special prayers at the
Hindu temple in Kingston.

Diwali and Phagwa have been celebrated in
Jamaica from the earliest days of indenture-
ship 15; in Trinidad, Guyana and Surinam,
these are national holidays. During the
daysof plantation dwelling, everyHindu used
put oil diya (lamps) around his quarters and
perform Diwali or Lakshmi puja (prayers to
Goddess of Wealth) at home before joining
the community singing and dancing. Later
on the scene of activity changed to the
Landlord's (usually Indian) premises or at
some one's home. Unlike other places where
Diwali is essentially a family festival, Hindus
of Kingston converge at the temple which is
artistically decorated for the occasion with
candles and oil lamps all around. At dusk,
the priest performs Lakshmi puja amidst
chanting of bhajans (devotional songs) and
distribution of prasad. Folk singing and
dancing then continues until late at night. 19

Phagwa or Holi is the gayest of all Hindu
festivals anywhere. In India, it is a day-long
affair of singing and dancing Wilethrowing
coloured water on each other and smearing
faces with Abeer and Gulal (red and purple
purple powders)., Jamaican Indians used to
celebrate Holi in almost similar style, includ-
ing burning of Holika in bonfires. Small
groups of men, women and children, dancing
to the beats of dholak, majeera and khanjri
would merge with similar other groups- and
move in a carnival-type parade towards a
central place-the quarters of the head sardar
or the residence of their Indian landlord.
The merry-making used to continue for
hours during which they were treated with
traditional holi snacks of Gujia (sweet
patties) and sewa (fried noodles).

The depleted and scattered Hindu popula-
tion now celebrates Holi only in the evening
by gathering at some private homes. In
. Kingston, many Hindus gather at the temple,
and pray for a while before indulging in the
fun of smearing coloured talcum powder on
the faces of others. They sing typical Hori
songs in the traditional Dhamar tal of four-
teen beats; other individuals ioin the fun with
various types of dances ranging from typical
Indian folk dances to the modern twist and
reggae. Indeed the tempo of music andthe
sight of folk dances create an atmosphere
which always make us wonder whether we
were in the middle of a phagwa group in
Jamaica or in our home at Fatehpur (U.P.)
The Muslim festival of Hosay had been
the most popular Indian festival in the West
Indies since 185012; all the Indians treated it
as a carnival of Indian national feelings. The
Shia sect of Islam carry Tazia (paper replicas
of the tomb of Hasan and Hosein, grand-
children of the prophet Mohammed) in a
procession led by drummers and dancers,
and immerse them in water 20. Muslims of
Kingston, Spanish Town and Westmoreland
celebrate the occasion with great enthusiasm
and are joined by Indians and Jamaicans of
other faiths.

The race relations between Jamaicans
of Indian and African origins have always
been quite cordial. Certain prejudices and
misunderstandings did exist, mainly due to
religious and cultural differences rather than
racism. The Negroes always respected Hindu
and Muslim priests just like their own, and
fostered close friendship with the minority
groups. This has led to many inter-racial
n~arriages in which the couple and children are
much more Indian than anything else. The
major concern of the Indians is the gradual
erosion of family life, personal discipline and
individual values of life as a whole.

Indian culture in Jamaica has undergone
many inevitable modifications and adjust-
ments but is far from having disappeared.
The Indian heritage in Jamaica will last
while mangoes and many other fruits and
plants grow in Jamaica or the tantalizing
curry goat is in the menu of homes and

Dr. and Mrs. Ajai Mansingh left India in 1960,
They came to Jamaica in 1973, and during this period
have travelled extensively studying Indian settlers
in Fiji, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand,
England and North America. The Mansinghs are
actively working for the revival and propogation of
Indian culture in Jamaica. Ajai Mansingh has pub-
lished scientific and cultural articles in India and
Lakshmi Mansingh, M.A.; Dip. L.S.
Ajai Mansingh, M.Sc; Ph.D. (Alta); Assoc.
I.A.R.I.; F.E.S.I.
Both are working at the University of the West


Bowen, E. Our Asian Roots. Part I. The Comm-
ing of Coolies. The Jamaica Daily News,
October 7, 1973.
2. Bowen, E. Our Asian Roots. Part I. From
Labourers to Settlers. The Jamaica Daily News,
October 14, 1973.
3. Bowen, E. Our Asian Roots, Part III. Indian
Survival in The West Indies. The Jamaica Daily
News, October 21, 1973.
4. The Daily Gleaner, Jamaica, April 3, 1975.
5. The Jamaica Daily News, February 28, 1974.
6. The Jamaica Daily News, March, 1976.
7. Duranm, Will. The Siory of Ciilization. Pan I.
Our Oriental Heriiage. Opp. 391-355.
8. Ehrlich, A.S. East Indian Cane workers in
Jamaica. Uniersiry Microfilms Inc, Ann
Arbour, Michigan, U.S.A.
9. Eisner, G. Jamaica, 1830-1930. A study in
Economic growth. Manchester University Press,
10. Gazette of India. Proceedings of the Governor
General's Council. March 1912 pp. 363-368.
11. The Illustrated Weekly of India, Bomba), March
12. Jha, J.C. The India Heritage in Trinidad.
University of the West Indies. St. Augustine,
13. Jha, J.C. Early Indian Immigration to Jamaica,
14. Laurence, K.O. Immigration into the West
Indies in the nineteenth century, Caribbean
University Press.
15. Neihoff, A. and J. Neihoff. The East Indians in
the West Indies.. Milwaukee Public Museum
Publ. in Anthropology, No. 6, 1960.
16. The papers of the protectorate of immigrants.
Jamaica Archives.
17. The People of Jamaica. Jamaica Information
Service. 1969.
18. Port of Spain Gazette, May 6, 1913.
19. The Star (Jamaica), November 10, 1975.
20. The Star (Jamaica) o March 5th, 1976.
21. Thomas, P. Hindu Religion, Customs and
Manners. D.B. Taraporevala Sons & Co.
Pvt. Ltd. Bombay, 1971
22. Wood, E.F.L. Report on visit to the West
Indies and British Guiana, 1921-22. London,
H.M.S.O., 1922. pp 22.

tk performed by Bn RSeniors MunhwarShankar and Ram Baram in the
Kathak pe ,ormed by Bdni Rao.. fast Jangla.

Pilshrman's celebration dance Pushpa and Bani


Above and middle left: Fara-fita-kankurang

Jack-in-the Green (Belisario) Institute of Jamaica

--- J .' -`FKV7 P=.
Pitchy Patchy (Savanna-la-Mar Troupe)
er Limson Street, Paddington, from Chapel Street,
;ish School) 1837-47. (Artist unknown) The Museum of London


THE it's relation to

SJONK Caribbean and African

NKONL BY masquerades

Judith Bettelheim was born in New York City
and educated at Antioch College and UCLA.
She is at present writing her doctoral dissertation
for Yale University on the subject of Jonkonnu.
Ms. Bettelheim has visited Jamaica in 1975
and again in Summer-Fall 1976, the latter on a
Social Science Research Council grant. As of
January 1917 she will take up a post as Professor
in the Arts Department of the University of
New Mexico, Albuquerque, USA.
In Jamaica, every Christmas since at
least the beginning of the eighteenth
century, when they were first documented
by the English, masked and costumed
performers have paraded the streets,
receiving money and food in return
for their performances. These black
entertainers at first dressed in costumes
of their own choosing. It is not until 1774
that elaborate street parades are docu-
mented which include both masqued per-
formers performing in mime, and troupes
of players acting out scenes from
English theatre. It is quite evident in
this 1774 description that the two groups
performed separately and represented
separate traditions. One of these was
distinctly African.

All eighteenth century reports note
that a leader among the masqued
performers wore, among other things,
a cow tail and cow horns. Sometimes
this character carried swords, and he was
always followed by a crowd. In 1774
Long notes that in addition to the tail
and horns, this central character also
wore a vizor type mask with a mouth
section that carried boar tusks1. Long
also gives this special street performer a
name.... John Conni. He states that
the parade and its central character are
an honorable memorial to John Conny,
a leader of the black traders near Axim,
Guinea, who was active in 1720. This is
the first time in the literature that the
Jamaican festival is associated with a
name and this name is given to a specific
character. But this character was in
existence for at least half a century, and
probably longer, before he received a
name. Yet by 1774 the character and his
entourage were given a name which is
still in use in Jamaica today. British
influenced literature spells the name
'John Canoe', while most Jamaican
sources spell it 'Jonkonnu'. The Jon-
konnu festival is secular. Originally it
was a festive opportunity permitted
the slave class by the planter class.
"Christmas was the appropriate season
for festivities as all normal business
activity on the island was halted by
official decree and all males were called
up for military service, thus augmenting

the populations in the larger towns.

Although there exists a persistent
belief, among scholars and devotees of
Jonkonnu, that the origin of the name is
still a mystery, Long's 1774 reference
requires further consideration. Among
the myriad theories proposed over the
years, few others seem to merit serious
attention when one realizes that indeed
John Konny lived and was reported to be
around 50 years old in 1721. Konny
worked for the Brandenberg African
Company and their possession at Pokoso
was known as "Connie's Castle". Konny
ruled over three Brandenberg trading
forts.....Pokoso, Takrama, and Akoda
(on the coast of Ghana). Not only did
Konny control much of the inland trade
but .. ."In and around Axim in particular
the mere mention of Konny's name, let
alone a suggestion of fighting him, made
people quail."2 It was not until 1724 that
Konny's power waned and after the
Dutch took over Great Fredricksburg
castle, he went inland and took up
residence at the court of Opoku Ware,
the King of Asante. Undoubtedly the
reputation of this black leader was so
great that both slaves and traders
arriving in Jamaica from ports on the
Gold Coast brought with them tales of
his exploits. How else could Edward
Long, writing in Jamaica and England,
have received his information, and for
what other reason did a Jamaican street
parade receive the name Jonkonnu?
Konny's reputation as a leader, hero,
and a Black who stood up against
European pressure became a symbol to
the slaves in Jamaica, or at least to those
in contact with life in Kingston. 3 The
hored figure that paraded the streets of
Jamaica, one must presume, was an
embodiment of pride and power for
the black population, and was a fitting
recipient of the title and self-esteem
implications that the name 'John Konny'
signified. And to this day in Jamaica
Jonkonnu implies not only a specific
costume character, but also an entire
entourage of costumed dancers who
perform at Christmas and on important
state occasions.

Another persistent myth is that Jon-
konnu is no longer celebrated, that it is
an old fashioned tradition no longer in
practice and is in fact looked down upon
by Jamaicans. If indeed it is looked
down upon, it is only by a minority.
The history of Jonkonnu in Jamaica is
complicated, but it demonstrates that the
festival is highly valued by the population.

The most serious civil disturbance after
liberation occurred in 1841 when the
mayor of Kingston banned Jonkonnu
festivities. Eyewitness documentation of
Jonkonnu festivals from the later 19th
until the mid 20th century are almost non-
existent. One explanation for this is
that historians or travellers were not
documenting rurhl festivities, and that
urban pressures against folk traditions
forced Johnkonnu festivities "under-
ground." Yet the tradition of Jon-
konnu certainly persisted. Recent in-
terviews with Jonkonnu performers
in St. Thomas, Kingston, and Savanna-
la-Mar, verify that the Jounkonnu
masquerades never ceased, and that
the older troupe members have strong
memories dating back to the 1920's.
In 1951 and 1952 the Daily Gleaner,
a Kingston newspaper, sponsored an
all-island "John Canoe" contest.

Over 20,000 people attended the finals
and over 50 island groups performed.
These groups did not spring up over-
night; they represented a tradition that
has never died out on the island. During
recent field trips to Jamaica, Christmas
1975, and Summer 1976, I also discovered
that the Jonkonnu tradition is active
and important to Jamaicans. Over the
years the core festival characters have
changed, variations have occurred, and
new characters have been added to the
performing ensemble. Yet many Jamai-
cans can identify and discuss the evolu-
tion of core characters and the possible
identification of Jonkonnu himself.

An important core character in a
Jonkonnu ensemble is Cow Head who is
often associated with root Jonkonnu.
Other historically vital characters include
Horse Head, Jack-in-the-Green, men
dressed in imitation of the military or
aristocracy, and Actor Boy, although it is
highly probable that Actor Boy was
originally part of 'speaking groups'
rather than Jonkonnu who always per-
form in mime. Today Jonkonnu ensem-
bles include, in addition to the above
characters, Warrior, Wild or Red Indian,
Devil, Captain, Policeman, Belly Woman,
and King or Queen. There are about
ten other characters that can be added to
the ensemble at will. Jonkonnu music
is known as 'fife and drum music'.
The band can consist of a bamboo fife,
two drums, a banjo, and a grater;
but the essential minimum is fife and

Traditionally the planter class spon-

scored both Masquerade Actor groups and
Jonkonnu ensembles. Certain sponsors
emphasized particular constumed charac-
ters, and in time regional differences in
groups developed. Also, as immigration
to the island increased, festivals in
major ports included new characters
introduced by the immigrants. After
liberation some of the better known
nineteenth century characters, such as the
Set Girls, lost popularity. Although these
characters are revived for official contests,
they almost never appear during the
annual street festivities. Certain regions
still maintain strong character preferences,
for example, the Savanna-la-Mar troupe,
which won first prize in the 1951 and
1952 All-Island competition, called them-
selves a Masquerade troupe and stated
that Jonkonnu was different, and that
the Jonkonnu character was a Cow
Head, played by an old man who lived
in the hills. He performed separately.
They also stated that the character of
Devil was only to be found in Kingston
or in areas influenced by Kingston.
The full Savanna-la-Mar ensemble can
number twenty-five, but I was only
able to see six performers.....Captain,
Sailor Boy, Flower Girl, Babu, and two
Pitchy Patchies. The Savanna-la-Mar
group reflects special Westmoreland cha-
racteristics: the East Indian character
Babu was inspired by immigration to the
Parish of indentured labourers from
India, who were plantation workers:
between 1834-1914, 36,410 East Indians
entered Jamaica.4 In addition, the use
of satin costumes, knee length pants,
stockings, and ruffled jackets reflects a
conscious use of nineteenth century
period costumes. All members are male,
wear gloves, tennis shoes, and Jonkonnu
masks.....mesh masks with painted facial
features. Traditionally, masks are never
removed in public and the performers
disguise their voices into grunts, squeaks,
etc., if they speak at all. Each performer
has a special role, both as a solo per-
former and with other characters, and
special music.

In contrast to the Savanna-la-Mar
Masquerade group, the group from Port
Antonio includes Cow Head Jonkonnu
among its performers. Ezekiel Gordon
has played this character for at least
twenty years, having joined the present
group just two year., ago. Cow Head's
costume consists of a calico cloth tied
tightly around the head. Half a coconut
shell is worn on the head and real cow
horns are attached to it. Both are
painted. The horns are tied together at
the top to help them remain in place.
The face is covered by a wire mesh
mask with facial features painted on;
a cloth tail is attached to the dancer's
backside. Other members of the ensemble
can be identified by typical costume
features augmented with each indivi-
dual's artistic flair. The Warrior wears
a foil-covered cardboard heart on his
chest and strands of beads; his wooden
sword is painted silver. Aside from the
obligatory head cloth and mesh mask
worn by all performers, Warrior wears
a cone shaped headdress with feather
.or groups of feathers at the top of the

cone, which is adorned with mirrors,
cutouts, and old newspaper photo-
graphs. Wild Indian carries a tall cane
and cross-bow. He wears a headdress
with feathers arranged vertically around
the circular head section. Playing cards,
newspaper cut-outs, wrapping paper,
pieces of glass, mirrors etc. cover the
head portion of the headdress. Wild
Indian also wears a foil-covered heart
on his chest and strands of beads.

The Devil carries a pitchfork and wears
a cow bell attached to his backside.
His headdress is a cardboard cylinder
on top of which rests a flat rectangular
cardboard section. The entire costume
is black. Policeman wears the usual
quasi military outfit of trousers with a
side leg stripe and a white shirt. Another
male plays Belly Woman, a pregnant
lady whose antics, especially her ability
to make her belly move in time to the
music, are designed to amuse the on-
lookers. Although Port Antonio and
Savanna-la-Mar groups differ in their
choice of characters, both groups perform
within the Jonkonnu tradition. Some
of these characters are obviously derived
from European prototypes, while others
demonstrate strong affinities with certain
African traditions. One aspect of the
African heritage of Jonkonnu ensemble
performers, and the possible broader
Caribbean influence of this festival,
will be the subject of the following

The most flamboyant and athletic of
the Savanna-la-Mar performers were
the two Pitchy Patchies. They danced
with rapid, small jumps, forming large
circular patterns. As they moved, their
shoulders flexed up and down, as if in
counter tempo to their feet patterns. The
shoulder movement, in combination
with sweeping arm extentions, is accen-
tuated by Pitchy Patchy's costume which
is made of layered strips of brightly
coloured fabric. On top of the mesh
mask and white head cloth is a brimmed
cap which is peaked in the front and
back, and adorned with tinsel paper
and mirrors. Although they appear in
the Savanna-la-Mar troupe in pairs,
the Pitchy Patchy dances alone, com-
manding a large centre space and some-
times running in and out of the crowd of
onlookers.......often confronting specific
spectators with a low growl. Contempo-
rary oral tradition claims that Pitchy
Patchy's costume is based on the vegetal
costumes employed as camouflage by the
Maroons during guerilla warfare.

In fact vegetal costumes have been
associated with historical Jonkonnu and
Masquerade groups. In 1837 the Jamai-
can artist I. M. Belisario published a
series of sketches of a Kingston Christmas
street festival that included Jonkonnu
characters. The participants in the pa-
rade were Blacks who appeared in costume
every Christmas. One of the characters
was called Jack-in-the-Green after the
similarly costumed individual who follow-
ed the chimney sweeps around London
during May Day celebrations. Belisario's
sketch is accompanied by a description

of Jack-in-the-Green's costume....hoops
which diminish in circumfrence as they
reached from the feet to the head are co-
vered with "lo-V s of thE O-. .U tr-e--
(palm fronds). The top of the costume
is crowned with a large bow and a
few flags are stuck into it. Jack-in-the-
Green always performed incognito. The
figure that roamed the streets of London
during May Day celebrations wore
evergreen boughs and flowers. The sub-
stitution of palm fronds echoes a strong
West African masquerade 5 tradition
and was introduced to Jamaica by the
Blacks who were also the performers.

The historical references to this charac-
ter are not as frequent as to Jonkonnu,
but they do exist. In 1923 Martha
Beckwith saw a Jack-O-Green perform in
the area of Black River. 6 And Madeline
Kerr documents a 1950 performance in
which Pitchy Patchy, dressed in patch-
work garments, kept order with a cattle
whip.7 Most contemporary performances
include Pitchy Patchy among the charac-

References to this generic type of
character in other Caribbean locations
do exist. Thomas Young visited Hondu-
ras (Mosquito Shore) from 1839-1841
and documented funeral ceremonies a-
mong the Caribs living there under British
rule. One particular ceremony, a seekroe,
was held a year after an actual funeral
and was accompanied by masqued
dancers. Young says that two "John-
canoe men" danced behind a green
fence built high enough so that women
were prevented from seeing the figures.
He comments that these "John-canoe
men" were dressed something like Jack-

They had head-dresses, composed of
of thin wood finely scraped, and
painted with red and black streaks,
descending to the shoulders, from
whence coco-nut leaves, stripped
from the main stalk, were attached,
and so placed that nothing could
be seen of the natives but their feet.
On top of each dress was an exact
representation of the saw of a saw-
fish, which was like-wise daubed
with red, yellow, and black patches;
the two men advancing and retreat-
ing with a crab-like movement,
occasionally bending their head gear
to each other ceremoniously, but in
so comical a manner as to excite
great laughter......8

Essentially, the body of the costume
consisted of shredded bark extending
over the head to the shoulders, and coco-
nut leaves from the shoulders to the feet.
This vegetal figure was identified by
the name of "John-canoe" in Honduras
in 1840. This area had been in close
contact with Jamaica.

In 1795 Caribs from the Mosquito
Shore were sent to Jamaica to help put
down the Maroon rebellion. In addition,
they put themselves under the protection
of the British and every new leader receiv-
ed a commission from the English

Warrior (Note cut-out from Jamaica Journal on front headdress
- Osmond Watson's Masquerade)

M.. = L^^.f_.f-l
**V ai^ Ii^ ^ ^

Cow Head (left), Warrior (centre)
Wild Indian (right) Port Antonio Troupe
-photos Judith Bettelheim

Wild Indian (See Cow Head in background) *

Pierrot Grenade (Caribbean Quarterly March/June 1956) -photo Bill McKenzie


Governor of Jamaica. Young also com-
ments that these people were employed
as seamen and sailed in English
vessels to Jamaica. 9 Labourers from the
Mosquito Shore were also in contact
with Belize, both through trade and be-
cause they went there to work in the
lumber industry. 10 Twentieth century
reports of Jonkonnu festivals in a core
Caribbean area expand the geographical
range of the Jonkonnu tradition.

In 1956 Nancie Gonzales documented a
Jonkonnu performance in Livingston,
Guatemala, on the Caribbean coast
just south of the Belize border.

On Christmas Day, and again on
January 1, another male dance
group appears dressed in short full
skirts, blouses with yokes and long
full sleeves, flesh-colored stockings,*
masks and elaborate head-dresses
built up something like a crown
decorated with feathers and ribbons.

Colored ribbons are also attached
to the dress and stream out on all
sides when the body is in motion. 1"

Gonzales documents another group who
appear on December 24. They are
called warin. This masque......

consists of a number of nien dressed
in costumes made of dried plantain
leaves, with masks of papier-mache
or wire screening, material. They
dance in various houses or yards to
the accompaniment of drums, receiv-
ing small amounts of money, a
drink of rum or wine, and perhaps
a bit of food in return. 12

Although Ms. Gonzales neglected to
mention them in her article, a few other
important costume features can be
gleaned from a study of her unpublished
photographs. At least one of the per-
formers dressed in the ribboned head-
dress wears a braided cloth tail on its
back. All the performers wear leaf
ruffs or rattles on their knees, and they
all also wear wire mesh Jonkonnu masks.

Emory Whipple, writing from Punta
Gorda Town, Belize in 1975 notes that
the warins are still performing on Chirst-
mas eve. They dress in make-shift cos-
tumes fashioned from "alligator grass".
The "alligator grass" is tucked into
strings which are tied around the waist
or chest. The head is covered with a cloth
and a mask made from wire screening.
Whipple comments that the cowry shell
rattles around the knees and the mask
are the same as are used for John Canoe.
No talking is allowed by the dancers.

Both these warin masques incorporate
elements of traditional Jonkonnu groups,
but are not known as Jonkonnu. Yet
the very similar vegetal figures document-
ed in 1840 were known as Jonkonnu:

*I must point out that calling stockings
"flesh coloured" is assuming that all
people have the same colour flesh. I presume
the author meant light pink.

Unfortunately we do not know if this is
what they called themselves or if Young
used the term to denote, generically,
masked performers.

The description of the Jonkonnu dan-
cers from Livingston, Guatemala, closely
parallels those characters documented
in Punta Gorda Town, Belize. Another
1974 description from Seine Bight Village,
Belize verifies the continuity and tenacity
of certain aspects of the Jonkonnu
All dancers wear elaborate head-
dresses (wababa), variously made
with crepe paper streamers, bits of
glittering mirror, and coloured glass,
and a profusion of ribbbons and
plumes, all covering a cardboard
frame..... These are set atop a
headwrap which the men wear in
such a way that their necks are
entirely covered. Next there is a
screen mask tied to the dancer's
head. Usually, the mask is pinkish
in color; it has a pair of staring
eyes, black eyebrows, and red lips
painted on it....All dancers wear
canvas shoes and cover their legs
with opaque stockings. Some wear
white gloves so that they are
completely covered from head to
toe. 13

The vegetal figures and those called
Jonkonnu are intimately connected, by
the fact that they perform on conse-
quetive days and at times together, and
by the fact that certain costume elements
such as the wire screen mask and head
cloth are worn by all the performers. All
these costumed characters can also be
found in Jamaica and signal a possible
pan-Caribbean extention of the Jonkonnu
tradition. Recently, at Carifesta 1976
in Kingston, a Jonkonnu troupe from
Belize performed. Their costume retain-
ed many of the above elements, although
their dance style was quite unique.

A traditional masque of Trinidad
Carnival, the Pierrot Grenade, is in
many ways analogus to the warin and to
Jamaican Jack-in-the-Green. On a purely
visual level, it is strongly reminiscent of
Pitchy Patchy. Pierrot Grenade as a
character has almost disappeared from
contemporary Carnival celebrations, yet
at the turn of the century and most
likely before, he was quite popular.
The Pierrot Grenade's costume is made
from old oat bags and numerous strips
of coloured cloth. Attached to this are
bits of odds and ends. He sometimes
wears an old hat adorned with shrubbery
or simply ties his head with a coloured
handkerchief. His mask is either of wire
screening, or an "earth mould mask
shaped to amuse". 14. The wire mask
and. head cloth are either a Jonkonnu
combination or a structurally parallel

Pierrot Grenade frequently appears in
pairs. They parade by prancing and
twirling around, advancing rapidly for-
ward and backward. In fact, this chore-
ography mirrors that of Pitchy Patchy.
Traditionally each Pierrot Grenade had

his own territory which he protected both
verbally and physically. His identity had
to be kept a secret as he often satirized
with acute reality local events and in-
dividuals....In consequence, his voice
was invariably disguised to be low and
gruff. Most players of Pierrot Grenade
were reported to be over fifty years old
in 1956. i5

Due to its problematic origin, the
character of Pierrot Grenade has received
some attention by historians of Carnival.
Andrew Carr feels that the name Pierrot,
implying a clown, is an incorrect identi-
fication for this character, for his bearing
and actions are more princely than clown-
ish. Thus Carr states thatthe name, pro-
nounced Pay-wo or Pie-wo may be a ver-
sion of Pays Roi. But even more pertinent
to the present discussion is Carr's
assertion that "Grenade" in the name
refers to the fact that the character was
introduced to Trinidad from the island
of Grenada. 16 If this is true, it is
possible that Pierrot Grenade fits into
the model of vegetal figures associated
with Jonkonnu celebrations in former
British territories in the Caribbean.
Grenada became British in 1762, with
the exception of French rule from 1779-

Errol Hill proposes a slightly different
explanation for Pierrot Grenade. He
feels that the "Grenade" in the name is a
satire on his "richer and more respecta-
ble brother, the Pierrot, as well as on
people from the neighboring small island
of Grenada (and by extention on all
small islanders) who migrate to Trinidad
for work". 17 If in fact the character
satirizes "small islanders", then it is
likely that the costume is also a take-
off on their costumes. In this context,
I am proposing that the costumes made
of thin strips of cloth which completely
cover the body are a more contemporary
interpretation of a vegetal costume.

In support of this proposed connection
between vegetal and shredded cloth
figures in the Caribbean, I would like to
discuss another traditional masque of
Trinidad Carnival.... the Pai Banan or
Banana Trash. This masque is composed
of dry plantain leaves which are tied
around the body from the neck to
at least the knees. The head is covered
by a "brown cloth or paper mache mask
like the Pierrot Grenade". 18 Two long
wire antennae or cow horns are attached
to the headpiece which is a small, tight
fitting cap made from cloth. Pai Banan
masques appear mostly in country dis-
tricts, It is quite possible that these
country masques represent an old tradi-
tion that is wide-spread in at least the
British Caribbean.

The mediating factor here is in fact
British colonialism. Perhaps the survival
of a vegetal figure among black perfor-
mers in street celebrations is related to
the fact that both British and certain
African traditional celebrations included
an important character who dressed in
vegetal matter. I have already discussed
the British Jack-in-the-Green. In colo-

nial times, the ruling class permitted
Blacks certain celebrations at specified
times during the year. Throughout the
Caribbean written reports about these
festivals refer to a vegetal figure as
Jack-in-the-Green, but there is no
evidence that the Blacks themselves
thought of it as such. Perhaps the vegetal
figure is the potent example of a parallel
artistic tradition in which both the rulers
and the supressed could participate, one
as the spectator, and the other as the
actor. Each class felt the figure in-
corporated a part of its own cultural
heritage. After Emancipation and
through political independence, the
Blacks in at least Jamaica, Honduras,
Belize, and Trinidad continued the
the tradition of the vegetal figure and
included it into the changing forms of
the street festivals, while simultaneously
the figure itself changed and embodied
new forms. A similar process of change
is evidenced in British "Straw Boys"
and "Paper Boys" masquerades.

Straw and greenery .. .are intractable
materials to substitute paper or
strips of cloth.... would seem in
process of time to be a natural
development, having some relation
to the distribution of such materials
in country districts and an increase
in wages and prosperity amongst
the labouring classes....19.

The African counterpart to the Jack-in-
the-Green may well be the leaf and bark
figures found among Manding and Upper

Guinea Coast peoples. The earliest slave
trade to the new world originated in the
area of Senegamba extending south
throughout the Guinea Coast. By the
middle 1500's Upper Guinea Coast slave
trade relations with Spanish America
were exclusive. By 1600, the area around
the Cacheu River and the Bissago
Islands in Guinea Bissau was one of the
most active slave trading areas in
Africa. Throughout the entire seventeenth
century Spanish, Portuguese, French,
English, and Dutch -had established
trading forts in this area. Although this
is not the place for a detailed discussion
of slave trade to the Caribbean, we do
know that throughout the seventeenth
century a majority of these slaves went
to the Caribbean. Any attempt to speci-
fically discuss the origin of Blacks on the
various Caribbean Islands is complicated
by intra-Caribbean population move-

For example, the systematic settle-
ment of Jamaica began in 1664.......
Emigrants from Barbados formed a
substantial proportion of the settlers
.......In 1673 the population was
7,700 white and 9,500 black. The
white population remained almost
constant for fifty years, but the
number of negro (sic) slaves in the
same period rose to 74,000. 20

For the purposes of the present discus-
sion we will presume a strong Manding
and Manding influenced Guinea Coast
heritage in the Caribbean. In fact,

British trading in the Senegambian area
increased in the mid-eighteenth century.
In 1775 an English ship from Barbados
sailed up the Gambia and by the mid
1780's the English had taken over the
trade from this area 21

Although vegetal covered costumes are
found in many areas of sub-saharan
Africa, they are certainly one of the major
hallmarks of Manding and Manding
influenced cultures. Among the Manding
of the Gambia these costumes are known
by the generic name of kankurang.
The fara-kankurang is a woven bark
mask with tufts of straw on the top and
straw covering the lower parts of the
body. It is this figure that has been
called "Mumbo Jumbo", or variations
thereof, since it was first documented
by Europeans in the eighteenth century. 22
This same figure appears among the
Diola living south of the Gambia. 23 In
Manding country the fara-kankurang,
in its traditional role, appears during
boys' circumcision ceremonies and the
festivities which follow. Among the Diola
the kankurang masque appears during
the bukut circumcision and initiation
ceremonies. Men who have already been
initiated fetch the kankurang from the
bush. It assists during the initiation and
the already initiated dance with him.
The Diola kankurang's costume is made
of bands of bark, which are often red-
dened. They are wrapped around the
body and strips are placed over the face.
Sometimes the head is covered by a
hood. The lower part of the body is

Belizean John Canoe dancers,
Carifestal976 in Jamaica
-photo Tony Russell

Belizean John Canoe (National Studies November 1975
-now Belizean Studies) -photo Robert Dirks

Fita-Kankurang (After Peter Well, Africa Magazine, October 1971)

covered by leaves. The kankurang often
carries a sword or staff in each hand.
Today, in the Gambia, the kankurang
appears on Boxing Day and also at
special festivities sponsored by young
people's clubs. During the street per-
formances the kankurang attempts to
frighten children and often beats people
with his staffs. Money is offered to the
masqued figure for "appeasement". 24.
These two activities certainly parallel
the role of Jack-in-the-Green and asso-
ciated Caribbean masques. The popular
commentary on Jonkonnu masqueraders
is that they always scare the children.
Yet this process is obviously part of the
social ritual of masquerade. One moment
a child is frightened. At the next opportu-
nity the child clamours for more dancing
and parading. The Gambia, having been
colonized by the British just as the islands
of the Caribbean under consideration,
demonstrates some parallel traditions.
Both areas provided changing socio-
political conditions in which the vegetal
masques and their associated characters
turned their traditional roles into secular
roles which fit new ceremonial sche-
dules and social organization.

Fara-fita kankurangcomposite masques
appear in eastern areas of Senegal and
the Gambia. These are combinations of
both bark and leaf masques. The bark
shreds cover the face and are wrapped
around the upper body, while the lower
body is covered by leaves attached to a
waist and hip band. This figure appears
during both male and female initiation
which takes place in bush schools. 25

A second type of vegetal masque has
been documented in Senegambia. This
fita-kankurang is worn by adult males.
He assists at boys' circumcision and.
also can be called out to assist in over-
seeing public work projects and evening
ceremonies of a secular nature. The
masqued figure appears in public only
when he is fully constumed, for tradi-
tionally if he is seen by an uncircumcised
male or by any woman before he is fully
costumed the fertility of the village is
threatened. 26

According to historic and some con-
temporary literature, fita-kankurang is
also sometimes associated with female
activities. After excision ceremonies, he
accompanies the women during their
presentation to the public. He also
assists at public ceremonies designed to
settle disputes between husbands and
wives. Along these lines it is intriguing
to compare Belisario's sketch of Jack-in-
the-Green with the Set Girls in Kingston
with the above description. It is as if
Jack-in-the-Green, surrounded by the Set
Girls, is accompanying them as they
parade in all their' finery before an
appreciative public. Perhaps one can
assume an echo of one of the original
roles of the Manding vegetal figure.
It is not surprising that this figure
assumes functions in both male and
female groups and is ultimately res-
ponsible for maintaining social order
between men and women. Manding
oral tradition tells of the......

mythological marriage between the
masked figure and the female in
charge of excision, the ngangsingba.
Central to the operation of the female
age-grade system, the ngangsingba
succeeds to her position matrilin-
eally in a line going back to the eldest
daughter of the first founder of the
village. Her supernatural powers in-
clude that called kungfano, also
possessed by the masked figure, a
power she applies not only to protect
little girls after their excision but
also to watch over female propriety.
She and the head founder and head
stranger of the young men's age
grade consult with each other to co-
ordinate the feast activities of the
male and female age sets, as well as
mutual social control responsibili-
ties. She is present at all of the public
activities......... 27

It is important here to emphasize that
bark masques, leaf masques, and palm
frond (straw) masques constitute se-
parate categories of vegetal costumes.
Fita-kankurang is a leaf masque. 28 The
head covering is made of a diamond-
shaped frame over which is spread red
flannel with with facial features outlined
in cowrie. Very often two ox horns are
attached to the top portion. 29 Fita-
kankurang is actually the only vegetal
mask documented that incorporates a
facial section made from another materi-
al. Older descriptions of the masque
indicate that this combination is perhaps
a recent development. An illustration
from 1818 indicates that the figure's
facial area and head section are com-
pletely covered with leaves. 30

A third variety of vegetal figure appears
among the Diola, who live south of the
Casamance River in Lower Senegal and
among certain peoples living in Guinea
Bissau. In fact, the figure and its cor-
responding masqued association, kumpo,
seem to have originated in Guinea
Bissau and spread north. Kumpo is
traditionally Guinean and does not seem
to be Manding in origin, although the
history of this area is specially confusing
when attempting to sort out Manding
influence. In some cases traditions seem
to parallel one-another so closely that an
ultimate decoding of "origin" may prove
impossible. The kumpo figure among the
Kasanga and Banyun (Bainunk) of
Guinea Bissau is part of an all-male
society and is responsible for maintain-
ing social peace between the sexes. 31
The figure taunts women who have caused
domestic troubles, and as a result they
hide when he enters the village. The
young boys who follow kumpo often
carry brooms which they use to hide
his feet during the dance. The identity of
the performer is secret. 32 The kumpo
association among the Diola living
north of Guinea Bissau is an all-male,
classed association, although the kumpo
figure is an initiator and educator of
both boys and girls. The kumpo dance
is accompanied by unmarried women
and single newly circumcised males.
In fact, whether kumpo appears alone or
with its associated masked figures, its

role is to persuade the young people to
dance and celebrate, and the dance is
often choreographed so as to include
them. 33

In addition to the above duties, a more
traditional role for kumpo has been
documented. It more closely resembles
the kumpo's position in Guinea Bissau.
In this role the kumpo can combat evil
by identifying 'sorcerers' or evil spirits
in a given village, and thus has the
privilege of methodically searching.the
village while accompanied by the same
men who went into the bush to fetch

The kumpo's costume is divided into
an upper andlo wer section. Both parts
are covered by fibres de ronier, the
date palm tree. The lower part is held on
by wrapping thin strips of vine around
the body, crisscrossing the bands across
the chest and over the shoulders, and
attaching the date palm strips to this
foundation. The body cover is usually
composed of five levels of wrapped
fibre. An armature of wood from the
same tree and covered by fibre makes up
the upper section (huko kate kumpo). It
is actually almost a hood which rests on
the dancer's head and is manipulated by
his hands. Three quarters of the way down
the centre stick of the hood is a circular
section of smaller sticks which form a
cover for the dancer's head. Strips of
fibre are placed over this structure.
The huko can be raised and lowered,
giving the impression that the kumpo
figure is capable of growing and shrink-
ing at will. The dance performed
is highly energetic and acrobatic
and reminiscent of Pitchy Patchy's
dance in Jamaica. What I am suggesting
is that the composition of the costume
has influenced the development of a
similar choreography. The dancer glides
and hops to a soft drum beat. As the
music accelerates, he moves abruptly
with either calculated slowness or in-
credible speed, often stopping abruptly
and falling prone on the earth. 34

Vegetal masques which fit into the
framework of those just described have
been documented as far east as Upper
Volta. 35 Among the Bobo and the Bwa,
already initiated men and women partici-
pate in ceremonies in which they become
masks called orowa. The body of each
orowa is wound with cord to which
karite leaves are attached.' On the head
is a covering made from finely braided
grass. These fibre and leaf masks belong
to both the do and the koro associations
among the Bwa living in both eastern
Mali and Upper Volta. The masques
come out during the yearly ceremonies
which celebrate the rebirth of vegeta-
tion. 36 Every three years certain villages
hold a special celebration during which
the masque of the sacred animal of do,
the oro-lenu, accompanied by the afore-
mentioned masques, appears. The sacred
animal of do wears a costume similar to
the ones described except that the upper
portion is a pyramid form composed
of small sticks and covered with fibre
strips. The oro-lenu dances with flywhisks

or bundles of leafed branches. 37
He makes sure that all people are
participating in the special festival, and
he hits anyone who is not fulfilling his
or her role. After making a tour of the
village, all masques enter the sacred
forest to dance, all the while faking
combat with one-another. 38

This reference to oro-lenu the sacred
animal of do, who is associated with the
vegetal masks and is himself costumed in
natural fibre, is especially pertinent to
the present discussion. Do, according
to the epic of Sundjata, was the name of
an area that bordered the land of the
Mande peoples. 39 A wild buffalo roam-
ed the land of do, and killed all who
tried to capture him. He was finally
killed by hunters from the Traore family,
a founding family among the Mande,
and a Traore elder married a women
from do. Thus the land of do was to
become part of the Empire of Mali, for
Sundjata was born of this union and
founded the Kingdom of Mali(1230-1255),
initiating the spread of Manding culture
through a large area of West Africa. It
is noteworthy that the vegetal masks are
thus connected in a ritual which includes
references to an important aspect of
Manding history.

The fact that these particular figures
are found in Upper Volta does not
contradict my hypothesis of early Mand-
ing slave trade to the Caribbean forming
a cultural-artistic foundation for Carib-
bean society.. As the slave trade expanded
and new African coastal ports opened,
slaves began to be shipped from coastal
areas from Liberia to Ghana. Philip
Curtin has pointed out that many of
these were Manding slaves from the

Although there is no way to definitely
prove the point one way or the other,
I feel that Caribbean vegetal costumes
and their more contemporary shredded
cloth variety can be viewed as a Trans-
Atlantic extention of at least Senegam-
bian and Guinean ritual characters.
Granted, the British straw figure may
havd influenced the nomenclature and
vocabulary chosen by certain authors,
but one must always keep in mind that
the costumes were made by and
the dances danced by Blacks. To the
mind of the onlooker, they might have
been Jack-in-the-Green, but to the mind
of the participant they most probably
originally were kankurang, kumpo, orawa,
or a dozen other names. With time
European derived names became those
often employed and today in the Carib-
bean these same figures are known by a
variety of names.............two of which are
Pitchy Patchy and Pierrot Grenade.

1. Edward Long, The History of Jamaica,
T. Lowndes, London, 1774, Vol. II, p.
2. Kwame Yeba Daaku, Trade and Politics
on the Gold Coast 1600-1720, Oxford,
1970, p. 138. (I am grateful to Robert
Farris Thompson for pointing out this
reference to me).
3. Historians and linguists have pointed out
that the final syllables in "Connu" and
"Konny" are incompatible. Prof. Mervyn
Alleyne, UWI, has indicated that "Konny"
as an anglicized African surname could
well derive from an African pronunciation
of "Cunning", an apt adjective for John
Konny. Additionally, Beverley Hall, the
African-Caribbean Institute, notes that
"Jonkonnu" does have linguistic affinities
with certain African Ewe words whose base
linguistic family has contributed many
loan words to Jamaican English. It is
quite possible that the street festival had a
name before Long documented "John
Connu" in 1774. One can tentatively postu-
late that a combination of a linguistic and
a political impetus produced the nomencla-
ture that has been in use since the eighteenth
4. Rex Nettleford, Mirror Mirror, p. 208
William Collins and Sangster, 1970.
5. I am using the term masquerade as defining
any group of costumed performers. The
French word masque did not appear until
the 1500's and reflects the influence of
Italian festivals. In fact, the Italian word
mascherata or maschera (Spanish mascara)
may be derived from the Arabic maskhara,
which implies a ritualised mockery.
See Enid Welsford: The Court Masque,
Cambridge, 1927.
G. Martha Beckwith, Christmas Mummings
in Jamaica, Vassar College, 1923.
7. Madeline Kerr, Personality and Conflict
in Jamaica, Liverpool, 1952.
8. Thomas Young, Narrative of a Residence on
the Mosquito Shore during 1839-1841,
London 1842, p. 31.
9. Ibid p. 121.
10. Ibid. p. 123.
11. Nancie Solien, "West Indian Characteris-
tics of the Black Carib", in Peoples and
Cultures of the Caribbean, ed. Michael
Horowitz, N.Y. 1971. p. 138.
12. Ibid.
13. Robert Dirks and Virginia Kearns, "John
Canoe", National Studies, Vol. 3. No. 6
Nov. 1975, Belize. p. 6-8.
14. Andrew Carr, "Pierrot Grenade", Carib-
bean Quarterly, Vol. 4 No. 3 & 4 1956
p. 284.
15. Errol Hill, The Trinidad Carnival, Austin,
1972, p. 92.
16. Op. Cit.
17. Hill, bid.
18. Daniel Crowley, "Traditional Masques of
Carnival", Caribbean Quarterly, Vol. 4
No. 3 & 4, 1956, p. 199.

19. Margaret Dean-Smith, "Disguise in English
Folk-Drama", Folk-Life Vol. I, 1963,
p. 98.

20. J.H. Parry and Philip Sherlock, A Short
History of the West Indies, New York,
1973, p. 69.
21. Walter Rodney, A History of the Upper
Guinea Coast 1545-1800, Oxford, 1970
p. 242.
22. Peter M. Weil, "The Masked Figure and
Social Control, The Mandinka Case",
Africa, No. 41. 1971, p. 279-280.
23. Jean Girard, "Genese du Pouvoir Charisma-
tique en Basse Casamance", IFAN, Dakar,
1969, p. 96.
24. Roderic Knight, "Mandinka Drumming",
African Arts, Vol. VII, No. 4, Summer
1974, p. 34.
25. Peter Weil, Personal communication, Dec.
7, 1975.
26. Weil, Op. Cit., p. 286.
27. Weil, Op. Cit., p. 287.
28. Well, Op. Cit., p. 280.
29. The question of horns and vegetal costumes
among the Manding and in the Caribbean
will be taken up in a subsequent article.
30. W.C. Gray and Staff Surgeon Dochard,
Travels in Western Africa in the Years
1818-1821, London, 1825.

31. Rodney does state that the Kasanga are
some of the most strongly Manding in-
fluenced people in Guinea Bissau. p. 7.
32. Emmy Bernatzik, personal communication
July 1975.
33. Louis-Vincent Thomas, Les Diola, IFAN,
Memories No. 55, Dakar, 1959, p. 398.
Jean Girard, "Diffusion en Mileau Diola de
l'Association du Koumpo Bain6uk", IFAN,
Serie B, No. 1-2, Dakar, Jan-Avril 1965,
p. 51.
34. Thomas, Ibid.
35. For a recent discussion of the role of other
vegetal figures, please see African Arts
"Men's Masquerades of Sierra Leone and
Liberia", Vol. 1X. No. 3, April, 1976.
36. Jacqueline Delange, The Art and People of
Black Africa, New York, 1974, p. 23.
37. R.P.B. de Rasilly, "Bwa laada, Coutumes et
Croyances Bwa", IFAN, Serie B, XXVLL,
Jan-Avril 1965, Dakar, p. 108-109.
38. Ibid. p. 152.
39. I amusing D.T. Niane, Sundiata, an Epic of
old Mali, London, 1965, for the following
information on the land of do. Nehemia
Levtzion, Ancient Ghana and Mali, locates
it much farther to the West. And Rene
Bravmann, Islam and Tribal Art in West
Africa, discusses two separate Do masque-
rade traditions which are also distinct from
those discussed here, without fully explain-
ing their relationships to one another. The
problem is undoubtedly linguistic, historical,
and art historical. I hope to pursue this
issue in the future.

I would like to thank Cheryl Ryman and the staff of the African-Caribbean Institute of Jamaica for their help and inspiration.

Editor's Note: In the celebration of such folk rituals, it is not normal for spectators to participate.

1 i i ^^ U **
F -^^ "





Much W.I. Panamanian architecture is
Georgian in character. It is vital and fresh
although created more than a hundred years
after the style, already lagging far behind
Europe, was popular in Jamaica. I would
venture to say that there is something
in the African Caribbean approach to
construction which is harmonious with
Georgian concepts. It is essential for a
proper understanding of our culture that
this seeming paradox be properly investigated
and researched.
All the houses shown here are in Rio Abajo,
about six miles away from the centre of
the city. Traditionally it has been a West
Indian section; but migration of other
groups of Panamanians from the country
to the city is gradually turning the area
into a mixed neighbourhood. Along with these

changes the architecture is being destroyed.
This is a symbol of the gradual erosion of
West Indian culture in Panama. While
monuments of stone from the Spanish
colonial period are being systematically
restored, there is no emphasis put on the
restoration of wooden architecture.
What can we learn from this dying
architecture? There obvious functional quali-
ty are mentioned elsewhere in this article.
However, another advantage of building off
the ground is to be investigated. Much
valuable historical architecture is daily
destroyed to make room for more develop-
ment. These together with the large number
of archaeological sites around them could
be preserved if new buildings of light mate-
rials were built above them elevated on stilts.

VAr' a- .'.-- ,

Modern Panama



Modern designers forget sometimes the architectural
lessons which can be learned from older tropical dwellings.
These houses of Panama seem to be brothers and sisters to
many Jamaican buildings, and in fact, their forms derive
from the same historical source and from the same principles
of design.

Like most older Jamaican dwellings these Panamanian
examples have lots of windows for ventilation. Whole walls
give way to window openings. Ample verandahs and porches
catch the breeze and cool the incoming air as well as pro-
vide places for play and relaxation. But perhaps the most
striking feature of these houses is that the main floor is elevat-
ed above the ground.

Such design keeps floors dry and protects timber structures
from rot and damp, discourages insects, and also elevates the
living area to catch both breeze and view.
Roofs are sloping to shed the violence of tropical rains;
generous overhangs throw water well away from walls.

The Georgian period was an influential time for European
architectural style in the New World. From Britain's North
American colonies right down to Spanish-held colonies in
South America we find examples of Classic design. The
stately rectangular proportions of older buildings as well as
ornamental features found on columns, windows, and doors
have a common historical source in the European Classical
revival of the Eighteenth Century.

ft. -

II 7


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ly^.^, l4 i.
1 : 1c-.




Yet in Panama as in Jamaica important changes were
made in the imported design vocabulary to suit a tropical
climate and way of life. Use of timber instead of stone as
the main building material prompted a lightness which formed
a complete departure from solid European examples.

The little house with its neat Salvation Army
sign designating its use, has a monumental
and assertive character. How the staircase is
boxed in is particularly modem and fresh. To
the right there is a projection cut to fit the shape
of the eave. This gives the house greater density
and mass. To the left we see the top storey wall
made up of panels which give us the impression
that they can be opened and closed at will.
The two over-window projections on the lower
floor are dynamic.

This house of Victorian tendency has deterio-
rated from its original form. We can assume
that the cemented in portions of the ground
floor are recent additions.

Use of the octagon as a bay window or mini-tower shows
individual freedom of invention. Spontaneous and delicate,
these decorative forms push their way out of the boxy Georgian
stereotype and almost laugh with delight and gaiety. This is
truly the fun we expect in societies where Carnivals, Jonkanoo,
and 'set girls' break the monotony of the work-a-day world.

However, dignity and nobility of proportion temper such
humourous touches. How grandly staircases lead one up
to the elevated main floor! How graceful and noble are the
proportions of these wooden boxes supported by spidery
columns! Perhaps we see here a hint of the modern age to

The setting here puts one somewhat in mind
of Mandeville. The gate is familiar enough.
There is obviously a meshed-in verandah run-
ning along the threesides of the front. This and
lattice work enclosure below give an air of privacy
and comfort. Good living and harmony with
nature are suggested by the carefully nurtured
vegetation of the yard.

A humble old man looks through the only
opening in the meshed-in verandah. Perhaps
because he had taken so much pride in the up-
keep of the house he was very amenable to
my taking the photograph. The most interesting
feature of the house is the front. As with much
Jamaican Georgian architecture there is a
marked distinction between this frontal enclosed
verandah and the rest of the house. The material
is lighter being nothing more than a series of
inter-connected windows skirted by a dado
section. In the Spanish Town-Bernard Lodge
area there is similar use made of meshed fenes-
tration based on a simple grid framework. The
vertical arrangement in the planks in the dado
area is echoed in the design of the frieze and
contrasted to the horizontal arrangement of the
planks in the rest of the house. The shell-like
'radiation' which design is regularly used in
the frieze give lightness and movement to the
design. This type of staircase is a fairly common
feature in Jamaica, Georgian architecture.

Imagine in the heat of the tropical day how inviting these
dark shady caverns under the suspended first floors must
be. One is tempted to lounge or conduct the day's business
on this ground floor level. In Spanish Town and Saint Ann's
Bay we find streets of verandahs suspended over similar
lofty arcades inviting us in to shop or pass the time.

Much modern architecture derives its aesthetic principles
from Cubism, the geometrical inventions of European painters
in the '20's and 30's. In this approach forms and voids are
articulated to create patterns of light and dark, in and out,
far more exciting than in the inert Classical style.
In these Panamanian examples one finds a similar almost
modern approach to architectural form. Rows of windows
create a powerful horizontal thrust along a verandah. Portions
are elevated on thin, almost invisible, columns, or a box juts
out decorated with an arched window. The exterior stair
forms an interesting diagonal across front or side.

Participating in a quiet dignity derived from their historical
background, these dwelling houses in Panama nevertheless
show us the tropical side of their personality with their
friendly shady verandahs, inviting staircases, their decorative
flights of fancy; they even hint at a modern and Cubistic
approach, using active forms and lively elements. In addition,
they are fundamentally practical dwellings and at ease in
their tropical environment.

This building was originally constructed in
the Canal Zone to house the workers. It was
later pulled down along with others and set up
Sin its present site of Rio Abajo. I am not certain
whether it was designed by Americans .who
borrowed from West Indian design or by
L West Indians themselves. Most of the early
construction in the canal zone was of wood.
In this example posts are capped by strengthen-
ing diagonal supports on two-sides. This is
done in such a way that the spaces between the
posts are divided into three equal parts thereby
setting up a rythmic pattern all the way around
the house. Children find the lower space a con-
genial play area.

There is to me an intriguingly mathematical
quality in the design of this house. The concrete
slab at the bottom describes the overall dimen-
sion (width and length) of the structure on top
of it. The way in which the space of this struc-
ture is divided is most interesting. It is like a
'patchwork' of space. To the front the top
storey overhangs the bottom storey, lining
up A ith the front of the concrete base. A similar
arrangement is to be seen in the landing of the
staircase over what appears to be the toilet.
The staircase itself which in many of these
houses falls outside the basic rectangle of the
house; is in this case neatly incorporated into
the basic rectangle of the base. In this way
there is always a feature of the building, whether
on the top or bottom floor or inter-relating be-
tween the two, which lines up with and does not
exceed the rectangle of the base.

A rectangle which is independent of the main
rectangle of the house is succinctly inserted
Into the larger box; the smaller box being two
equal sized cubes one on top of the other.
The top is crowned with an extensive over-
hanging roof on its two outer sides which throws
the water away from the mesh windows. The
bottom houses the toilet. There is considerable
symmetry of design as there is another meshed
area to the left of the building as one looks at
the photograph. This is a cubical area which
opens into a staircase to the downstairs. The
pipes to the right of the photo do not appear
to have been an original feature but the tall pipe
which protrudes from the roof integrates
sufficiently with the house's geometry to prove
the essential modernity of the design. [West
Indians are very adaptable to Western technology.
This is why they had to be chosen to build
history's greatest canal. The faculty which
enabled them to do this is demonstrated in
their architecture.]

Buildings like this express a high degree of
integration between nature and structure which
has become, like organic matter, slightly warped.
The trees around it protect it from strong winds
and diffuse the sunlight which it receives.
This house is along the bus route from Rio Abajo
to the centre of Panama city.

When I photographed this house an irate
owner gave me the only resistance I was ever to
encounter to my photographic activities there.
Unknown to me at the time, her son was observ-
ing me from behind the mesh door of the
verandah. The house is nevertheless interesting
for study. The verandah railings are like so
many in Jamaica. The bottom storey, below
street level, is a cozy work area for washing and
drying clothes on a rainy day. The way in which
the top post (nearest foreground) is joined to
the supporting pillar is simple, efficient carpentry.

- Ibn-J

The Editor Interviews




Roberto Fernandez Retamar was born in Havana in 1930. After graduat-
-- ing from the University of Havana he attended the Sorbonne and the
.. University of London; he taught at Yale for a short while before returning
M. ;i I to Cuba at the time of the revolution. Among his publications are Collected
Poems 1948-65, To whom It May Concern, 1958-1970, Parallel Notebook
.- (1973). Essay of Another World (1967, expanded 1969), and Caliban (1971).
SHe is at present the director of the Casa de las Americas journal, which
has been described as "the most outstanding intellectual forum in Latin
America today".
.a Q. Cuba has a Spanish cultural tradition and Jamaica a British
Cultural tradition; our strongest bond may be the African
retention in both countries. To what extent has the philo-
sophy of the Cuban Revolution succeeded in overcoming the
Historical Spanish prejudice implied in the concept of 'Limpieza
de sangre'?
A. The Spanish prejudice implicit in the concept of 'Limpieza
de sangre' (purity of blood) is not only hypocrisy and a crazy
notion but, above all, it was-as is usual in these cases--another
instrument in the class struggle. The researcher Americo
Castro has shown that up to the 15th century, the term 'Spanish'
applied equally to Christians, Moors and Jews, who co-existed
for centuries in the Iberian peninsula. It was only from the
15th century that this tradition came to an end; with the com-
plete military victory of the Christians over the Moors, the
former began to use the name 'Spaniards' with exclusive re-
ference to themselves. The lands remained entirely in their
hands: they were the great feudal lords. Jews and Moors
fulfilled other functions which, if they had been allowed to
develop, would have given rise to a significant bourgeoisie
and, therefore, a strong Spanish capitalism. This was not to be.
Instead, the warlike feudal lords, greedy for the riches of the
Jews and Moors, stripped them of their wealth and expelled
them. In order not to suffer a similar fate, those who remained
in the Iberian peninsula had to prove their 'Limpieza de sangre'.
To understand the hypocrisy of this "proof" we have only to
remember that Ferdinand the Catholic, in whose name and in
the name of whose wife Isabel the Catholic, Columbus came to
America, was the grandson of a Jewess; and that Jewish bankers
arrived in America with Columbus himself.
The racial mixture in Spain was so intense that the other
Europeans have usually said, not without reason, that "Africa
begins in the Pyrenees". Moreover, the catastrophic expulsion of
the Jews and Moors (for economic reasons, but masquerading
under other guises) contributed greatly to depriving Spain of a
bourgeoise which might have allowed her to capitalize the
wealth extracted from our lands. Without this capitalizing
class to rely upon, such riches were to end up in the hands of
other European countries which had amply developed their
capitalism, while on the other hand the flourishing Spain of
the 15th and 16th centuries became what in the jargon of
today we call an 'underdeveloped' country. With acid and
precise irony the bankers of those European countries used to
refer to the Spaniards as "our Indians".........Such is the bitter
*lesson of Spanish 'Limpieza de sangre'.
SIn pre-revolutionary Cuba during the Spanish colonisation
A, and the neo-colonisation by the United States, there also
existed an intense racism, directed this time against the popula-
Roberto Fernandez Retamar

tion of African origin. Of course, if these people had been
expelled, following the terrible pattern established by the
Spaniards in the 15th and 16th centuries, the unenterprising
white bourgeoisie or semi-bourgeoisie of the Island would have
been incapable of surviving, and so they were careful not to
repeat the Spanish blunder: they simply used racial prejudice
as one more ideological weapon in the class war.
In the Cuba of today, where this class war has been
definitely won by the masses, who were the exploited of yes-
terday (and among whom there is an enormous number of
African descendants), such ideas as L'impieza de sangre' are
as anachroliistic as the idea of burning heretics at the stake.
On the contrary, we are proud of our various origins: the work
of our forefathers built the riches of the country: why should
we not be proud of them? As for the dreadful slavery which was
suffered in our country, I believe nothing expresses our senti-
ments better than the verse of NicolAs Guill6n in his great
poem The Surname: "Let the master be ashamed!" Today
more than ever we repeat with full rights the words of Marti:
"Man is more than white, more than mulatto, more than negro.
Cubanismorethan white, more than mulatto, more than negro".

Q. Is Cuba committed to the Caribbean, rather than the Latin
American identity?

A. Continental countries, from Mexico to Chile and Argentina,
together with Caribbean countries, we all form part of a devel-
oping greater community: that which, from 1877, Marti
named "Our America", to distinguish us from the America
which is not ours, and which from 1883 Marti called "The
European America": the United States. Cuba, which is, of
course, essentially a Caribbean country, is, for this very reason,
a vital constituent of 'Our America'. The names by which
the colonisers have called us are all arbitrary, and thus provoke
understandable confusion: to the English-speaking Caribbean
countries, it appears that the expression 'Latin America'
does not include them because of the insignificant role of the
Latin element in their composition. But if it is the etymol6gy of
the word that is the deciding factor, why should we accept the
expression 'West Indies' when the Indian element is only one
of the parts of our culture? And the same name 'America'
taken from the adventurer Vespuccio, would it be the one to
suit us? After all, these discussions could end up by being
nothing more than Byzantine academic gallantry. What matters
is that our history, that of the Caribbean countries and other
sister countries, is but one, through so many vicissitudes shared
in common: the first of which is that of having been born of
colonialism. It is extremely significant that in the same year
(1970) two heads of State of this area, Eric Williams and
Juan Bosch, each published books on the same theme and-
what is really notable-with the same title: From Columbus
to Fidel Castro. They tried to show to the world the coherence
of our history, the history of the Caribbean-a fundamental
part of our America-better than I could do in these few lines.
Both authors underscored in their respective books, the role
which Cuba has been called on to play in this history, that of the
Caribbean- that of our America.

Q. Cuba belongs to the Communist World, and Jamaica to the
Third World: in as far as the Cuban cultural revolution is
essentially related to the Cubah political revolution, how do
you view cultural exchange with Jamaica which is not com-
mitted to the concept of Marxism/Leninism, but rather to
the broad concept of finding a 'Third Way for the Third

A. To the arbitrary designations with which the capitalist
'developed' world has named us (some of which I have just
mentioned in the passage above) we have to add that of 'Third
World'. This term was used for the first time in 1952 by the
French demographer Alfred Sauvy in an article which was
published in thejournal France Observateur (now called Nouvelle
Observateur). Sauvy used it then as an analogy to the French
'Third Estate' of 1789. We know that this term has been
successful, and that all of us-whether we like it or no-use it.
What no one knows very well is what is meant by 'Third World'.
To begin: Which is the 'First World' and which is the 'Second'?
(It follows that if there is a 'Third' there must be before that,

the other two.) Many appear to think that the Capitalist world
is the 'first', and the Socialist the 'second' (this was the same
idea that Sauvy had in mind: so he told me in Havana some
years ago). But then is it that the 'Third World' is neither
capitalist nor socialist? Is it that Mongolia, China, Korea,
Vietnam and Cuba, because of the fact that they are carrying
out Marxist-Leninist revolutions, do not belong to the 'Third
World'?; and the countries of that world which, other than
those previously cited, are exploited directly or indirectly by
the capitalist countries, and especially by North American imper-
ialism, can we possibly say that they are outside Capitalism?
These latter countries, are not only not outside Capitalism but
it is thanks to the exploitation which they have suffered (or are
suffering), that 'developed' capitalist countries have become
what they are. And therefore to imagine that they-the over-
exploited countries-are going a 'third way', is no more than
wishful thinking in the best of cases.
Nevertheless, whether the structures of capitalism have
already been broken and socialism is being constructed, or
that they still suffer exploitation by other countries, the equi-
vocal expression 'Third World' might embrace those countries
which directly or indirectly have suffered various forms of
colonialism, and which, because of this, share in their history
considerable elements and problems in common.
These common elements are numerous in the case of Jamaica
and Cuba. It is not only the close geographic proximity which
makes us relatives: we were born of plantation economies,
which meant the transportation to our lands of a large number
of men of African origin who were to give a peculiar stamp to
our cultures; and these cultures have been made in dramatic
counterpoint with those of their respective metropolitan count-
ries. Exchanging our experience in this field is then of major
importance to us; if the leaders of both our countries were
able to travel together to the memorable Meeting of Non-
Aligned Countries which took place in Algeria, why shouldn't
our dancers, painters, poets, cinematographers, playwrights,
musicians be able to intercommunicate fruitfully? We will
verify all that we have in common and which colonialism has
up to now prevented us from realising; we will learn what is
distinctive and creative, and contribute, to the extent of our
strength and with full respect for the particular solution chosen
by each of our countries, to the complete liberation of our

Q. In his article 'Two Revolutionary Literatures' (Jamaica
Journal, Volume 8 Nos. 2 and 3) the late Gabriel Coulthard
In Cuba, since the triumph of the revolution, and particularly since
Dr. Castro's "Words to the intellectuals", such critics as Jose
Antonio Portuondo, Lisandro Otero, Roberto Fernandez Retamar
and many others have strongly opposed any form of socialistic
realism, with its schematicism of characterization, its sloppy, shoddy
'writingers, its stereotypes, any attempt at levelling down to a literature
of the masses. They have consistently insisted on the maintenance of
high literary standards.
Have You any comment to make on the question of standards
as it relates to our own cultural revolution here in Jamaica?

A. High literary and artistic standards are of course indis-
pensable in any cultural revolution. Well then, who is to deter-
mine what are these standards? For it could unfortunately
happen that we would accept the standards which have been
imposed on us for centuries by metropolitan countries, and
that in expressing our judgements we would be repeating, with-
out knowing or wanting to, other people's judgements. A
cultural revolution, like any revolution, does not only create
works: it also creates standards. And if we are told that these
standards are universal and that it would be folly to try to
supplant the universal judgement, we will then answer that a
'universal judgement' in the elaboration of which we have not
participated, cannot be accepted by us as such. That judge-
ment will be universal in as far as it is also of our making. Then
-and only then-will it be able to develop as it ought,
our popular music, our novels, our dance, and our way of
life. Then we would be able to vouch that our high standards
of creativity are truly so: high standards, and our standards.

The Editor is grateful to Miss Beverley Hall of the Institute of Jamaica for
assistance in the translation of this interview.




Dr. Barry Higman was born at Wagga Wag-
ga, Australia. He Gained the B.A. from the Uni-
versity of Sydney and the PhD. from the Univer-
sity of the West Indies where he has been teach-
ing in the History Department since 1971.

It is well known that over the past
ten years there has been a significant
migration to Australia of Jamaicans and
other West Indians. It is less well known
that a similar movement occurred in
the nineteenth century. There are,
however, some interesting similarities
between the two migrations. Most of
the recent migrants have been white or
fair. This is the direct result of the idea
of a "White Australia" which has
determined Australian immigration poli-
cy throughout most of the twentieth
century, and is only now breaking down.
Although this policy was not implemen-
ted until 1900, most of those West
Indians who went to Australia during
the nineteenth century were also white.
Then it was largely a matter of econom-
ics. few black labourers or peasants
could afford the relatively high cost of
the passage. But most of the nineteenth
century emigrants left the Caribbean
because they saw the old plantation
economy collapsing after emancipation
and saw "barbarism" growing all around.
Those whites who fled Jamaica, Barba-
dos and Trinidad after Independence
very often had similar fears and expecta-
tions, even if they expressed them in
different words. Again, they left positions
of social status and wealth, derived from
their colour, to find themselves in a
rough, egalitarian (if racist) society, in
which they often had to soil their hands
to gain a living.
Australia caught the attention of
Jamaicans in the early 1850s. Payable
gold was first discovered in New South
Wales in April 1851, and in Victoria
four months later. News of these dis-
coveries, of the great yield obtained, and
of the "rush" of diggers to the goldfields,
soon reached Jamaica. Some Jamaicans
had already gone to California to seek
gold, but the Australian gold rushes
coincided with the ravages of cholera
and the impact of the equalization of
the sugar duties by the British Imperial
government. By May 1852 a reader of
the Falmouth Post was asking the
"shortest, safest, and cheapest" way to
Australia, and proposing emigration
from St. Ann, Trelawny and St. James
to "the new El Dorado." But the
newspaper's editor, John Castello, gave
no encouragement, saying that most of

the Jamaicans who had gone to California
had returned bankrupt. And he opposed
the emigration to Australia on the
grounds that Jamaica was in great need
of men "who work with the head."
Others criticized the prospective emigrants
for being willing to work hard overseas
but not in Jamaica:
Their pride is the obstacle in the
way... they cannot submit to stoop
to what is considered by their every
day associates and themselves a
degrading employment.' They were
exhorted to cultivate their native
At the beginning of June 1852 the
Kingston Colonial Standard published
a letter from the Rev. John Gibson, a
Presbyterian missionary who had spent
some years in Jamaica and had gone to
work in New South Wales. He predicted
that the colony would become one of
the greatest and richest of modern times,
as a result of its boundless mineral
The destiny of this colony is quite
changed by this great discovery. Ja-
maica is poor compared with it.
How well the black people and
others from your country would
do here I wish we had one or two
thousand. We expect thousands of
emigrants for our gold.2
At the same time it was said that
nearly 100 had gone to the Isthmus of
Panama within a week to take ship
across the Pacific to the "promised
land". And a company was formed by
a group of Kingston "gentlemen" in
order to charter a vessel to carry "respec-
table persons" to southern Australia.
Twelve copies of a book Ten Years in
Australia were sold out within one
morning in Kingston. The editor of the
Colonial Standard joined Castello in
opposing emigration, but beleived that
Britain's free trade policy had "closely
approached the crisis of expelling from
the colony the little leaven that might
have prevented it from retrograding
to unmitigated barbarism."3 Some of
those proposing to go to "the British
Ophir" were the last to be expected to
emigrate, said the editor:
For others who are anxious to go...
they may be reckoned by scores...
less fortunate only, than the others,
they, too, are of the class in which
what mind and civilization and
energy there are in the country
are to be found.

Most of them, obviously, were white.
By the end of June 1852 sufficient
families had been found to fill the berths
of the first vessel to sail from Kingston
to Australia. They were to pay 40
sterling for the passage, and were sche-
duled to sail in early September. Others
had already set out for the Australian
goldfields via London, New York and
Panama. But the announcement of orga-
nized emigration brought forth renewed
criticism from John Castello, in an
editorial entitled "Creole Emigration
to Australia." HIe was careful to define
creoles as young men of the middle
and upper classes. They were, said.
Castello, brought up to a life of ease and
comfort, and were."too accustomed to
the gentle, sleep inducing undulations
of a rocking chair or hammock" to be
fitted for the hard labour involved in
gold-seeking. The Jamaica creoles had
no hope of competing with the Europeans
or Americans, "or with the native
Australians who have been trained to
arduous occupations from their infancy."
Wrote Castello:
In a country of hardy, robust,
and hard-working men, our Jama-
ica emigrants, entirely dependent
on their own unassisted exertions,
must soon become completely help-
less, or consent to perform "light
drudgery." They will not find in
Australia, that indulgence for their
inactivity, or that solicitude for
their comforts, or that care for their
health, or that tending in sickness,
to which all Creoles, more or less,
have been accustomed. They may
be quite correct in imagining, that
their qualifications are under-paid
in the land of their birth: but,
poorly as they may deem themselves
recompensed in this, their island of
yams and plantains, we are of
opinion, that they had much better
remain where they are, than emigrate
with their relaxed frames, to the
best "diggings" in the world4.
These predictions of failure did not
deter those Jamaicans eager to emigrate
to Australia. When absentee-proprie-
tors reduced the salaries of overseers
and bookkeepers, the planters organized
meetings to promote their emigration.
In Monetgo Bay more than 100 overseers
and planters met in July 1852, resolving
that "an immediate organization should
be entered into, 'with unity of purpose
and combination of means,' for the

purpose of enabling this valuable class
of the population to emigrate immediately
to Australia." Other meetings were held
in Spanish Town, Alley and St. Thomas-
in-the-East. Memorials were sent from
the "Custos, Magistrates, Clergy and
other inhabitants" and the "planters
and proprietors" of the parish of St.
George to the Colonial Secretary in
London. They claimed that their distress
was a product of emancipation (and its
effect on the labour supply), the removal
of the protective sugar duties and the
cholera epidemic. As "compensation"
for their losses they applied for grants
of land in Australia, "a colony more-
congenial to the physical powers of
their race." Further, they were
the more urgent in making this ap-
peal, in order to escape the domina-
tion of a barbarism rapidly establish
ing itself in this island, whilst it ap-
pears to your memorialists that such
grants of land would afford the British
nation an easy and ready means of
discharging, in some slight measure,
a just debt towards the West Indians
and your memorialists.
The British government, however, was
not impressed by these claims, and
simply told the planters that the regula-
tions for the disposal of land in Australia
made such grants impossible5.
If the possibility of exchanging their
ruinate Jamaican plantations for tracts
of virgin Australia was removed, gold
remained a great lure. So. attempts
at organized emigration continued. In
July 1852 the following advertisement
appeared in the Falmouth Post:
For Australia, should sufficient in-
ducement offer, the splendid newly
built clipper Gottland, of 320 tons
burthen, standing A.I. at Lloyds.
But although the Gottland reached Ja-
maica in August, it returned to London
in September, apparently not finding
"sufficient inducement" to sail from Ja-
maica to Australia. It sailed to Mel-
bourne with only a general cargo and no
passengers. One reason for the Gottland's
failure was that many of the prospective
"diggers" had committed themselves to
travel to Australia on the John Robinson,
which sailed on 19 September 1852. A
brig of 247 tons, the John Robinson took
almost five months to reach Melbourne,
the chief city of the colony of Victoria. It
did not reach the Cape of Good Hope
until 8 January 1853, two of the passen-
gers having died en route; but it then
travelled quickly to berth in Melbourne
on 18 February 6.
The Kingston Morning Journal looked
kindly on the John Robinson emigrants:
"Hurrah, say we, to the Jamaica Austra-
lian 'exodus'!"
The fact of so many persons for
Australia sailing from this port, is
a circumstance which may well
furnish matter for serious reflection.
But this extensive "exodus" may
however be contemplated, not only
without alarm, but even with satis-
faction, in the belief-"That there...
is bread and work for all, in the

land that they are going to!"
The emigrants also received the bless-
ing of the church. On the Sunday before
the John Robinson sailed a large congrega-
tion had gathered at St. Michael's in
Kingston to hear an address on the
exodus to Australia. The sermon was
was preached on Joshua 3:4 ("for
ye have not passed this way heretofore").
The Jamaica "pilgrims" were urged to
remember "the necessity of keeping the
Lord before their eyes for their guide in
the same manner as the ancient Israel-
ites were guided through a strange land
by the ark of the covenant which preceded
them."7 (Later it was suggested that
the John Robinson sailed on a Sunday
so that debtors could leave the island
without fear of arrest.) On the secular
side, the emigrants gave a "parting
entertainment" on board, in Kingston
harbour, followed by "a very sumptous
second breakfast." A farewell dinner
was also provided by Alexander Me
Whinney, a merchant, who travelled to
Melbourne with his wife, three children
and two servants.
When the John Robinson reached
Melbourne there were 64 passengers
on board. Unfortunately, the Melbourne
newspapers do not provide a passenger
list, but there is available a very full
list of the 57 passengers who embarked
in Kingston. Of the 57 emigrants, 14
were listed as accountants, seven as
planters, five as overseers, three as
merchants, three as "gentlemen" and
two as storekeepers. One of the mer-
chants, Robert C. Carr, had represented
the parish of St. David in the House of
Assembly. There was also an architect,
a solicitor, a "proprietor," a doctor and a
druggist. The doctor was most probably
Joseph Phillips, who had been very
active during the Jamaican cholera
epidemic and died in Melbourne in
1856. Four "servants" travelled with
their masters and mistresses on the
John Robinson, and they at least must
have been black or coloured. Four of
the men took their wives with them;
one woman, probably a widow, went with
her daughter; and there were five
spinsters. Only three children made the
journey8. So, most of the emigrants
were single men, with skills suited to
urban life or, to a lesser extent, agricul-
ture. They were the "creole" clerks and
overseers predicted by John Castello.
The Jamaican emigrants found them-
selves in a booming city of 80,000 people.
Two years of the gold rush had transform-
ed Melbourne into a centre of hectic
bustle. The flow of hopeful diggers
from all parts of the world was at its
peak in 1853. Pressure on accommoda-
tion had become so acute that a "Canvas
Town" had sprung up, where those
who could not afford or find lodgings
lived in tents. William Howitt, an English
observer, caught successfully the atmos-
phere of the Melbourne waterfront at
the end of 1852:
The streets here, inspite of the fine
weather drawing off immense num-
bers daily to the diggings, are
crowded with rude-looking diggers

and hosts of immigrants, with their
wives, their bundles, and their dogs.
All down, near the wharves, it is a
scene of. dust, drays and carts
hurrying to and fro, and heaps of
boxes, trunks, bundles, and dig-
ging-tools. Here you see ships un-
loading all kinds of goods, and
scores of drays fetching them away,.
making it almost impossible to pass
among them without being crushed;
and the fellows are not at all mindful
of you. It is every man's business to
take care of himself here. They. are
just as independent in their speech
as in their actions. It is a wonderful
place to take the conceit out of
men who expect much deference9.
Into this m616e the gentle Jamaican.
creoles were thrust. Most of those
who jostled or ignored them were Anglo-
Saxons, of course. But, within a week of
his arrival in Melbourne, one of the
John Robinson emigrants could write
home that
As to the character of the people,
I cannot say much for them. They
are mostly of the lower class, and
having suddenly been overwhelmed
with wealth, they have become,
most of them, impudent and in-
dependent; as rich as Croesus, but as
ignorant as the Irish Bog Trotter.
Not a few of them have gone mad,
and no wonder, when a fortune may
be made in five minutes'0.
As well as the rude untutored Anglo-
Saxons, there were already about 20,000
Chinese diggers in Victoria, and, observed
They, with Turks, Lascars, Negroes,
and black natives, and many other
strange races, in strange costumes,
are all in quest of gold, along with
Englishmen, Frenchmen, Germans,
Poles, Swedes, Danes, Spaniards,
Californians, Yankees, and men of
still other nations.
As a result, the Jamaican emigrants
appeared far less exotic than they
might in other times and circumstances.
The Melbourne Argus reported the
arrival of the John Robinson as follows:
But little surprise is now excited by
the arrival of any vessel from a
strange port; still the advent of the
John Robinson ought not to pass
unnoticed, especially when we find
very great importance attached to
her departure from Kingston, Jama-
The Agrus commented that "the
passengers appear to be highly respecta-
ble," and provided long extracts from the
Morning Journal's account of their
departure from Kingston. It also printed
an extract from the Cape Town Mail,
published when the John Robinson touch-
ed there. The comments of the South
African paper give an insight into the
attitudes and personnel of the emigration:
The accounts which her passengers
give of the losses suffered by the
large landed proprietors, conse-
quent upon the altered state of
society during the last few years,


lead to the belief that a very general
emigration of the white inhabitants
is likely to take place should the
present voyagers meet with success.
So, whereas the circumstances sur-
rounding the emigration from Jamaica
created a certain amount of interest
within the Australian colonies, the
emigrants themselves excited no great
curiosity in the cosmopolitan Melbourne
of the 1850s.
The second and, as far as is known,
the only other vessel to sail direct from
Jamaica to Australia in the 1850s
left Kingston before news of the fortunes
of the John Robinson emigrants could
reach the island. The Glentanner, a
ship of 610 tons, sailed on 10 April 1853,
following a valedictory service held in
St. Andrews United Presbyterian Church,
East Queen Street. It touched at Bermuda
Bahia and Natal, reaching Melbourne on
27 September. On her arrival in Mel-
bourne there were 151 passengers on
board, but it is uncertain how many of
these were Jamaicans who embarked at
Kingston. About a month before the
Glentanner sailed it was reported that

90 people had expressed a wish to
travel in her to Melbourne; but, of
course, some of these emigrants may
have been English by birth, rather than
Jamaican creoles. Unfortunately, there
is no list of the occupations of the
Glentanner passengers, and the names of
only 41 are known. The remaining
110 travelled in the intermediate class
and steerage. This suggests that they
may have been a less "respectable"
group than the John Robinson emigrants.
The rates of passage were 35 first,
25 second, and 15 third class. During
the voyage, the first class passengers
spoke highly of the captain, C. S.
Chapman. But "much discontent was
among the other class passengers, who,
it appears wanted the same food and
privileges of the first class passengers."

Of the 41 named passengers on the
Glentanner, six men travelled with their
wives and seven children. They were
accompanied by six "servants," two
coming with their mistresses (a widow and
a spinster). Thirteen of them were single
men. Some were merchants. Robert C.
Thomson, for example, had sold clothing

to the John Robinson emigrants; also
in 1852 he had offered a free passage
to Australia to any person who could
prove to conviction the thieves who
had entered his establishment. In Mel-
bourne, Thomson, together with another
Jamaican merchant, A. Roxburgh, was
to be taken down by C.S. Chapman, the
Glentanner's captain. In May 1854 a
Jamaican wrote home from Melbourne,
reporting that
Captain Chapman, of the Glentanner
left here in the Golden Age, for Pan-
ama, indebted to parties here for
nearly 10,000, amongst whom are
Messrs. Roxburgh and Thomson, late
of Jamaica, for 500. This person had
only been in business seven months,
and yet managed to obtain credit
here to the extent I have named.12
One of the Glentanner passengers was
S. Q. Bell, member of the House of
Assembly for St. John parish. When
the vessel reached the Cape of Good
Hope, the following comment appeared
in the Port Elizabeth Telegraph:

We almost omitted to mention last

Top left: An advertisement .on, June, I '-'TllSI Is IfKIEBY TO GIVE NOTICE,
apearing in the Kingston le Ihat ofter h 0 dI.o, oil ,srdonf 1onndcontreveo.
so Stmandared. Sth oe that after h a date, oil perIonte tonnd ""nr
Coloia Standard. 8th June WAGGON, built ig ihe ord.,ln.es relative t,) h- ald pumps,
1852 aWIRd ocpible .l car- will oe dealt with accordimi to Law.
Top Right: From the Kings- To be seen at u:n. H. 'W. MORRIS,
ton Colonial Standard 10th A opl to K3ep0r or be t,ly Pump,.
September, 1852 (WIRL) CAKtdoN. &k O._ Kington. June 4, 1e58,
ton, J4oe 8. 1 .- AUS.T'R'ALIA.
Bottom Right and Left: f, Je 8. 1852. PARTY of I'u tha Cily, who.
News Report & Passenger pha.n. ster, A
List from The Falmouth phI Yung Matr o have fuford ihemoelves in.. a c.mpas,
Post Friday September 24th e" Barral. Uniah.. Pha d to )ar vm ripen (nble pAur na, who
1852. Page 4. (WIRL). ety Bare 1, 11119 obe lf. ipr o rple prs ni, whop
Srmy feel de trtua ofl joining in tl.e ,nterprie
dii to ditl It is propoasd to ehanrer ad Ves-l' (lomn thi,,
or, uoas Mills direct. ehiid ai sisftnt numb-r orf perfous en-
rage (r embshk, t;,' h qxtint if 30. in ordar
DARCLAY & CO. to make the poieagOe almn.fy mnder.-' as poai-
'on.Jn. .8.1852. b'52 'Le. 'io advallrnere wv be.g ld to hair ifr m
OR EPICURES. parties deslron. of joinis tn tho proposed under-
ST'L'R in tb.l, irnam aking, a.s ea as possible. Letters prr-paid,
.ned rTiil MORN. w,'h rera camne. and address, horwarded to this
eP. Oftce tfr a. k B., King.tao Merchaaeis.w il be
-* --I. .-- ltt ndd I ''
Joi e nN'. 1n85t Ann'. Rv., M) :IjSEb.4
-aptlin w a l.n.s,
Vao.l or Mlter mu.tl 'I'E I 'B ) E IlaiKi.
'elk.a.. T o-day. C [ l~ SUBSC-IHrKllL b.g Ihat Ministers of
iARCLAY 4 CO. .U.li'ion, will he klind enoueii t0 make
-,He. n J.n 8. 1Q85 known to unseiLp:'o d labortra in other Parishes,
I CI All I-oI, that I
i tlor l ,ait Wig ,nlins S 'The Pilnealio Harvest
Sci ,,h,.a brltiriht. In Saaln Ainn com 'illnc thA hirst week in AiU-


The departure of the Australian brig John Robison,
with a number of our late fellow-citizens on board, bound
to the new El Dorado. was consecrated on Saturday af-
ternoon, as it should be, by the rites of religion. Three
several Services were held on boird by the Reverend Mr,
A.hby, of SainT Michael's Chapel; the Reverend Mr.
Kadcliffe, Presbyterian Minister, and the Reverend Mr.
lHodgeon, Chaplain to the General Penitentiary, who
offered up prayers for the safe arrival of the adveuturers
in the land of their adoption, commending them to the
care of Him who holdeth the winds in His.lir, and the'
waters in the hollow of His hands." As the gallant vel.
ael weighed anchor, and began to proceed towards Port
Royal, an inlmese crowd. which' had collected on the
several Wharves, burst forth iulo the moit eutbusiastic'
cheering, accompanied by the waving ol'hals and other
demonstrations of good will towards the intiepiJ
voyagers-a series of compliments which was most
cordially responded to by the adventurers on board. A:
large number of the immediate Irreads of the emigrants
remained on board, intending to accompany their depart-
ing fellow-cidizens as far as Port R'oyal, where, having
Sarived, they left them, colmitti;ag them to the care of
the great and beneficent Ruler of the universe. Again,
we heartily wish our late fellow.citizens may be safely
sped on their ocean-ward journey; and that they may ex.
peience evey pruaneriv in ihadsz.a.t ini ;sn ,hieh their'

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In the brig JoHN RIOBINSON, for Australla-Robert C. Garr,'
merohant-Alexander MaWhinney, merchant, wife, thine child-
ren, and two servants--Whiteside McWhlnney, elerk--Edgar C.
Blyth, accountant, wife and servant-Mis Gibson-.dliM McMl.
lan-Gilbert Handasyde. accountant, and servant-Alexander
Handasyde, account nt-- eter A. Chavanpes, accountant-Frank
Garrigues, ovcrseer-Rolpl Lotre, overseer-John Hylton, gen-
tleman-John Alasterman, drnggi-st-.Willam Darrell, accoun-
tant-Thomas Ford, gentleman-John T. Ford, accountant-P.
L, Grant, ovjrhdeer-Thom .s Edbury, overseer-Heary Bereford
p anter--. K. sLe an, plahter-Mr. Calvert, architect, and'
wife--Miss Willis--)r, Sutherlaad-Robert GuJeman, acouan-
tant-Samnel Brown, accountant?.-rs. William Gardgues and
daughter-Andrew Simpson, acoouantan-James Watson, accoun-
taut-Alexander Davidson, aceoumntat-.David Lamont, planter-
B. C. E-vans, accountant--William 'Willock, overseer-Thomas
thannon, me;chant-St. JoHn 11. Clement, proprietor-R. A.
Griffin, accountant -Edwin Edwards, solicitor-A exander Henri.
ques, accountant--Willlam McNabb, trFekeeper.-William Batlth,
planter-C. B. 8. Hankln;.planter-a. T. Baina, storekeepier and'
wif--2 Mhsse Mac namarh-WUlllam Ohavannes, gentlemt i -
llenry Garrigucs; planter-and Peter Simpson,plater,





week the arrival of the Glentanner,
with one of the most respectable body
of settlers from Jamaica for Australia
that ever visited our shore. Among
them are persons of the first respect-
ability,... a gentleman of colour for-
merly a member of Council in
Jamaica, and several other people
of wealth and standing in that island
who purpose making Australia their
future place of residence. . We
anticipate that they will make ex-
cellent settlers in Australia, and
our only regret is that so valuable
a body should pass these shores.13
Thus the 41 named passengers on the
Glentanner, at least, probably had oc-
cupations and statuses similar to those of
the John Robinson emigrants. Those
who travelled steerage were no doubt
less well placed, and some of them
(other than the servants) were probably
black or coloured.
One other ship, the Sea Ranger, was
scheduled to sail direct from Kingston,
to Melbourne in May 1853. It went,
however, to Boston and then to Mel-
bourne, arriving at the latter port in

November14. Perhaps some Jamaicans
made the complete trip. The cargo of
the Sea Ranger included rum, cigars and
tobacco, so it is possible that its call
at Boston was made only to obtain a
full complement of passengers and goods.
Certainly the Jamaican newspapers con-
tained numerous advertisements for ves-
sels sailing from New York to Australia,
and no doubt many emigrants went to
the Antipodes by this better serviced
route. Others took ship in Kingston
for the Cape of Good Hope, in vessels
travelling on to India, and at the Cape
transferred to ships bound for Australia.
For example, four men did this in
January 1854: John Mais, Ernest Mais,
Winchester Mais and H. Ryder Waldron,
"the late indefatigable secretary to the
Colonial Literary and Reading Society"
who was presented with a gold watch
and chain at a special meeting of the
The cargo accompanying the emigrants
on the John Robinson consisted of 60
puncheons of rum, 30 puncheons of
pimento, 20 cases of arrowroot and
10,000 bricks. For the Glentanner, whose

cargo was said to be "chiefly owned by
the passengers," a fuller description is
available. The merchants no doubt made
a venture of the voyage. So they took a
large quantity of rum (the equivalent of
200 puncheons... about 22,000 gallons),
some brandy, madeira and orange wine;
18 barrels of sugar, 95 bags of coffee,
cigars, succades and flour. There was
also a good deal of timber, iron, steel,
nails and paint in the cargo. For their
immediate needs, the emigrants brought
with them furniture, crockery, silver
plate and saddlery. One brought his
office desk with him, another a carriage
and another, in hopes of meeting a
civilized society, a piano.
It is difficult to know exactly what the
Jamaica emigrants expected of Australia.
Some of them especially the single men,
were interested simply in planning for a
fortune at the goldfields. On the other
hand, the spinsters and widows had no
intention of doing this, and probably
did not expect to venture out of Mel-
bourne or the gold towns. The merchant/
accountant group tended to come with
their households intact and hoped to

1 7. .
"*~A -. TT *"

'-I -- b
)urne in 1855 after the discovery of gold (note the title is also included in print).
a the original in the Mitchell Library, Sydney).


I .

Two gold diggers, one of them a Black West Indian or American, having
their licence nspected by a Trooper on the Victorial goldfields (S. T. Gill,
from the Mitche Library Sydney).

)d &~~~

follow their line of business in a more
bouyant economy. For them, at least,
there was an attempt to transpose
some of the essential features of the
Jamaican social hierarchy. How would
they fare in what Howitt called "a
wonderful place to take the conceit out
of men who expect much deference"?
The first impressions of one of the
John Robinson emigrants can be found
in a letter he wrote to Jamaica just a
week after his arrival in Melbourne.16
His view of the diggers as "impudent
and independent" has been noted al-
ready. He wrote:
Melbourne is a much larger and
finer city than I expected, and tho-
roughly English in its population,
streets, and shops. Its streets are
crowded from morning till night
with bustling foot-passengers, carts,
drays, and carriages, .... As to the
climate, . I do not think it at
all an improvement on Jamaica. ..
No doubt, through time, it will
improve, for the country is but of
recent formation; and when the
many improvements of civilization
are introduced, it will make it much
much more pleasant... Money is so
plentiful it is of little value, and may
be had easily for the working.
But it is manual labour that com-
mands the price. Some of our
sailors are working as builders,
and are getting 12s per day, with
board and lodgings.. .men who know
nothing about mason work at all.
Good workmen, 35s. per day.
Not long ago there were 1,500
Clerks and gentlemen's sons who
could get no work in town. These
are nov working on the roads at
10s. per day... Now, you will won-
der when you hear that I am not
in a situation, and not making any
money, but living in a hut, whose
rent is 240. But listen, and I will
tell you what my intentions are. ..
At the diggings I could get my
board and 3 10s. per week; but,
then, I do not wish to leave town,
and as we intend to begin business
at once, it is highly necessary that
we should be on the spot to watch
the markets, and to gain experience...
Until then, we must look and endea-
vour to pay our way. I am not
frightened on this score, and can
rough it pretty well now.
The reactions and intentions of this
letter-writer must have been typical
of the merchant group, but not all of the
emigrants had the same capital resources
to call on.
Some of the Jamaica emigrants of 1852
and 1853 had friends and relations
already in Victoria, and their first aim
was to contact them. Thus, for example,
the accountants Gilbert and Alexander
Handasyde tried to find their brother
William by advertising in a Melbourne
newspaper. Others tried to find posi-
tions for themselves through the press.
Within a week of the arrival of the John
Robinson the following appeared in
the Melbourne Argus:

Wanted, by a Gentleman from
Jamaica, a situation as Clerk or
Salesman in a first-rate house.
He is thoroughly acquainted with
colonial affairs, having been in
business himself; address T. S.,
office of this paper.17
This must have been Thomas Shannon,
formerly a Kingston merchant. Clearly
he expected to work his way up in
In April 1853 another Jamaican wrote
home, rather despondently, after being
in Victoria for five months. Most of the
Jamaicans who had gone to the goldfields
to try their luck had returned with
nothing, he said. (There was nothing
unusual about this... digging was very
much a lottery, in which the great
majority made a loss.) Many were then
leaving Victoria for other Australian
colonies, and some had decided to
return to Jamaica. The letter-writer ad-
vised Jamaica men not to come to
Australia. In fact, he said, he was
inclined to leave himself, but for the
prospects he saw of getting into business.
But the difficulties of finding a place in a
business house had forced many Jamai-
cans to work on the roads, as with the
English clerks and gentlemen's sons.
Road work, according to Howitt, was a
refuge for the destitute; it was govern-
ment work, not to be taken too seriously,
and hence "a gentlemanly profession".
The Jamaica creoles did not stoop too
Perhaps the most extreme reaction
to Australia was that of Captain Mc
Culloch, a passenger on the Glentanner.
That vessel sailed from Kingston on
10 April 1853. By 7 January 1854
McCulloch was back in Jamaica.
Although it had taken him more than
five months to reach Melbourne, he
stayed there only 12 days before fleeing
to Jamaica. On his return he told the
Kingston Daily Advertiser that he
was necessitated to return owing to
the impossibility of finding any em-
ployment in Australia. The accounts
given by the Captain are most
discouraging. Strong men, he tells
us, have offered to work... to mind
sheep... for five shillings per week.
Many persons, wharfingers and
bookkeepers, who left here are em-
ployed in similar situations at 20s.
a-week. Men with small fortunes
may soon increase them, but those
without means, Captain McCulloch
would recommend to remain in Ja-
McCulloch was not one of the passen-
gers listed by name on the Glentanner's
arrival in Melbourne, so he had pro-
bably travelled second class. This sug-
gests that he was one of those "without
means" and that he was unwilling to
demean himself by taking up manual
Yet another despondent letter from
Victoria reached Kingston in July 1854.
The writer's complaints were typical:
Melbourne is not at all a desirable
place to live in, as the stories that

are told of it would cause one to
think. Plenty money there is here, it
is true, but there is extremely hard
toiling to get it; and the seasons are
so changeable and severe, that you
can enjoy no comfort, unless you have
plenty of sovereigns in your pocket.20
The weather had to be experienced,
he said; it was impossible to describe
it to a Jamaican. He could see prospects
in only a few lines of business in Mel-
The pastry business pays well here...
cakes, &c., are just double, and
in some instances three times their
cost in Jamaica. The Misses Da
Costa would make a fortune here.
Boarding, lodging, and baking
Houses do a great business and pay
well. And as to the public houses and
rum shops, as they are called in
Jamaica they are a certain fortune.
But some of the Jamaicans had more
success, and were less despondent about
their choice of a new land. For example,
Alexander McWhinney (a Kingston Mer-
chant) and Edgar Blyth (an accountant),
who had sailed on the John Robinson
with their families, had by late 1853
established an ironmongery store in
Melbourne, no doubt participating in
the profitable trade of supplying the
gold-seekers with tools and equipment.
The house of Roxburgh and Thomson
has been mentioned already. These em-
igrants had obviously carried some
capital with them. But in May 1854 at
least one Jamaican could write home that
"all our Jamaicans' are getting on very
well," although all but two of them had
returned from the goldfields to Mel-
bourne.21 In general, however, it may
be that the predictions of failure made
by John Castello were well placed; most
of the Jamaican emigrants were too
"delicate and dainty" to feel immediately
comfortable in Australia's golden age.
The Victoria of the 1850s was describ-
ed as "the Paradise of Labour." If the
planters thought they had labour pro-
blems in post-emancipation Jamaica,
they were compounded in Australia.
The goldfields acted as a magnet to
labourers both in town and country.
In this context, it would be interesting
to know what happened to the, pre-
sumably black or coloured, servants
who came to Australia with their
Jamaica masters and mistresses. Perhaps
they did not remain servants very long.
It is at least certain that black Jamai-
cans, and other West Indians, found
their way to the Australian goldfields.
There they were joined by Afro-Ameri-
cans, but often worked in teams along-
side whites. Indeed, the sixth largest
nugget found in Victoria (weighing 132
lbs.) was dug out by a Negro seaman,
at Ballarat in 1853. This find was
mentioned by one of the Jamaicans who
wrote home.. .but he did not mention
the digger's colour.22 Unlike the Chinese
(who made up 20 per cent of the male
population of Victoria in 1859), the
black West Indians and Americans
were too few in numbers to form a

coherent group. And they were seen by
the whites as more Europeanized than
the heathen "Celestials" or the Aus-
tralian Aborigines. So, while the Abori-
gines were subjected to genocide and
anti-Chinese feelings ran high on the
goldfields, the black West Indians
and Americans could be viewed by the
whites as exotics who did not pose any
immediate threat, to the emerging white
colonial society. Obviously the ethno-
centric climate of Australia in the nine-
teenth century meant that the blacks
would be discriminated against.. .but
their rarity and relatively acceptable
behaviour made them less subject to
hostile attack.
The West Indian and American blacks
were curiosities on the goldfields. Some
were noted for their physical strength.
"Black Freeman," for example, was
remembered as "a quiet and dignified
coloured man of great strength" who,
in the Victorian gold town of Walhalla,
carried two 2001bs. bags of flour to the
top of a hill for a wager. "Black Douglas"
was "a tall and powerfully-built Negro"
who jumped ship and became the leader
of a gang of bushrangers, falling upon
diggers on their way north to the Bendigo
goldfields. Others were remarked for
their social behaviour. Thus W. Craig,
describing the music of the Victorian
goldfields in the 1850s:
In Golden Gully we find a party of
four full-blooded negroes enter-
taining a group of miners. One of
them is singing a dirge bearing on
slave life in the Southern States,
and is accompanying himself on a
banjo. There is an amount of pathos
in his voice and demeanour that
excites the sympathy of the listeners.
Probably he is an escaped slave him-
self, or has in mind some loved
relative or friend in bondage as he
plaintively chants:
"O poor Lucy Neal! O dear Lucy
If I had you by my side how
happy I would feel".
Then comes a boisterous song, "the
quartette yell, and laugh, and romp
with an abandon that can be only
badly imitated by other races." Another
Negro, John Joseph, was one of the
Americans charged with high treason
following the Ballarat"Eureka Stockade",
the major political disturbance on the
In general, the black West Indians
seem to have been remarked for the
"respectability" of their behaviour. In
1860 James Bickford, a Methodist Minis-
ter who had worked in the eastern
Caribbean and Guyana, was farewelled
by his congregation at Ballarat. At the
farewell, he wrote,
An unexpected surprise came upon
the meeting, in the appearance
upon the platform of a coloured
brother, a Mr. Edmondson, from
Jamaica, who, for himself and some
ten or twelve other coloured persons,
presented nme with an address,
and Mrs. Bickford with a handsome

silver cake-basket. As an old West
Indian missionary, I had done my
best to make them feel at home with
us in Ballarat, where the cursed
colour prejudice was happily un-
Similarly, Martin Brennan, who had
been a mounted police officer on the
New South Wales goldfields, recalled that
It was my lot in the early days to be
acquainted with a Negro named
Tom Britt, who had by some freak
of the Fates found his way to
Australia from a sugar plantation
in the West Indies, settled down at
Goulburn [New South Wales], and,
from his industrious habits, suavity
of demeanour, and cleanly person,
always found employment.25
According to Brennan, Tom Britt
married an Aborigine, while his daughter
married a white man.
Perhaps the most colourful of all the
black West Indians associated with the
Australian gold rushes was Peter Jackson,
born in the Danish island of St. Croix in
1861. Soon after that year his father, a
seaman, jumped ship in Sydney and went
to pan for gold. He made enough to
pay his passage home to St. Croix and
to bring his wife and son to Australia.
Later, Peter Jackson's parents returned to
St. Croix, but he decided to remain in
Australia. He ferried people about Sydney

harbour in a rowboat, then worked as
deckhand on a coastal vessel. Next, he
took a job as a hotel "useful" in Sydney.
When he was 20 years old his boxing
prowess came. to light and he was
tutored at the "academy" of Larry
Foley, the Australian bare-knuckles
champion. In 1884 Peter Jackson fought
for the Australian heavyweight champion-
ship in Melbourne, but.was knocked out
in the third round. He won the title in
1886, at Foley's Athletic Hall in Sydney,
when he was billed as "Professor Jackson
...well known as being one of the most
scientific boxers in this colony". After
this he toured the countryside of New
South Wales with a troupe.
The world heavyweight champion
from 1882 to 1892 was John L. Sullivan,
a white American. In 1887 Peter Jackson
went to the U.S.A. in hopes of capturing
the title, but Sullivan refused to fight him.
Jackson pursued Sullivan for several
years without success. His next triumph
was at the National Sporting Club,
London, where in 1892 he won the
British Empire and Australian heavy-
weight titles, and a purse of 2,000.
His opponent was Frank Slavin, a white
Australian discovered by Jackson on
one of his country tours. Once again,
Jackson was remarkable for his scienti-
fic technique.. ."the kindest, gentlest and
most chivalrous boxer that ever drew on


A Broadheet published in Sydney shortly before the death of Billy Blue,
in 1834. (From the Mitchell Library, Sydney).

No rows, my child." ...
Go along, you long lgg brute."
Alf! your honour, I ami glad to see
you; I hope you're well."
Not a word about the pig !"


Sydej, .'pril 24, 1834.
. ol% d W J. "M *o ,8 a' s 1, H* e.5 Printedb b W. Jo rd stret.
M Epdmd ZW.J.J d

Peter Jackson, born in St. Croix, and Heavyweight Champion of Australia and England (From Cham-
pion of the Ring the Mitchell Library, Sydney)
, r.I'/ Th-,- ,-- -*a.-e .-, a, _

Following his success in London,
Peter Jackson went again to the U.S.A.
but the leading white boxers refused to
fraternize with him. He turned to drink,
and for a time played the title role in
Uncle Tom's Cabin touring company.
A brief and unsuccessful return to the ring
in 1899 was followed by the onset of
illness and his return to Australia.
He died at Roma, Queensland, in 1901
from tuberculosis. His body was taken
to Brisbahe by rail, and on Tuesday 16
July, reported the Sydney Morning
The funeral moved from Dow-
dridge's Hotel this afternoon, head-
ed by Wirth Brothers band, as-
sisted by a number of local bands-
men.. .The cortege, which was
three-quarters of a mile in length,
contained members of the Brisbane
Gymnasium Club and nearly all
the prominent sporting men of
Brisbane. Many beautiful wreaths
were noticeable. The route through
the city was thronged with large
crowds. The deceased athlete was
interred in the Toowong Cemetery.
Fully 500 persons assembled at the
Peter Jackson was buried beneath his
own stone bust inscribed "This was a
It is worth noting that the black
West Indians who went in search of
gold were not the first to come to
Australia. Some had been transported
to the colonies as convicts. One of these
was Richard Holt, a "Jamaica black",
transported to New South Wales follow-
ing the great slave rebellion of 1831.
In the 1850s he was still living in the
colony, working as a doctor's servant. 27
Another slave, Bruce, was sentenced to
transportation for life by the court of
the island of St. Vincent, in 1819. He
was sent from England to New South
Wales on the convict ship Speke in 1820,
but since the total cost was 1,000 it is
unlikely that the experiment was re-
peated. 28 Also in 1819, a black man
from Antigua, James Williams, was
sentenced to seven years transportation
by an English court and went to New
South Wales in 1820. There he played
an important role in the establishment
of an experimental sugar plantation
based on convict labour. When his
term was completed in 1826 Williams
became manservant to a physician in
Sydney. But in 1828 he was caught
stealing his employer's watch, chain,
clothes, and pierced dollars to the value
of 5, for which he was hanged. 29
Caesar, another black convict of possible
West Indian origin, has been called the
first "bushranger" of New South Wales.
Between 1789 and 1796 he continually
escaped from the convict settlement,
"subsisting in the woods by plundering
the farms and huts at the outskirts of
the towns. When punished "he declared
with exaltation and contempt, that 'all
that would not make him better ".
Here there was a link between the beha-
viour of the West Indian runaway slave
and the Australian bushranger.30

Apart from the convicts in early
New South Wales, there was Billy Blue,
a black West Indian who earned a
reputation as a "character." The "old
Commodore," the "sable veteran," was
given land in Sydney by Governor
Macquarie (in the 1810s), but fell foul
of the law because he harboured runa-
way prisoners and engaged in smuggling.
He aroused public attention through his
jokes and sayings. It was said that he
expected a salute from everyone, in-
cluding Macquarie, and generally got it.
In 1829 the Sydney Gazette reported:
Billy Blue, the "Commodore" of
Port Jackson, has of late grown
uncommonly eloquent; scarcely a
morning passes without a loud
oration from his loyal lips, descant-
ing on the glories of "the standard",
and demanding a suitable homage
from all His Majesty's subjects.
Just before his death in 1834, aged 97
years, a broadside was published in
Sydney, presumably giving some of his
celebrated sayings.. .unfortunately, it is
difficult to appreciate their significance
today. The history of Billy Blue and his
place in the society of early Sydney
remained enigmatic, but he was probably
the first of the black West Indian "ex-
otics" to be granted an easy toleration.
He had children. 31
While these black West Indians attract-
ed attention in Australia because of
their blackness, it must be remembered
that most of the nineteenth century
emigrants were white. So, because of
their whiteness, the majority quickly
melted into the general population. A
few of the whites gained recognition for
the important role they played in the
development of the Australian sugar
industry, but that is another story,
unrelated to the gold rushes.
Unfortunately, the censuses do not
provide ethnic information on the West
Indian-born population of Australia
until 1947, when the total was at a
minimum. In 1947 only 270 people
living in Australia had been born in the
West Indies: 231 of them were described
as "European," 17 as Negro, 16 as
"West Indian," one as Chinese, four as
"half-caste" and one as Arab. It is hard
to say whether the proportion of black
West Indians was greater during the
nineteenth century. Certainly the "White
Australia" policy, implemented after
1900, meant their large-scale exclusion,
but white West Indian emigration to
Australia also fell off in the period to
about 1950. Although the early census
material is incomplete, it can be estimated
that around 1860 the West Indian
population of Australia was at a peak
of about 2,000, the majority living in
Victoria. Jamaicans were always by far
the largest of the West Indian groups,
followed by those from Guyana, Barba-
dos and the Leeward Islands. By 1900
the number of West Indians had fallen
to roughly 1,000, and by 1947 to only 270.
Most of them lived in the major cities,
working .in commercial and clerical
occupations. Since 1950 the numbers
have increased quickly.. .to 506 in 1966,

and 1,185 in 1971. Today the number of
West-Indian born in Australia must once
again be almost 2,000.

From a trickle the movement has
regained its large-scale character. In
November 1974 some 94 white Barba-
dians boarded the Ocean Monarch bound
for Australia and New Zealand, protest-
ing the erosion of white middle class
influence in their island home. 32
Sentiments and organization remini-
scent of the John Robinson, 120 years
before! Once again, at least some of the
creole youth has had to soil hands to
make a living. Since the beginning of
1975, however, all immigrants to Austra-
lia have been required to hold visas,
limiting the flow of British passport
holders. All immigration was halted to
June 1975, as a result of economic
difficulties in Australia. Racial discrimi-
nation has been removed from Australian
immigration policy, but there remains as
an, aim "the avoidance of the difficult
social and economic problems which
may follow from an influx of peoples
having different standards of living,
traditions and cultures".
Once more black West Indian im-
migrants to Australia have found it
difficult to escape the "exotic" image-
like the black Jamaican who established
"Jamaica House" (a restaurant) in
Melbourne in the 1960s. Indeed, some
Australian Aborigines have called for
the restriction of black immigration-
since blacks from outside tend to be
favoured over locals by the whites.
But it is clear that for a time Australia
is likely to be seen as much more attrac-
tive for white West Indians than blacks,
regardless of changes in Australian
immigration policy. It is also clear that
the way in which West Indian whites
have continued to see Australia as a
haven has done nothing for the improve-
ment of race relations in that country.
Those who went to Australia during
the gold rushes certainly carried racia-
list ideas with them, and harboured them
throughout the nineteenth century. 33

1. Falmouth Post, 8 January, 30 March, 1,
8 and'22 June 1852.
2. Colonial Standard, Kingston, 5 June 1852.
3. Ibid., 8 and 10 June 1852.
4. Falmouth Post, 25 June 1852.
5. Public Record Office, London: C.O. 137/314
pp. 203 and 206; C.O./315, Delegates on
the state of Jamaica to Pakington, 19
August 1852; Colonial Standard, 8 June and
8 July 1852; Falmouth Post, 20 July and 3
August 1852.
6. Ibid., 16 July, 14, 21 and 24 September
1852, Colonial Standard, 30 March 1853;
The Argus, Melbourne, 19 February and
18 July 1853.
7. Falmouth Post, 21 September 1852; Colonial
Standard, 8 April 1853.
8. Ibid., 24 June and 18 September 1852;
Falmouth Post, 24 September 1852 and 27
March 1857.

9. William Howitt, Land, Labour and Gold,
or, Two Years in Victoria (London, 1855),
pp. 35, 286. See also Geoffrey Serle, The
Golden Age: A History of the Colony of
Victoria 1851-1861 (Melbourne, 1963)
and Geoffrey Blainey, The Rush That
Never Ended: A History of Australian
Mining (Melbourne, 1963).
10. Daily Advertiser, Kingston, 10 August 1853.
11. Argus, 19 February 1853.
12. Daily Advertiser, 1 September 1854, and 7,
14 and 25 February 1853; Argus, 28 Sept-
ember 1853; Colonial Standard, 22 and 25
June 1852.
13. Daily Advertiser, 27 January 1854.

14. Ibid., 26 April 1853; Argus, November 1853.
15. Daily Advertiser, 21 January and 1 June
16. Ibid., 10 August 1853.
17. Argus, 22 and 24 February 1853.
18. Daily Advertiser, 11 August 1853; Howitt,
op. cit., p. 293.
19. Daily Advertiser, 9 January 1854.
20. Falmouth Post, 21 July 1854.
21. Argus, 1 October 1853; Daily Advertiser,
1 September 1854.
22. James Flett, The History of Gold Discovery
in Victoria (Melbourne, 1970), p. 25;
Antoine Fauchery, Letters From a Miner in
Australia (Melbourne, 1965), p. 76; Argus,
3 February 1853; Falmouth Post, 21 July
23. Raymond Paull, Old Walhalla (Melbourne,
1963), p. 60; W. Craig, My Adventures on
the Australian Goldfields (London, 1903),
pp. 40, 230; Frank Cusack, Bendigo: A
History (Melbourne, 1973), p. 32; Carboni
Raffaello, The Eureka Stockade (Melbourne,
1963), p. 124.
24. James Bickford, An Autobiography of
Christian Labour in the West Indies,
Demerara, Victoria, New South Wales, and
South Australia, 1838-1888 (London, 1890)
p. 167.
25. Martin Brennan, Reminiscences of the Gold
Fields (Sydney, 1907), p. 267.
26. Kenneth Roberts, Captain of the Push
(Melbourne, 1963), pp. 110-119; Henry
Sayers, Fights Forgotten (London, n.d.),
p. 199; Sydney Morning Herald, 24 and 25
September 1886, 15 and 17 July 1901.

27. Colonial Standard, 5 June 1852.
28. Royal St. Vincent Gazette, 2 September
1820; H.O 11/3, p. 428 (Public Record
office, London).
29. Colin Roderick, "T. A. Scott and His
Work at Port Macquarie, 1823-8," Journal,
Royal Australian Historical Society, Vol. 44
(1958), pp. 26-38; H.O. 11/3, p. 270;
Assizes 32/7, p 143; 31/23, Q. 141; 34/62;
ADM. 101/56 (4), (Public Tecord Office,
10. David Colins, An Account of the English
Colny in New South Wales (London, 789),
Vol. 1, pp. 70-72, 90, 94, 98, 382, 444, 452.
31. Sydney Gazette, 9 July and 15 December
1829, 8 May 1843; GeoffreO C. Ingleton,
True Patriots All(Sydney, 1952), p. 151, 270.
32. Daily Gleaner, Kingston, 25 and 27 Novem-
ber 1974.
33. For example, Gall's News Letter, Kingston,
7 July 1888.

II a

gg a a




Dr. Carlton Davis is the Executive Director of the
Jamaica Bauxite Institute. He was technical
adviser to; and later a member of the bauxite
negotiating teams since 1974.

Jamaican bauxites are believed to originate
from the residues of the underlying White
Limestone or from older cretaceous rocks
which were transported into the limestone.
Factors such as moderately warm tem-
peratures, alternating wet and dry seasons
and good drainage through the limestone
efiabled bauxitization. In general, better
bauxitization occurs in areas of high ele-
vation above the water table.
Based on structural features and studies
of available analytical data, three general
types of bauxites are proposed: (i) plateau;
(ii) cockpit; and (iii) graben. The plateau
type represents the best bauxites, the cock-
pit the lowest silica, and the graben,
moderate to high silica.
The major aluminium minerals present
are gibbsite (and for some ores the poly-
morph or polytype nordstrandite), boeh-
mite, kaolinite and aluminian goethite.
Gibbsite can be processed at lower tem-
peratures and pressures than boehmite.
Kaolinite is of economic importance be-
cause it reacts with caustic soda to form
an insoluble compound, thus resulting in
losses of caustic soda and scaling of equip-
ment. Aluminium in aluminian geothite is
not extractable by conventional Bayer
The iron minerals are significant in relation
to: (i) the trapping of aluminium in the
lattices of some of them; (2) settling, and
(3) adsorption of caustic soda.


In order to be able to properly assess
the full potential of Jamaica's bauxite
reserves it is necessary for us to under-
stand the nature and properties of the
bauxites; particularly those relating to
the economics of processing into alumina
by Bayer technology.

The purpose of this presentation is to
review briefly what our understanding is
to date with respect to the following
pertinent areas: (1) Origin; (2) "Types"
of bauxites; (3) Chemical and Mineralo-
gical composition; and (4) Relationship
of the foregoing to behaviour during


Many people may be aware that
Jamaican bauxites are associated with
the White Limestone Formation. The
fact of this association has led some
workers to conclude that the bauxites are

derived from the trace quantities of
impurities in the limestone. Other work-
ers, including the late V. A. Zans (1)
have doubted that such large volumes of
material could have come from residues
in the limestone, and have suggested
instead that the source materials derived
from older cretaceous and pre-cretaceous
rocks which were transported into the
limestone via cavern systems and karst
streams, and then weathered on the

Source materials apart, it is generally
agreed that the environment of formation
favoured bauxitization. Firstly, the tem-
peratures are above 20 C (68 F). Second-
ly, the rainfall is seasonal. And thirdly,
the limestone is porous, enabling good
drainage. The first two factors of course
emphasize why laterite materials are so
predominant in the tropical regions.

In a paper on the subject, V. G. Hill
2 discussed the role of these factors in
bauxitization. Starting off on the premise
that the source materials were the lime-
stone residues, he pointed out that during
the rainy seasons, there is a solution of
limestone by the surface water. The non-
carbonate materials are released and:
(i) may be dissolved; (ii) form a colloidal
suspension; or (iii) mechanically trans-
ported. These are deposited when the
water leaves the surface to enter the sub-
surface water. This results in a hodge-
podge mixture of colloidal hydrous oxide
and silica, fine-grained clays, bauxite
minerals and others. During the succeed-
ing dry seasons, there is an upward
migration of enclosed water by capillary
action. On reaching the surface, the
water evaporates and leaves a residue of
gelatinous silica and sometimes calcium

The oscillation of wet and dry seasons
causes an increase in the size of the
deposits, a depletion in the silica contents
and destruction of depositional features.
Importantly, where deposition is high
above the water table, rapid desilication
and consequently "good" grade-i.e. low
silica-bauxites result. On the other hand,
as in the 'Moneague Lake' area where
the water table is low, desilication is less
rapid, and "poorer" grade bauxites

"Types" of Jamaican Bauxites

As mentioned above, the elevation

above the water table partially determines
the grade of bauxite formed. This means
that the structural difference in the lime-
stone can influence the grade of bauxite

The structure of the island is roughly
that of a broad anti-clinorium trending
from east to west. Superimposed on this
is an east to west trending fault system
and another mainly NNW to SSE. The
NNW-SSE fault system produced a
series of tilted step faulted blocks. The
most conspicuous of these are the Don
Figuerero-May Day Mountains, Santa
Cruz Mountain, Malvern Hill, Mocho
Mountain, Lacovia Mountain and Nas-
sau Mountain blocks. The Don Figue-
rero-May Day Mountain block is the
largest of the fault blocks and has
remained relatively undisturbed by the
faulting. This is also true for the Saint
Ann Plateau which is mainly step faulted
and has been relatively undisturbed.

The bauxites located on the Saint Ann
and Manchester plateaus which V. G. Hill
and myself 3 term 'Plateau bauxites',
have relatively low silica values (0-2%)
and, correspondingly, high alumina
values. Also, importantly, from the view
point of mining, the deposits are relative-
ly shallow. It is very likely that during
the formation of those deposits rainfall
and drainage were moderate to good,
and there was very little disturbance prior
to bauxite formation.

We have observed from data we have
studied that bauxites occurring in the
"Cockpit .Country" which we term
"Cockpit bauxites" have very low silica
values. These deposits were formed, we
think, by the simplest form of bauxitiz-
ation: very high rainfall, and an excellent
drainage system, which resulted in very
rapid desilication.

Because of the nature of the Cockpit
region, the deposits are rather less shallow
than the plateau deposits.

The third category of bauxites is what
we term the graben bauxites. These occur
in the tilted step faulted blocks referred
to above, in Saint Elizabeth, Clarendon
and Saint Catherine. These deposits have
silica values which are significantly higher
than the plateau bauxites. We feel that
two factors contributed to these higher
values. Firstly, faulting resulted in a
relative lowering of the water table, thus
less rapid drainage (desilication) occurred

during the wet season and more rapid
capillary movement (resilication) during
the dry season. Secondly, movement
along the fault exposed the high silica
basement rocks which were weathered,
eroded, transported and 'mixed' with
the already formed bauxite deposits. This
is a controversial view which suggests,
inter alia, that the White Limestone re-
sidues are the source of "good grade"
bauxites and the older cretaceous rocks
are mere 'spoilers' of bauxite.

Thus, by knowing where certain
bauxite deposits are, we can draw pre-
liminary conclusions about their proper-

Chemical Composition and Mineralogy

The major elements present in our
bauxites are: (1) aluminium; (2) iron;
(3) titanium; (4) silicon and phosphorous
with manganese, zinc and calcium occur-
ring in lesser amounts.

Aluminium occurs as a constituent of:
(1) the trihydroxide mineral gibbsite, or
as more recently observed by us 4 the
polymorph or polytype nordstrandite-
(AI(OH)3); (ii) the monohydroxide min-
eral boehmite (A10-OH); (iii) the silicate
mineral kaolinite (Al2Si205(OH)4 or
halloysite; and (iv) the iron mineral,
aluminian goethite (Fel-x Al 0-OH).

Iron occurs mainly in the form of goe-
thite (FeO-OH), haematite (Fe203) and
as aluminian goethite. Silicon occurs (as
indicated above) as the clay mineral
kaolinite (or halloysite), but also as
quartz and felspar.

Phosphorous occurs as apatite and as
crandallite; calcium as calcite; manga-
nese as hausmanite; manganite; and as

Economic Significance of Mineralogy and
Chemical Composition

The Bayer process (invented by Karl
Joseph Bayer and patented by him in
1888), or modifications of this process,
is used to produce nearly all the alumina
required for producing aluminium.

The chemical composition and mineral-
ology of the bauxites have an important
effect on the reactions during processing.

For example, the trihydroxide gibbsite
is extracted at lower temperatures (275-
290 oF) and pressures (assuming the same
causticity) than the monohydroxide boeh-
mite (400-475 oF). The essential chemical
reactions are as follows:

A1203.H20 (s) + 2 NaOH


(Caustic Soda)

A1203.3H20 (s) + 2 NaOH


2Na A102 + H20


400-475 OF
(205-250 C)


275-290 F
(135-140 C)


130-140 F
(55-60 OC)



+ 2H20


2NaA102 + 4H20


Al203.3H 0



+ 2NaOH

Structural Geological Map of Jamaica.


I 750,000
10 5 0 10 mi..



-- -N

7e lO'W


T77l O'


L~t5OI .Cl'V

This means that a plant which is set
up to operate at 'low' temperature (275-
290 F) does not extract the monohy-
droxide boehmite. This mineral would
not be extracted and would pass out with
the red mud as wastes. At appreciable
concentrations of (say) 2% or more,
the presence of undissolved boehmite in
bauxite can result in the seeding out of
gibbsite (which is dissolved) as boehmite
by a phenomenon known as "reversion".

Thus, economic loss is not only the
boehmite which is not extracted, but
also the gibbsite which is seeded out.
As such, a high temperature process is
usually favoured for boehmite concen-
trations of 3% or more.

Other mineral species of major signifi-
cance are the kandite minerals, primarily
kaolinite and halloysite. This is due to
the fact that they react with the caustic
soda to form a species of sodalite and
cancrinite minerals (known as the desli-
cation product (DSP)) which are dis-
charged with the red mud. The economic
significance of this reaction can be appre-
ciated when it is recognized that for
every 1 ton of silica that reacts and is
discharged as DSP, approximately 3/4
ton of caustic soda and 1 ton of alumina
are consumed and lost. The soda and
alumina loss are costly, and this is the
main reason why bauxites in excess of
5% silica are considered low-grade or

On the other hand, bauxites with low
silica contents (less than 1 %) may desili-
cate so slowly that the DSP formation is
not completed in the time allowable for
the alumina hydrate digestion. The silica
in solution is carried throughout the plant
stream and results in the formation of
massive DSP scales in flashing and
holding vessels. A portion ot this silica
precipitates with the alumina, and con-
taminates it above acceptable limits.

The presence of excessively high
amounts of the phosphate minerals pre-
sent similar problems and calcium oxide
has to be added to precipitate the phos-
phate (1.3 tons of calcium oxide for every
1 ton of phosphorous penoxide).

Jamaican bauxites have very high iron-
oxide contents (12-20%), thus the effect
of the presence of the iron minerals on
the economics of processing the ore is of
great significance to us. The iron minerals
are important (with respect to alumina
processing) in at least four respects:
(1) the aluminium 'locked' into the
structure of aluminian goethite (Fel-xAl
xO-0H); (2) the relationship between the
type of iron mineral and the settling rate
of the red mud; (3) their ability to adsorb
caustic soda on their surfaces; and (4)
the washing stages necessary to recover
adsorbed caustic soda.

It is now generally recognized that
aluminian goethite occurs in significant
amounts in many Jamaican bauxites.
Importantly, the extent of the aluminium
trapped in the goethite lattices may be

as much as 5 weight per cent of the
bauxite. The aluminium in this form is
not extractable by conventional Bayer
technology but work by various workers*
have shown that with certain plant modi-
fications, it can be extracted. The possible
economic significance of the aluminium
present in this form can be illustrated
by the following example: consider an
area comprising 10 million tons of
bauxite with 45% extractable alumina
and 3 % in the form of aluminian geo-
thite; if one assumes: (a) a plant effi-
ciency of 95 %; and (b) an arbitrary value
of $150 per ton for alumina, the values
of the alumina would be ca. $640 million
and $684 million respectively-a loss of
$44 million in value.

It is therefore important to locate the
occurrences of ores containing significant
amounts of aluminium 'locked away' and
assess the feasibility of making the neces-
sary modifications so as to extract it.

Apart from this aspect, it has been
observed that the rate of sedimentation
of mud is: (i) greatest for those bauxites
in which haematite (Fe 203) is the domi-
nant iron mineral; less so for goethite
(Fe 0.OH); and least for aluminian goe-
thite (Fel-xAl x.0.0H). Studies by Hun-
garian workers have shown that this is
related to the fact that the surface areas
are in the order of magnitude: aluminian
goethite goethite haematite.

The rate of settling of the very fine
Jamaican bauxites is of economic signi-
ficance. To enhance more rapid settling,
large amounts of flocculents (wheat,
sorghum, or synthetics) to the tune of
over $5 million per annum are used.
And even then problems still arise.
Earlier we mentioned the differences
between high-temperature and low-tem-
perature processing with respect to the
alumina type mineral extracted. It is
worthwhile to note that processing under
'high' temperature conditions results in
conversion of goethite to haematite,
thereby resulting in less settling problems
than in a 'low' temperature plant where
at the 'dwell time' of the reaction appre-
ciable conversion does not occur hence
'settling problems' are experienced with
many of our bauxites.

Because of the settling factor, a bauxite
which has sufficiently low boehmite to
justify low-temperature processing may
still be processed at high temperature,
because proper settling may turn out to
be economically crucial.

Not all of the soda losses stem from
the reaction with silica; losses also result
from the adsorption of iron on the surface
of the non-alumina material and in the
case of Jamaican bauxite, this is primarily
the iron minerals.

*At the time of writing there was much
euphoria on "solutions" to this problem by
Hungarian and American workers. The
results so far indicate that the problem has
not been solved.

To minimize some of these losses
considerable washing of the mud residue
is done in a number of stages which vary
depending on the fineness of the mud.
It is noted, for example, that for Jamaican
bauxite there are invariably seven or
eight washing stages, whereas coarser
bauxites require less stages. This of
course makes a difference in the capital
investment necessary for this stage for
Jamaican bauxite vis-a-vis the others.

1. V. A. Zans (1959)
Recent Views in the Origin of Bauxite.
Geonotes 1 (No. 5) 123
2. V. G. Hill (1955)
The Mineralogy and Genesis of the
Bauxite Deposits of Jamaica.
Amer. Miner 40, 676
3. V. G. Hill and C. E. Davis (1971)
Progress Report on the Compositional
Correlation and Structural Relationships
in Jamaican Bauxite Deposits.
Bauxite/Alumina Symposium Jour. of
the Geol. Society of Jamaica
4. C. E. Davis and V. G. Hill (1973)
The Occurrence of Nordstrandite and
its possible significance in Jamaican
ICSOBA, Nice, France (Sept. 17-21)

Cockpit Country Photo: J.S. Tyndale-Biscoe.

Figure 2: "Plateau bauxites" on the Manchester Plateau.


Dr. Raymond M. Wright was born in
Southfield, St. Elizabeth and attended
Clarendon College before receiving pro-
fessional education in geology at Durham,
London, and Stanford Universities. He
is chairman of the Advisory Committee on
Earthquakes and is employed as Com-
missioner of Mines in the Mines & Geology
Division of the Ministry of Mining and
Natural Resources.


Of all the natural disasters that may
affect Jamaica earthquakes have the
potential to inflict the greatest loss of
life and property. A repetition of the
Kingston earthquake of January 14,1907
would cause millions of dollars of damage,
with the potential loss of thousands of
lives. To put the matter in perspective,
the total damage to property caused by the
7.5 magnitude earthquake of February 4,
1976 in Guatemala City has been estimat-
ed at about $800 million. Earthquakes
are the most difficult disaster phenome-
na to prepare for because they may
occur without warning at any time.
In addition to the direct dangers of
ground shaking and surface faulting,
earthquakes may trigger the disastrous
secondary effects of fire, floods caused
from dam failure, landslides, and sea-
waves (tsunamis). The 1907 earthquake
in Kingston is often referred to as the
"Kingston Fire".

Origin of Earthquakes

The earthquake phenomenon can be
explained in simple terms. The earth
is not truly solid but is in a state of con-
stant flux. It is acted upon by the periodic
forces of the solar system, producing
stresses and movement of the earth's
surface. Also, in the long span of geolo-
gic time there is shifting of the earth's
axis, as indicated by wandering of the
magnetic poles. Recent evidence indica-
tes that the material from the upper
mantle is welling up along such areas as
the mid-Atlantic Ridge and causing the
movement of large pieces of the earth's
crust called "plates". These plates are
thought to interact in one of three ways:
spreading, where new crust is formed,
subduction, where one plate plunges
under another; or fault action, where two
plates move alongside each other.

This theory of plate tectonics, as a
major cause of earthquakes, has gained
wide acceptance in recent years. It
attempts to reconcile the evidence obtain-


ed from geology, seismicity, gravity, and
geomagnetic data. The most positive
evidence of its validity is provided by
seismicity, patricularly the occurrence of
earthquake belts which outline the large
plates and give a measure of the type
and amount of movement occurring at the
interfaces of the crustal blocks they
define. As the blocks move relative to
one another, stresses form and accumu-
late until a fracture with abrupt slippage
occurs. The resultant release of stress,
usually occurring within a few cubic
kilometres of the earth's crust, causes
earthquakes. Figure 1 shows the bounda-
ry of the North American and Caribbean
plates which are grinding, pulling apart,
and plunging one beneath the other.

The small portion of the crust at which
the stresses are relieved by movement
is the focus of an earthquake. From this
point, mechanical energy is propagated
in the form of waves which radiate
from the focus in all directions through
the body of the earth. When this energy
arrives at the surface of the earth,
sometimes from as deep as 650 kilo-
meters, it forms secondary surface waves
of longer periods. The frequency and
amplitude of the vibrations thus produced
at points on the earth's surface, and hence
the severity of the earthquake, depends
on (i) the amount of mechanical energy
released at the focus, (ii) the distance and
depth of the focus, and (iii) the struc-
tural properties of the rock or soil on
or near the surface of the earth at the
point or observation.

General Effects

A major earthquake is one of nature's
most devastating phenomena. For ex-
ample, the energy released by an earth-
quake of magnitude 8.5 on the Richter
scale is equivalent to about 12,000 times
the energy released by the Hiroshima
nuclear bomb. The onset of a large
earthquake is signalled by a deep rurfi-
bling or by disturbed air making a
rushing sound, followed shortly by a
.series of violent motions in the ground.
Often the ground fissures, and there can
be large permanent displacements-21
feet horizontally in San Francisco in 1906,
and 47 feet vertically at Yakutat Bay in
1899. Buildings, bridges, dams, tunnels,
or other rigid structures can shear in
two or collapse when subjected to this
movement. Vibrations can be so severe
that large trees are snapped off or uproot-
ed. People standing have been knocked

down and their legs broken by the sudden
lateral accelerations.

As the vibrations continue, structures
with different frequency-response charac-
teristics are set in motion. Resonant mo-
tion results sometimes. This is espec-
ially destructive, because the amplitude
of the vibrations increases (theoretically
without limit) and usually structural
failure occurs. Adjacent buildings of diff-
erent frequency response can vibrate out
of phase and pound each other. If the
elastic strength of the structure is exceed-
ed, cracking, spelling, and complete col-
lapse may result. Chimneys, high-rise
buildings, water tanks, and bridges are
especially vulnerable to vibrational moti-
on. The walls of high-rise buildings wit-
hout adequate lateral bracing frequency
fall outward, allowing the floors to cas-
cade one on top of the other in accordion
fashion, crushing the occupants between

Often as destructive as the earthquake
itself are the resulting secondary effects
such as landslides, fires, and floods.
Landslides are particularly damaging,
and often account for the majority of
the lives lost. The 1970 earthquake in
Peru, a magnitude 7.8 shock, is a case in
point. There, total number of human
deaths was in excess of 30,000. Of those
killed 10,000 were swept away by a land-
slide which fell 12,000 feet down the side
of Mt. Huascaran. It roared through the
town of Yungay at approximately 200
miles per hour, leaving only a raw scar
where the villages had been.

Fire damage escalates due to the loss
of firefighting equipment destroyed by
the earthquake and the breaking of water
mains essential to firefighting. Blocked
highways can also hinder the arrival of
outside help. In the San Francisco Earth-
quake of 1906, approximately 20 percent
of the damage was estimated to have been
due to the earthquake, while the remain-
der was caused by the fire, which was out
of control for several days. One of the
greatest disasters of all times, the 1923
earthquake in the Kwanto, Japan, also
caused fire losses. Almost 40 percent of
the dead perished in a firestorm which
engulfed an open place where people
had gathered in a futile attempt to
excape the conflagration.

Other secondary effects include the
disruption of electric power and cook-
ing gas service, which further contributes



Figure 1: Plate tectonic map of the Caribbean with hatchured lines showing plate boundaries. Arrows
show direction of plate motion. Circles with radiating lines indicate recent earthquake locations for
events that occurred in February 1976.

Figure 2: Generalized geological map of Jamaica,

78000' W 77030'W 7700'W 76030 W


1830' .

0 5 0 0 Ms.

'l|Alku. .Coar,~ ar' atc \

WhUNil a.o.rfnr -rE ,. or
YLow Lmmrne.oM -MaeaEoc I
Wchrnond Fomation -La. Eme I
=:::Wogwor Formation -La.arEa oons
aI I Sener.l 8Mrnoorp.cs -U.OCreteM '

FHomrgl .w-d Poi -Eme
m Iotodt arIhys -Eomee

deosilct Vwctics -U. creaoa
Gra nodorhe U. CreOEas ) /
SSerpntnte -Cfaces

---.--' I


to fire damage. In addition, highways
and rail systems are frequently put out
of service, presenting special difficulties
to rescue and relief workers.

There is the possibility of predicting
earthquakes, but prevention is exteme-
ly remote in the foreseeable future.
However, much of the disastrous effect
of earthquakes can be mitigated in the
long term. Seismology will provide more
reliable and definitive data on the proba-
ble location and probability of occurrence
of future earthquakes. This information
must be used in determining proper
population distribution, and location
and strength of structures of all types.
Places where people gather (schools
theatres, halls of all types) should be
situated in the safest practicable areas
with respect to earthquake dangers.
Similar consideration will have to be
given to vital support services (hospitals,
fire stations, police stations, and emer-
gency centres). Further, critical inter-
changes and concentration points for
public utilities, transportation, and com-
munications should be subjected to
stringent design criteria and provided
with a backup and bypass capability. In
regard to gathering place and support
services, construction criteria should be
conservative, with lifesaving considera-
tion properly balanced against economic

Prediction of Earthquakes

Earthquake prediction involves three
parameters: (1) time, (2) locations
(3) magnitude. By collecting data on
earthquakes throughout the world seis-
mologists are now closer to being able to
predict earthquakes accurately. The first
parameter, time, is the most difficult to
predict but the United States Geologi-
cal Survey has had some success in pre-
dicting the time of three small magnitude
earthquakes in California during 1974-
75. In practical terms prediction can only
be made in local areas, by equipping a
faultline with a network of automated
sensing stations with seismographs, mag-
netometers, resistivity gauges, gravime-
ters, strainmeters and tiltmeters. Scintill-
ation counters are used to measure the
amount of the radioactive gas radon re-
leased into well water by rocks under
strain underground.

The Chinese have been using both
sophisticated and simple techniques in
predicting earthquakes. China has exper-
ienced the greatest natural disaster known
when in 1556 an earthquake took some
820,000 lives in Shensi Province. On
February 4, 1975, on the basis of instru-
mental data and on unusual animal
behaviour seismologists issued an official
warning that a major earthquake would
strike the town of Haich'eng within two
days. Five and a half hours after the
warning an earthquake of magnitude
7.3 occurred but there were few casualties
among the 2,000 inhabitants who were
urged to leave their homes and assemble
in the open. This incident marked the
first indication that earthquake pre-
diction may be applied in practice.


Earthquake control, an even more
difficult goal than forecasting, may
ultimately be practicable as evidenced by
the Rangely oilfield experiments in
Colorado which began in 1966, but the
present rudimentary techniques require
more lavish financing than is likely to be
made available. For reasons of cost,
earthquake prediction (and control) is not
likelyito be applied practically in Jamaica
during the next decade.

Geological Setting of Jamaica

Jamaica is situated on the northern
edge of the Nicaraguan Rise, a broad
topographic high that extends eastward
from Central America to the western
tip of Hispaniola. The island lies adja-
cent to the Cayman Trough on the north
which marks a fault zone that can
be traced from the Gulf of Honduras
eastward to the Windward Passage. The
Cayman Trough delineates the northern
boundary of the Caribbean Plate, a
rigid piece of the Earth's crust, which
is moving eastward with respect to the
North and South American continents
(Figure 1). The thin oceanic crust of the
Cayman Trough plays the structural
role of a transform fault separating
Jamaica from Cuba. The Cayman Trough
(5,878 metres) is exceeded in depth in the
Caribbean area only by the Puerto
Rico Trench (+8,000 meters) north of
the island of Puerto Rico.
The known geology of Jamaica dis-
plays many contrasts (Figure 2). The
eastern and northeastern parts of the
island show sedimentary, igneous, and
metamorphic features which suggest an
earlier Cretaceous history adjacent to a
subduction zone. 2 The central and
southern part of the island has a history
of volcanism followed by shallow shelf
sedimentation. Uplift has been dominant
in northern and eastern Jamaica since
the late Miocene, some ten million
years ago; while the southern side of
Jamaica is essentially submergent, with
a broad shelf. 3

The contrast in Jamaican geology
extends offshore. To the north of Jama-
ica, the crust of the Cayman Trough is
thinner (4.1 km) than elsewhere in the
Caribbean. To the south the crust reaches
a thickness of 22 km in the Nicaraguan
Rise. 4

Figure 3 shows the distribution and
intensity of seismicity in the western
Hemisphere. It is noticeable that Jama-
ica experiences much less seismicity
than the eastern Caribbean or Central
American Region. Most major Jamaican
earthquakes have originated close to
the Cayman Trough 5 (Figure 4). The
possibility that future earthquakes will
originate away from the axis of the
trough cannot be excluded however, and
in 1972 an earthquake of fairly high
intensity originated close to the Morant
Cays and was felt in southeastern

Historic Record

The earthquake catalogue of Tomblin
and Robson 6 makes reference to 360
earthquakes felt in Jamaica between 1667
and 1960 and contains approximately
1,000 intensity reports. Over this historic
period the important effects in Jamaican
earthquakes have resulted from shaking,
either directly by vibration, or indirectly
through the consequent failure of unsta-
ble ground. The historic data indicates
that the majority of felt earthquakes in
the Caribbean occurred at the turn of this
century and correlates with a marked
increase in seismicity worldwide at
that time. Figure 5 compares seismic
energy release in Berkeley, California;
Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; and Kingston,
Jamaica over the period 1964-1970 and
shows the low level of recent seismic
activity in Jamaica over this period.
In contrast, Figure 6 shows a similar
plot of seismic release for Kingston
over the period 1903-1970 and indicates
the high level of seismic activity near
Kingston which occurred earlier in this

The distribution of earthquake damage
frequency in Jamaica results from a
combination of proximity to earthquake
epicentres and surface geology (Figure 7).
Higher damage frequency in eastern
Jamaica is attributable to the adjacent
region of high seismicity offshore to the
north but also reflects the -fact that
Kingston is not only close to the region
of highest seismicity but is also built on
a thick layer of alluvium which, along
the margin of the sea, is water-logged to
within a short distance of the surface.
The evidence indicates that earthquake
risks is determined primarily by:

(a) proximity to the seismically
active Cayman Trough zone,
especially towards the east;

(b) the nature of the surface rocks
in Jamaica.

The main effects of the two major
earthquake events in Jamaica (1692 and
1907) have been failure of unstable
ground. The 1692 earthquake triggered
large landslides in various parts of
eastern Jamaica and along the Palisadoes
peninsula. The Palisadoes peninsula was
again affected in the 1907 earthquake
when slumping was extensive at the
neck and at the tip (Port Royal) of the
peninsula. Seismic risk in the Palisadoes
peninsula is sufficiently high to justify
restrictions of urban development be-
cause of the unconsolidated, partly
water-logged soil the effects of minor
earthquakes will be exaggerated and in
major earthquakes the ground may fail
from severe shaking. 5

The Liguanea Formation, on which the
city of Kingston is built, consists of a
thick alluvium, probably in excess of
1,000 feet, in which severe ground motion
can be expected in the event of an earth-
quake of high intensity. Ground lique-
faction has been reported from the
area and the response of water-logged
ground and man-made construction fill

needs to be evaluated further by a
programme of seismic monitoring and
research. Intensity reports on past earth-
quakes have been related to the effects
on low buildings. 5 Now that high-rise
buildings are becoming an important
feature of development in Kingston
it is in the interest of earthquake-resis-
tant design that buildings over five
storeys high be provided with strong-
motion instrumentation, to provide geo-
physical and engineering data on ground
motion and wave propogation pheno-
mena. Also, the geology and thickness
of the alluvium needs to be better
understood by drilling deep boreholes.

Direct fault breakage, on the California
model, has been unknown in Jamaica.
Tsunamis (earthquake-generated seawa-
ves) were created by the earthquakes of
1692 and 1907 but their effects were
limited mainly to the north coast and the
damage was negligible. Dam failure, an
earthquake hazard in many countries,
has not yet occurred in Jamiaca; the
existing dams have been constructed
since the last major earthquake.

Table 1 shows seismic events of
magnitude 5.0 or more, recorded over
the period 1899-1973. All the seismic
events recorded have been at shallow
depth, less than 60 kilometres. In general
the records of the Institute of Geological
Sciences in Edinburgh reveal a distri-
bution of about 60% of seismic events
to the north of Jamaica, 10% within the
island, and 30 % to the south of the island.
The earthquake record is divided on a
parish basis in Table 2.

There is no direct correlation of
seismic events with major faults onshore
Jamaica. None of the major seismic
events have been centred within Jamaica
itself but this does not mean that none
will occur in the future, although the
evidence from both distribution of
epicentres and the geololgic history indi-
cates that the majority of Jamaican
earthquakes have occurred, and will
occur, seaward of northern Jamaica.
As presented by Shepherd 5 there is a
geological case against major earth-
quake activity on the faults within Jama-
ica because the complexity of the fault
system (Figure 8) mitigates against slip
(vertical or horizontal) large enough to
generate events of great magnitude.

The 1907 Kingston Earthquake

This paper is illustrated with photo-
graphs of the Kingston earthquake of
1907. The damage due to the earthquake
has been reported in various publica-
tions of that time. H.M.S.O., in corres-
pondence relating to the earthquake, stat-
ed that the parishes of Kingston, Port
Royal, and St. Andrew were principally
affected. In Kingston all masonry struc-
tures were damaged or destroyed. Wood-
en buildings and light steel frame struc-
tures survived. Fire stations destroyed and
water mains fractured. Fifty six acres
of city burned. Over 600 persons killed
of Kingston's population .of 40,000.

Marine cables cut. Cost of dan
as follows.:

Buildings burned
Private buildings in
Kingston and St.
Ecclesiastical buildings
in Kingston
Merchandise and perso-
nal property burned
Ecclesiastical buildings
outside Kingston
Other buildings in other

aage listed Down the comparatively broad
thoroughfare of King Street, above the
mass of the ruins, we could see the
500,000 flames and dense smoke of the fire
which was consuming all that quarter
of the city which lay parallel tothe shore,
900,000 as well as the coal-stocks of the ship-
ping companies.....................
Passing by the racecourse, on which
500,000 hundreds of refugee families were already
assembled with their furniture, we saw a
30,000 great mass of smoke rising above
Up Park Camp, the station of the garri-
20,000 son, and learned that the hospital was

on fire. It was known later that more than
2,010,000 forty soldier-patients were burned here".

Professor P. Carmody reporting in
Nature v. 75, p. 398-9, noted that,
"brick and stone buildings suffered most,
cement and wooden buildings least.
East and west walls of buildings collaps-
ed, while those facing north and south
were less damaged, suggesting that the
shock ran east and west. The narrow
streets running north to south were
therefore blocked".

H.F. Abell 7 who was a guest at the
Constant Spring Hotel described the
earthquake in particularly lively language.
"Two energetic men-Britons, of course-
were playing tennis. Towards them I
strolled across the lawn, when suddenly I
was staggering about and fancied I had
had been sun-struck. But when I saw
the stretch of lawn in front of me
violently agitated into waves exactly as a
carpet is moved by wind under it, and
at the same time a muffled roar like
distant artillery filled the air, and when, a
second later, I saw a huge rent spring, as
it were, from the bottom to the top of one
of the stone towers of the hotel, and then
followed a deafening crash and the rising
of a cloud of dust, it needed no experience
of Japan in past days to tell me the
terrible truth...............Only the fact that
the wing of the building which we occu-
pied was of wood saved us; and if the
shock had taken place in the night, when
the hotel was full of guests, the loss of
life must have been awful................

In the garden every person, white and
black stood silent and wondering what
next would happen. And here let me
place on record the splendid conduct
of the hotel staff generally, and the
black servants in particular. I saw much
terror among the whites; but the poor
blacks kept their heads to a degree not
usually associated with their racial

We entered the stricken city. We had
to tread our way between masses of
fallen roofs and walls, shattered palisa-
des, entanglements of telegraph wires
crushed buggies, and notably groups of
distracted people who rent the air with
cries of lamentation, hymns, and
entreaties for help. As yet no idea
could be formed of the number of victims;
but so many people implored us to help
in removing heaps of ruins beneath
which lay relations and friends that we
knew it must be very great.

Present Status of Earthquake-Related
Research in Jamaica

Earthquake studies of the Jamaica
region are conducted currently by the
Seismic Research Unit of the University
of the West Indies as part of their study
of the seismicity of the Caribbean.
The Mines and Geology Division of the
Ministry of Mining and Natural Re-
sources gives personnel assistance with
these investigations. There are three
seismographs on the island at this time
and it is hoped to establish a fourth on
the north coast near Montego Bay as
soon as a telemetry link can be provided.
The Seismic Research Unit and the Mines
and Geology Division have begun a
programme geared towards analysing
the differences in the nature of ground
shaking which results from the emergence
of earthquake waves through alluvium
and similar, unconsolidated, near-surface
materials in areas of existing or proposed
major building development in or around
Kingston. The potential for damage to
structures on soft ground may be greater
not only because of greater intensity of
shaking but also because of failure of
the ground itself, such as liquefaction,
landsliding, land spreading and ground
cracking, and differential subsidence.
These project studies will result in a
microzonation of the Kingston area
with respect to susceptibility to earth-
quake risk. The local insurance sector
has provided some of the money for
The most important requirement in
support of seismicity studies is a com-
prehensive geological map of the area.
The Mines and Geology Division has
been conducting geological mapping
since 1950 and the geology of Jamaica is
known in good detail. Published maps
maps are now available on a 1:50,000
scale for twenty of the thirty quadrangles.
The Engineering Geology Unit has
been involved since early 1973 with the
study of geological hazards in the
Kingston area, and an engineering
geology map of the city and its environs
should be completed by 1978. This map,
which will identify and characterise such
natural geological phenomena as active
faults, landslides, land spreading, sub-
sidence, and differential settlement, will
be especially useful to planners, engineers,
and developers.

Figure 3. Earthquake epicentres in the
Americas for the period January 1961
through February 1975. Data courtesy of
the National Geophysical and Solar Terres-
trial Data Center, Washington, D.C.

d5 /k.2



0 JO 6 0 10 120 110 MI 1 00 220 4 26 21 aO

Figure 4: Earthquake epicentres in the Jamaica region (after Shepherd ).









,o a

Figure 5: Comparison of intensity and occurrence of seismic energy release
in Berkeley, California; Port-of-Spain, Trinidad; and Kingston, Jamaica
over the period 1964-1970. Data courtesy of John Tomblin, Seismic
Research Unit, U.W.I.

Figure 7: Frequency of damaging earthquakes in Jamaica based on data for
the period 1880-1960 (after ShepherdS




Figure 6: Intensity of seismic energy release for Kingston over the period
1903-1970. Data courtesy of John Tomblin, Seismic Research Unit,

Figure 8: Major faults in Jamaica. The stippled areas indicate three struc-
turally high areas in western, central, and eastern Jamaica.

7B00W 77l00

~a I,
,o m
n~~*rur wrur r

1907: PORT ROYAL STREET View of Port Royal Street looking

Earthquake W.I. R. L.

Top Left:
1907: KING STREET Looking North showing part of Victoria Markel
in right foreground (before) W.I.R.L.

Middle Left:
1907: EARTHQUAKE -- Harbour Street East

Bottom Left:
1907: EARTHQUAKE Harbour Street East

(before) W.I.R.L.

(after) W.I.R.L,


Future Plans
A new Building Code for the Kingston
area is ready to be promulgated any time
now. This revised code, which will be
regulated by the K.S.A.C., recommends
the adoption, in design and construction,
of the Structural Engineering Association
of California (SEAOC) Recommneda-
tion on Lateral Force Requirements.
It will be mandatory for all new buildings
of six or more floors to be instrumented
with strong-motion accelerographs.

An Advisory Committee on Earth-
quake Hazard Reduction has been
established and has prepared a Green
Paper of recommendations on earth-
quake hazard reduction in Jamaica.
Among its initial recommendations are:

1. The Building Code should be made
mandatory, not just for the Cor-
porate area, but for the entire island.

2. All structural engineers, quantity
surveyors, and other professional
groups involved in the construction
industry, should be registered.

3. The seismograph network in Jamaica
should be expanded.

4. Detailed seismic-hazard maps should
be prepared for Jamaica.

5. Detailed geological site plans should
be prepared for all major new
developments, taking into account
potential hazards such as low-
lying ground liable to flooding, sub-
sidence, active faults, and landslides.

6. Alluvial plains comprise a large
proportion of the land available
for urban development but a lack
of instrumental measurements in the
different soil types has caused too
much reliance to be placed on the
historical record. There is a need
for accurate measurement of the
effects of strong-motion waves on
the alluvial soils.


The largest probable earthquake in
Jamaica (Richter magnititude 7.5 to 8.0)
would have a radius of up to 100 km. and
could include the eastern half of Jama-
ica 8. A repetition of the 1692 earthquake
in Jamaica could cause property damage,
at 1976 values, in excess of J$1,000
million, plus deaths and injuries to 10%
of the population. Thus earthquake
hazards, and the complex problems
attendant thereon, must be approached
through an organized national effort.

The main goals of a national earth-
quake programme are to mitigate the
hazards to life and property, to reduce
human suffering and economic losses,
and to minimize disruptions of govern-
ment, business, and private activities
from future earthquakes. Careful scienti-
fic analyses of earthquake risk and
vulnerability must be conducted to assist

in attaining an informed and rational
attitude towards earthquakes and to
obtain an optimum balance between
safety and economic cost. Land-use
planning, engineering design and practice,
risk evaluation, insurance, public educa-
tion, and emergency preparedness are
the major approaches to earthquake
hazard reduction in Jamaica. The preli-
minary results obtained from existing

information will guide the selection and
implementation of more complex and
sophisticated scientific and engineering
programmes as the requisite money and
expertise become available. Thus in the
near term we hope to achieve considerable
improvement in earthquake hazard re-
duction in Jamaica with a moderate
level of resources.


Events greater than magnitude 5.0 taken from the U.K. Institute of
Geological Sciences record for the period 1899-1973.
Estimated effect at Kingston

(Modified Mercalli




*Inaccurate readings.

1907: Belt of fissuring at base of Palisadoes peninsula, showing a parallel fault plane in sand with
craters of mud (WIRL).



St. Paul's Kirk, Market Street, Montego Bay.

1. Molnar, P.H. and Sykes, L.R., 1969,
Tectonics of the Caribbean and Middle
American regions from focal mechanisms
and seismicity, Geol. Soc. Amer. Bull. v. 80,
p. 1639-1684.
2. Horsfield, W.T. and Roobol, M.J., 1974,
Atectonic model for the evolution of Jamaica.
Jour. Geol. Soc. Jamaica, v. 14, p. 31-38.
3. Mines and Geology Division, 1974, Field
Guide to Selected Jamaican Geological
Localities, Special Publ. No. 1, R. M. Wright
(Editor), 57 pp.
4. Arden, D.D., 1969, Geologic History of the
Nicaraguan Rise, Trans, Gulf Coast Assoc.
Geol. Soc. v. 19, p. 295-309.
5. Shepherd, J.B., 1971, A study of earthquake
risk in Jamaica and its influence on physical
development planning, Town Planning Dept.,
Jamaica, 49 pp. and Appendices.
6. Tomblin, J.M. and Robson, G.R., (in press),
A catalogue of felt earthquakes for Jamaica,
with reference to other islands in the Greater
Antilles, 1564-1971, Mines and Geology
Division, Jamaica, Special Public. No. 2.
7. Abell, H.F., 1907, A reminescence of the
Jamaica earthquake Chambers Journal, v. 6,
No. 10, p. 427-429.
8. Tomblin, J.F., 1976, Earthquake risk in
Jamaica, Jour. Geol. Soc. Jamaica, v. 15. p. 16-23

Number of Earthquakes of Intensities IV to X reported in various parishes of Jamaica over the period 1880-1960.
The final row which gives the number of damaging earthquakes per century is the basis for the Damage Frequency
map (Figure 7).


IV ... 27 48 23 35 27 25 47 32 20 94 66 27 49

V ...... 11 15 12 21 22 16 18 16 27 45 21 13 35
VI ... 2 1 4 6 4 5 4 6 7 14 8 3 3
VI 0 1 0 2 1 1 0 0 1 2

VIII. .. ... ...... 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 1 0

IX ... ..... ...... 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0
X 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Total ...... 41 64 39 64 54 48 69 55 53 155 97 45 89

Total VI ....... 3 3 4 8 5 7 4 7 7 16 10 5 5

Number per century ...... .... 4 4 5 10 6 9 5 9 9 20 12 6 6

Pisgah Roman Catholic Church, St. James.

Savannah-La-Mar Anglican Church.

Lae 7 G" t r

A Classroom of the Montego Bay Infant School.

ir '^ e"I All^*






Reprinted from the Bulletin of the Jamaican
Historical Society
The great landslide which created
Judgement Cliff near Llandewey in
St. Thomas occurred in 1692, closely
associated, if not simultaneous, with the
quake that destroyed Port Royal and did
great damage over much of Jamaica.

I have been able to find remarkably
little about it in the literature. However,
I am attempting to record here as much
as possible of its history and legend.

The earliest, and undoubtedly the most
important references, are the "Sloane
Letters" on the 1692 earthquake. Dr.
Hans Sloane, of course, had returned to
England after his sojourn in Jamaica
and was for many years Secretary
to the Royal Society. For twenty years
he was editor of the Transactions of the
Society and in them, in 1694, he pub-
lished letters from Jamaica about the
1692 earthquake. These were reprinted
in extenso in the Journal of the Institute
of Jamaica (1894) Vol. 1 pp. 188-199.

Letter "V" dated 20th September
1692 says:
".......At Yellows a great mountain
split and fell into the Level Land
and covered several settlements and
destroyed nineteen White people.
One of the persons whose name was
Hopkins, had his plantation removed
half a mile from the place it formerly
stood; and now good provisions
grow upon it".

Letter "VI" is undated, but in
sequence should be late in 1692,
"The Mountain at Galloes far'd no
better than those of Sixteen Mile
Walk; a great part of one of them
falling down, drove all the Trees
before it and at the foot of the
mountain there was a plantation
that was wholly overthrown and
buried in it".

In another (No. VII), dated March
22, 1692/3, it was said:
"As to the mountains in Liguanea,
they fell in several places, and in
some very steep; but the steepest
mountain that we heard fall, was
that at Gallowes, which I heard did
much damage by its rolling down".
In letter No. VIII dated Port Royal
July 3, 1693 we find
".........And at Yallowes particularly

some families who lived betwixed
two mountains were shut up and
buried under them. Not far from
which place part of a mountain,
after making several leaps or moves,
overwhelmed a whole family and a
great part of a plantation lying a
mile off. And a large high mountain
near Port Morant near a day's
journey over, is said to be quite
swallowed up; and in the place where
it stood there is now a Great
Lake of Four or Five Leagues over".

Edward Long (1774) in describing
the 1692 earthquake, possibly deriv-
ing his information from Sloane,
wrote: "A great part of a rocky
mountain in St. David's fell down
and buried a whole plantation at
the foot of it. The part from which
this fragment was detached is now
a precipice of solid rock, conspicu-
ous from its height at a great
distance, and remains a dreadful
monument of that day's catas-

Judgement Cliff appears to have been
neglected by most writers about Jamaica.
Hugh Cave, who was once, I believe, a
member of the Historical Society was al-
ways on the lookout for the more
obscure places of great interest, in his
book "Four Paths to Paradise" (Double-
day, New York 1961), tells of his visit to
Judgement Cliff with the Jamaican
Geological Society under the guidance of
the late Prof. V. A. Zans, Director of the
Geological Survey Department 1949-
1961. His first view of Judgement Cliff
was from the road just beyond Cambridge
Hill where, we agree, there is an easily
accessible and magnificent panoramic
view of Judgement Cliff. The party
proceeded to explore the area and several
pages are devoted to a description of the
scene and Prof. Zans' discussion of the
event. Zans described the motion of the
slide by making dipping motions with
his hands as though scooping up water.
He said: "it was rotational in nature,
boiling up to form the series of ridges"
in the bulge. The river was at the foot of
the hill but the slide, like a giant bull-
dozer, pushed everything before it-even
the river.

Capt. S.A.G. Taylor has given a
most effective description of his view of
Judgement Cliff. He said: "It is as if
an iron scoop, half a mile wide, had
been plunged into the heart of the

mountain a thousand feet above the
river, and then drawn forward leaving a
white scar on the side of the mountain
and an immense pile of rubble at its foot".
From top to bottom Judgement Cliff
is approximately a thousand feet. The
slipped mass or "bulge" consists of three
distinct ridges built up of blocks and
boulders of all sizes piled up chaotically,
some of the blocks are 100 feet or more
across. This "bulge" is about 2/3 of a
mile in width and about the same in
length. It can easily be seen how a
plantation,on the river bank could have
been pushed half a mile before this
gigantic force.

Zans studied Judgement Cliff and the
surrounding area. His valuable report
and geological description was published
in Geonotes, the Quarterly Journal of the
Jamaica Group of the Geologists Asso-
ciation (London)-a forerunner of Jam-
aican Geological Society (Vol. II, No. 2,
1959 pp. 43-48).

The paper goes into the geological
structure of the area and analyses the
cause and process of the event. The
mountain consists of limestone underlain
by beds of soft clay and shale containing
much gypsum and tilting westward
toward the river. Water seeped down
through fissures in the rock, perhaps
opened up by the earthquake of 1692
or perhaps by previous earthquakes as
well as from high water in the river.
It is known that very heavy rains fell
early in 1692. The basement beds became
saturated and slippery. The heavy load of
limestone rested on the slippery base and
the mountain began to slide and, once
in motion, broke up into pieces. The
disintegrating mountain must have been
a terrifying sight and experience. Capt.
S.A.G. Taylor believes the catastrophe
occurred simultaneously with the quake
that destroyed Port Royal.

Sloane's "accounts" seem to bear this out.
Zans thought it might have occurred
somewhat late in that same year when
heavy rains fell. In any case it was not
a simple slide, but a series of three
successive slumps resulting in the forma-
tion of the three principal ridges of the

Port Royal was destroyed at mid-day
on June 7th. Two references (Anony-
mous 1846 and Bleby 1872) associate the
Judgement Cliff slide with hurricanes
accompanied by exceptionally heavy

rains. Both of these narratives are sub-
sequently quoted at some length in this
Bulletin. The first said the slide occurred
in July and Bleby pinpoints it on the
night of 18th/19th October but gives no
year. Neither associate it with the Port
Royal catastrophe.

Zans has pointed out that this tremen-
dous slide in St. Thomas, overlooking
the lower Yallahs Valley opposite Mount
Sinai, was not only one of the largest
in the island in historical times but
exceeds in its dimensions many of the
well-known landslides in other parts of
the world, such as the Gross Ventre slide
in Wyoming, U.S.A. in 1925 (50 million
cubic yards) and the Turtle Mountain
Rockslide in Alberta Canada in 1903
(35-40 million cubic yards). Zans calcu-
lated the volume of the Judgement Cliff
slide at 86 million cubic yards which by
weight would be about 163 million tons.

A most interesting and only detailed
account that I have been able to locate of
the "goings on" at Judgement Cliff prior
to the disaster was published anony-
mously in the Jamaica Monthly Magazine
(Vol. II No. VIII March 1846). This
account is alleged to be a compilation
from various documents by different
authors "no less than four having given
versions of some of the principal facts
and all perhaps differing a little from
each other", is presented in the form of a
narrative-"for the entertainment of
Jamaica antiquaries and young folks
curious in the history of their country".
Slightly abridged and edited, this story,
which probably can be classified as
"historical fiction" commences on page
222 of this Bulletin. There is no attempt
at linking the Judgement Cliff slide with
the Port Royal disaster. In fact an
analysis of the dates, ages of the principal
characters and events given in the account
would put it about 1697 or 1698 or
perhaps even later. At the very end of
the story reference is, in fact, made to
the Port Royal disaster as another"oc-

Of course Judgement Cliff was a splendid
subject on which H. Bleby could preach.
We quote here, commencing on page 233
extracts totalling about half of his
account. There is no suggested connec-
tion with the 1962 earthquake, in fact,
Bleby appears to date the disaster at the
end of the 18th Century or early in the

19th Century. What was his source of
information? He appears to be associat-
ing Judgement Cliff slide with the Great
Hurricane of 1815 which did tremendous
damage' in the Blue Mountains.

This hurricane occurred on October 15th.

One would expect many legends to
develop around such a place as Judg-
ment Cliff and it is easy to understand
why it should be generally accepted that
the owner of the plantation and those
who lived directly under the cliff and
and were destroyed by the slide, were
wicked and that their destruction was a
warning to others to mend their ways.

Captain Taylor, whose boyhood home
was nearby, has given another interesting
story. At that time much of the labour
on the plantations were English bonds-
men. A young man who took part in the
Monmouth Rebellion, losing an arm
at Sedgmore, "was tried at the Bloody
Assizes and sentenced to be transported
to Jamaica, where he would have to
serve for ten years. At Port Royal he
was sold at auction for 5 to a notorious
sadist from the plantation in St. Davids
on the Yallahs. Falling foul of his
master he had to flee for his life. He
was standing on the opposite bank of the
river when the earthquake occurred.
He was thrown to the ground and heard
that indescribable rumble which once
heard is never forgotten. He saw the
ground bend and heave like the waves of
the sea. He saw the mountain split
open and move towards him pushing
everything before it. He saw the upper
part curl over, like the crest of a wave
before it breaks and fall in a cloud of
dust that blotted out the scene."
What are the tales currently told in the

I asked some school boys on the road
near our New Monument whether they
knew any story. They promptly told me:
An old and tired woman was passing
down the river asking as she went for
someone to give her water. Many paid
no attention or refused until, at last, a
man came to her aid and brought her
water. That night a "bull-cow" belong-
ing to the same man failed to come home
from pasture so, as night fell, he went out
looking for the strayed animal. The
Mountain fell and the only survivors
were the man and his "bull-cow" and a

cock which flew out from under the
falling rocks.

This seems to be the most widely known

People in the district generally believe
that those destroyed were notorious for
immorality and incest. This reputation
seems to be traceable through the
Methodist mission to Bleby's account.

It is widely believed that the landslide
occurred on a Saturday night. A varia-
tion of the story of the man looking for
the "strayed bull-cow" is that he was
visiting a lady friend at Mount Sinai
and escaped destruction (shades of
Bolivar). Many people speak of a gaping
hole in the rubble at the foot of the cliff
into which animals disappear. There are
also reports of "smoke" rising from this
hole from time to time which accounts
for some people assuming volcanic acti-

Is Judgement Cliff likely to slide again?

On the basis of geological evidence the
stability of Judgement Hill and the adja-
cent hillsides on the eastern side of the
Yallahs River are very questionable.
Zans explains that the main precaution
to prevent further large scale sliding is
to keep the valley at the foot of the cliff
well drained to prevent surplus water
from seeping into the underlying soft
clays and shales.
He also advised that settlements should
not be established at the foot of these
I must gratefully acknowledge the assis-
tance afforded me in collecting this
material on Judgement Cliff and especial-
ly Miss Althea Silvera of the West
India Reference Library, Dr. S.A.G.
Taylor, Miss Mavis Hearne and Rev.
Francis J. Osborne, S.J.


According to the dictionary both
spellings are acceptable. Most of
my references have used the former
spelling but Geological Survey maps
and reports use both spellings. The
place appears to be unmarked on
most official maps.

Top & Bottom: JUDGEMENT CLIFF: Village to left of cliff.
Llandeway. Peak in background, John Crow Peak. Fore-
ground, Yalahs River. Bare area to left is a tobacco field.

Photo: J.S. Tyndale-Biscoe.


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The following study was prepared in response to repeated
requests for information concerning the identification of
locally occurring minerals. It is, therefore, to a large
extent a compilation of both published and unpublished
facts, observations and opinions drawn from every
available source including the author's own investigations
carried out during the last eight (8) years. Whilst no
attempt has been made to credit all sources of information
the author wishes to acknowledge his indebtedness to
the pioneering work of Sir Henry de la Beche and the
methodical researches of the late Messrs. J.G. Sawkins
and V.A. Zans, without whose investigations this
publication would not have been attempted. It should
further be noted that the format employed in describing
the physical properties of minerals and in preparing
identification tables is based upon long-established
custom. In addition to outlining their diagnostic features
attention is also drawn to chemical composition,
geographic location, manner of occurrence and, where
applicable, year of recognition.
This publication, therefore, is intended to provide
an easy and straightforward means of identifying
Jamaican minerals without pre-supposing any detailed
technical knowledge of mineral chemistry and
crystallography or requiring the use of sophisticated
instrumentation. As a result individual mineral descrip-
Stions have been arranged in alphabetical order for easy
Special sites, place names and mineral occurrences
referred to in the text are appended by eight (8) figure
grid references (abbreviated G. R.) together with the
relevant Jamaica 1:50,000 scale topographic sheets,
copies of which are obtainable from the Survey
Department. Readers interested in obtaining additional
information on the bauxite resources of Jamaica, a
subject which merits a comprehensive publication of
its own, are advised to consult the 1971, 1973 and 1975
Special Issues of the Journal of the Geological Society
of Jamaica.
The author is especially indebted to both Dr. E.
Robinson, Head of the Geology Department U. W.I. and
Mr. G. H. Sabiston, Chief Geologist, Alcan Jamaica Ltd.,
for critically reading the typescript and making several
valuable suggestions. Sincere appreciation is also
extended to the following persons whose generous
assistance contributed significantly to the completion
of this manuscript: Messrs. R. E. Anderson, C. D. G.
Black, C. E. Davis, W. T. Horsfield, T. Jackson, N.
McFarlane, A. Russell, K. Sauerlender (deceased), Mrs.
Al. Kinghorn and Mrs. B. Ramsay.
Finally, the author gratefully acknowledges the
technical support, of the Mines and Geology Division of
the Ministry of Mining and Natural Resources; The
Institute oflJamaila; the Scientific Research Council;
and the University of the West Indies Geology

Definition: Inasmuch as existing Jamaican
legislation recognizes petroleum and natural
gas as "minerals" whilst excluding gypsum
and clay, the term mineral as it is applied
throughout this text, refers to any naturally
occurring inorganic homogeneous solid having a
definite chemical composition and a characteristic
internal structure: whereas a rock is defined as
an aggregate of one or more minerals. Therefore
the requirement that a mineral be inorganically
formed, clearly eliminates substances produced
by animals and plants, such as pearls and coal,

Most minerals possess certain properties
which can be quickly and easily determined
by physical means. These properties are of
great significance since they provide us with a
tool for describing and identifying minerals.
It is essential, therefore, that the collector
have a working knowledge of them.

For convenience, physical properties are
divided into two groups:

1. General
2. Specific

General physical properties are those which
are common to all minerals: whereas specific
physical properties are found in only a few


Crystals and Crystalline Aggregates: A crystal
is a solid body bounded by smooth planes or
crystal faces. Most minerals form crystals,
with each mineral possessing its own character-
istic crystal form or forms, the best known
example of which is a cube.
In nature however, conditions are not
always ideal for the development of perfect
crystals and, as often happens, we find the
mineral occurring as an aggregate of imperfect
crystals. This property, nevertheless is ex-
tremely useful in mineral identification since
the internal arrangement of the atoms always
determine the shape of crystals and this
internal arrangement is always the same for-
a given mineral.

Terms which are used to describe the
appearance of individual crystals or crystalline
aggregates are as follows:
(1) Minerals composed of elongated crys-
tals arranged in groups are described
as: columnar, if the individual crys-
tals are column-like; bladed. if flattened
like a knife blade: acicular, if slender
and needle-like; fibrous, if they form
fibres; radiate, if they seem to be
diverging or radiating from a common

(2) Minerals composer of equidimension-
al crystals. or grains, arranged in an
aggregate are described as granular
if the grains are visible with the naked
eye, and compact if they are not.

(3) Miscellaneous terms: Other terms
used to describe aggregations not
covered by the above are: stalacritic,
if cone-or cylinder-like; dendritic,
if branching or tree-like; banded,
if occurring in narrow bands of differ-
ent colour and texture; concentric,
if occurring in individual layers
superimposed one above the other
and curved around a common centre;
micaceous, if the mineral aggregate is
composed of exceedingly thin and
separable scales or flakes, commonly
called laminate; pisolitic, if the mineral
aggregate is formed of rounded pea-
size pellets; colitic, if the pellets re-
semble fish roe (eggs).

Cleavage and Fracture: Certain minerals have
the tendency to split or cleave along definite
planes of weakness and these are said to show
cleavage. Those minerals which break in a

direction other than along cleavage planes are
said to show fracture.

The ability to show cleavage is one of the
most important and useful properties in
mineral identification, both in hand specimen
and microscopic study. Since the number of
cleavage planes as well as the angles of inter-
section are diagnostic features for several
minerals, it is important to determine how
many cleavage directions a mineral possesses.
For instance, mica has two fat cleavage
surfaces on a single specimen but these are
parallel and hence, represent only one cleavage
plane. If a mineral has two planes of cleavage
the angles of intersection will probably be
diagnostic and should be carefully recorded.
Minerals such as pyrite, with three planes of
cleavage which intersect at right angles are
said to have cubic cleavage; whereas those
such as calcite, with three cleavage planes which
do not intersect at right angles are said to have
rhombohedral cleavage.

The quality or degree of cleavage is also
significant and may be expressed as follows:

(i) Perfect-If the surface produced is
extensive, smooth and lustrous,
and the mineral is difficult to
break in other directions, the
cleavage is described as perfect.

ti) Good-If the surface produced is
smooth, except for small frac-
tures, and the mineral can be
broken in other directions, the
cleavage is described as good.

(iii) Poor-If the surface produced is limit-
ed, somewhat uneven and has
httle luster, and the mineral
cleaves and fractures with the
same degree of ease, the cleava-
ge is described as poor.

Several minerals however which do not
possess cleavage, exhibit a characteristic
fracture, the four most important types of
which are as follows:

(i0 Conchodial-Minerals that break with
smooth curved surfaces,
often with concentric
markings like the intenor
of a clam shell, are said
to have a conchoidal frac-

(ii) Splintery -Minerals that break with a
surface like that of
"broken wood" are said
to have a splintery fracture.

(iii) Uneven -Minerals that break with
a surface which is rough
and irregular are said to
have an uneven fracture.

(iv) Hackly -Minerals that break with
a surface which is jagged
and sharp are said to
have a hackly fracture.

Colour: Although colour is one of the most
useful physical properties and quite often is a
mineral's most striking feature, it may not
always be diagnostic, since many mineral
colourations are due to the presence of
finely disseminated impurities. Moreover, cer-
tain minerals such as pyrite and bornite
undergo surface alterations or tarnish. Conse-
quently, a fresh surface is always required when
recording a mineral's colour.

Streak: The term streak refers to the colour
of the powder of a mineral. The powder
scatters light and gives a colour effect that may
be quite different from that of the mineral as a
whole. This property is best observed by
rubbing the mineral either across the back ofan
unglazed tile or on a piece of rough glass.
Several minerals however are harder than
either of the above objects and will not,
therefore, leave a streak mark. In this event
streak may be observed by filing, scratching,
or crushing the mineral with an appropriate
The streak test is a more reliable feature
than "colour" and is often the quickest and

simplest way of distinguishing otherwise
similar minerals. As a rule, colourless to white
minerals produce a white streak, but this may
have no diagnostic value; coloured, non-
metallic minerals have a streak usually lighter
than the colour e.g. green epidote has a
grayish white streak; and minerals with a
metallic lustre commonly have a streak darker
than the colour e.g., yellowish pyrite has a
greenish-black streak.

Lustre: The lustre of a mineral is defined as its
appearance in reflected light. This property
is essentially unrelated to colour since it is
not uncommon to find two minerals ot
similar colour having totally different lustres.

Lustre is divided here into two classes.
Metallic and Non-metallic. An intermediate
stage, often referred to as "sub-metallic is
included in the former.

(i) Metallic Lustre: Minerals which re-
semble polished metal surfaces are
described as having a metallic lustre.

(ii) Non-Metallic Lustre: Minerals which
do not appear metallic are described
as having a non-metallic lustre and
several varieties are recognized. These
are as follows:

(a) Vitreous -the lustre of glass, which
is common to approxi-
mately 70 of all mine-
(b) Resinous -the lustre of resin like
that exuded from pine
(c) Adamantine -the brilliant lustre of
id) Pearly -the lustre of pearls

(e) Silky -the lustre of silk, which
is peculiar to minerals
having a fibrous struc-
(fiMiscellaneous-minerals, such,as clays
which seem to be without
lustre are described as
lustre. If the surface of a
mineral has the ability
to reflect objects hke a
mirror, it is said to have
a "splendent" lustre.
Other self explanatory
terms in common usage
are "greasy" and "waxy"

Hardness: The "hardness' of a mineral is
defined as its resistance to abrasion or scratch-
ing. This property, designated by the letter
H, is one of the most useful tests used in
mineral identification. It is determined by
the comparative ease or difficulty with which
a mineral can scratch or be scratched by
another mineral or object of known hardness.

In 1822 the Austrian mineralogist Mobs
erected a scale consisting of ten common
minerals arranged in order of their increasing
hardness. This scale. known as Mohs' scale
of hardness, is still the most widely used and
is as follows:


Hardness Standard Mineral
I Talc
2 Gypsum
3 Calcite
4 Fluorite
5 Apatite
6 Orthoclase
7 Quartz
8 Topaz
9 Corundum
10 Diamond

Each mineral in the scale will scratch the
one numerically below it. Thus, gypsum (H--2)
will scratch talc (H--I) and be scratched by
calcite (H-3). Whilst minerals with the same
hardness will scratch each other.

A popular mental aid for remembering the
standard minerals in order of increasing hard-
ness is as follows

"Town Girls Can Flint,
And Other Queer Things Can Do".
The first letter of each mineral forming the
basis of the rhyme.
Since it is often impractical to carry minerals
of known hardness, or sets of the above on
collecting excursions, hardness can be deter-
mined just as readily by the ability of minerals
to scratch or be scratched by one or more of
the following objects:
(a) Fingernail (Hardness-2j)
(b) Copper coin (Hardness-3)
(c) Knife blade (Hardness 54)
(d) Glass (Hardness--5--6)
(e) Steel file (Hardness-61-7)

In general minerals with a hardness of one
(1) have a greasy or soapy feel and will mark
paper; those with a hardness of two (2) will
be scratched by the fingernail and will mark
paper; those with a hardness of three (3) will
be cut by a knife and will not mark paper;
those with a hardness of four (4) will be scrat-
ched fairly easily; those with a hardness of
five (5) will be scratched only with difficulty
by a regular knife blade, but they will not
scratch glass; and those with a hardness of
greater than five (5) cannot be scratched by
a knife blade.

In making hardness determinations the
following -precautions should be observed:
(1) Softer minerals may leave powder
marks on harder minerals; which can
easily be removed by rubbing; whereas
a real scratch cannot be erased by

(2) Since certain minerals are susceptible
to alteration, thereby producing softer
surfaces, it is vital to test clean,
fresh surface wherever possible.

(3) Fine grained specimens or friable
masses may have an apparent hard-
ness which bears no relationship to
that of well crystallized minerals.
For example, red earthy hematite
can be scratched with a fingernail;
whereas well developed crystals of'
hematite cannot.
Tenacity: The resistance that a mineral offers
.to bteakiig, 'bending crushing or cutting is
;defiled as its '"teacity". The terms used
to deioribe'tidirMty.are-as follows:
(a) Brittle Minerpls that can easily be
shaitre or crushed to a
finepcf ler.
(b) Malleable Mintlals that can change
theirshape when hammered,
without breaking.
(c) Sectile Minerals that cant-br-out
into shavings with a knife

, (d) Elastic Minerals that ca -bend
without breaking and spring
backifo their originneshape.

S(e) Flexible- Flexible Minerals that .can
bend without breaking, but
-will not spring back to
-. thaWit original ship;

-'l t"A Is defhiftd -is'the

4aberved lgh.

bi.. ', f O rtft -The s'peciic gravity of any
.. !...!,. , .. .

body is defined as the ratio between its weight
and that of an equal volume of water.
This property, designated by the letters S.G.
in the text, is best obtained using pea-sized
specimens or larger, by first weighing the
mineral in air (Wa) and then in water (Ww);
the ratio may then be computed by using the
S.G.= Wa

if, for example, a mineral has a specific
gravity of three (3), it means that it weighs
three times as much as an equal volume of

Weighing may not always be necessary,
however, since many of our minerals possess
diagnostic properties by which they may often
easily be identified. Nevertheless, a rough
estimate is often desirable and may be obtained
by handling a few of the common minerals such
as quartz (S.G.=2.65), calcite (S.G.=2.7)
-barite (S.G.=4.5) and magnetite (S.G.=5.2)
in order to acquire a sense of relative weight.

Generally speaking heavy minerals like
gold and silver have specific gravities greater
than ten (10); ore minerals, such as
chalcopyrite, occur in the range 4-7, while
most of the remaining minerals vary between
2-3. Organic material such as lignite are


Although many of the minerals occurring
within the island may be identified on the
basis of their general physical properties, a
few possess special physical properties which
are diagnostic and provide a rapid means of
identification. These areas follows:
Magnetism: Minerals which are attracted by
a small hand or horse-shoe magnet are said
to be magnetic (e.g. magnetite).
Feel: The feel of a mineral can be defined as
the impression or sensation gained by handling
it. Some are soft and soapy, whilst others are
rough and harsh.
Taste: Minerals that will dissolve in water
are uncommon, but those that do have distinct
'tee the best known example of which is the
or salty flavour of halite (common
table salt).
Odour: Certain minerals when broken, heated,
rubbed or exhaled upo give off characteristic
odours. Some are earthy.or clayey, whilst
others are garlic-lke or sulplrous.
Miscellaneous: Other tests .that single out
certain minerals, but which require equipment
that may not be readily available are:
(i) Reaction. to Acid-the application of
cold dilute hydrochloric acid (HC1) to
most carbonate minerals such as calcite,
aragonite, malachite and azurite, result
in an instantaneous bubbling or effer-
vescence. In the absence of HC house-
hold vinegar (acetic acid) may be
effectively substituted.
(ii) Luinescence-certain minerals when
subjected to invisible sources of
-radiation such as ultraviolet (U.V.)
l ight, have the ability to almost iiftait-
aneopsly trahsf6rm this enet into
visible coloured -ligbt quite dlifb nt
fro6 that of the.mineral. niip o
i. At. ,hicb ise tedand otEflected
s- t is:known im iE d&iI..Those
m-inerals which only luof inhesce whilst
the mineral is exposed to the light
source are said to be flyorescenr; where-
as those which continue to luminesce
for a short while after the light-has
Seen removedare said to be-phosphore-
Although only a small number of minerals
posesss ig the capacity to luminesce have so.
ftar ben detected locally, it is hoped-.that
readers possessing accesI to anU.V. light will

try this test, as it is an extremely important
prospecting tool which could possibly result
in the discovery of mineral occurences,
hitherto unknown.





Chemical Name of Chemical
Group Mineral Formula
Native Copper Cu
Eleinents Silver Ag

Sulphides Bornite Cu sFeS4
Chalcopyrite CuFeS2
Galena PbS
Pyrite FeS2
Sphalerite ZnS

Oxides Cuprite Cu20
Hematite Fe205
Magnetite Fe 304
Pyrolusite MnO2

Sulphates Anhydrite CaSO4
Barite BaSO4
Gypsum CaSO4.2H20

Carbonates Azurite CU3(CO3)2
Calcite CaCO,
Dolomite CaMg(CO,)
Malachite Cu2(CO3)

Arsenates Erythrite CO3 (ASO4)

Halides Halite NaCI

Silica Quartz SiO2

Feldspar Orthoclase KAlSi Os
Plagioclase NaAlSi30,-
CaAI Si2O8

Mica Biotte Complex



_-- ..o -p
-..JU0lC .A ,, -1


. Aetiollte (See Amphibole Group)
Agate: (See Quartz Group)
Alabaster: (See Gypsum)
Amethyst: (See Quartz Group)

uTle Ampnihole Grop.p;(lBordblaeltBActmiokl
ite), Comlex. Silicates
The term "amphibqle" refers to an excep-
tionally complex, -but well defined group of'
dark coloured minerals, composed predomi-
nantly of hydrated calcium-iron-magnesium
silicate and characterised by perfect prismatic
cleavage, the crystal surfaces of which inter-
sect at angles of 560 apd. 124. Hornblende,
the only common and widely distributed mem-
ber in Jamaica, occurs predominantly in the
form of elongated, columnar to.: acicular-
shaped crystals within igneous (e.granodio-
rite, andesite, tuff) and-meta hi rooks
(e.g., amphibolite, schist, g:iss). rtiniertiuic-.
tive physical properties include: colour, usually
dark greenish gray to black, but sometimes
reddish due to iron oxide staining; streak:
white; luster, vitreous; hardness 5-6, specific
gravity 2.9-3.6 (depending on iron content).
Except for augite, a member of the pyroxene
group, which differs with certainty only in
crystal form and cleavage, hornblende can be
readily distinguished from all other locally
occurring non-metallic darlk coloured liin-
Amongst the many hornblende-bearing rocks
within the island by far the best coecting lo-
cality known to theauthoroccursapproximately
one mile (I km) S.E. ofTrout Hall, Clarendon
in the Rio Minho Valley (G.R. E4375N4465,
Sheet G). At this locality crystals varying in
length from less than 2mm to more than 2.54
cms (1 inch) occur within basaltic.andesitc, an
igneous rock instrusive into and, therefore
younger than the surrounding country rock.
Other worthwhile and-easily accessible sites
1. The road from Johns Hallqto Frank-,
field Clarendon, .where slender, horn-
blende crystals up to 7mm in length
occur abundantly within massive tuffs.
A similar sequences also well exposed
approximately one half mile west of
Thompson Town, Clarendon along
the road leading to Smithville.
2. The Rio Pedro Valley at and-upstream
from, the Zion Hill bridge, St. Andrew
(G.R. E5860N4412, Sheet'L) -where
crystals varing in colour from black to
dark green as a result ofrpartial alte-
raidon to chlorite), and rarely exceed-
ing 1 cm in any one direction occur
within coarse grained granodiorite

Actinolite, the only other member known to the
author that can be readily identified in the field,
occursmainly as green to greenish white, acicu-
lar, fibrous and asbestiform crystalline aggre-
gates within, veins, and stringers which form
either a crisscross network or parallel series
throughoutthe'rock. The neede-,, orifliber-like-
crystals which develop ap.romate prpen-
dicular to and sometimesrllel ithe widl
of the veins, are most easi oBtaied'fCfrom tie
schistose pebbles and boulders which 'occur in
the beds of several of the larger rivers in St.
Thomas, such as:
(i) Morgans River, between Shirley Castle

-:amp -I. 1 a i
at ... ....arrd
- at Uni .-.Hl.-IStt-otmaomBS id su ..... .-g
rivers, by Gr1nvlleDraperandcWilliantM.rse-
field ', whilst impossible to identify indivikualuly
without the.aid of elaborate and expensive
instrumentation, collectively impart a charac-
teristic blue-grey colour to the schistose rooks
containing them.
AnhydB*).: (Anhydrous gypsum), CaSO
Ank, caltio si op n
tbrmsn, 0 I
varies tOin-whitfto ill- s.-
The only knowudeposits, locatbdpro d y -
one mile iorth.north.east of BullBa,I St-
Andrew intife area-mined y Janiaica GSpmuw-
Ltd. were discovered between December 1953
and March-1954 during anexploration dtllng
programme conducted by the Geol.gical
Survey Departineh't in the gypsum depoits.on
the Belbok-Cari'bbeliPr opa tr2.
Although-4dentical.t gyps ': in i re,
speotsil2laagoiiife can nsuay e t s
frTommitie. feseer by its gtiafts 4
and thiMtb,
Other, .:hyulcal-propeues 'in ttd: e
to greyish white, lustre, vitteus to pe1ly;
diaphanity, translucent; crystal form; and
cleavage are rarely visible on Jamaican splei-
mens without the aid of a microscope.
Antigorite (see Serpentine)
Aragaonite CaCOi
Aragnite calcium carbonate comnoiy
refetredioas "mother of pearl" is tbe piipa
component' of corals and shills ;abu datp-
-supplies of iWhich- occur around the-.coat-of
Jamaica and, to a lesser extent, inland.
Except for calcite which although chemically
identical to aragonite is characterized by perfect
rhombohedral cleavage, the latter may be
readily distinguished from all other locally
occurring white to creamish colour minerals
by its instant effervescent reaction with iiute
hydrochloric acid.
Otherpbylimcal *lopeaeraina udt C _e/a-
streaksA-it.e t-
yitreou tei.pearly;;ha;dess, 34-4: -
Arsenoirater(arsenical pyrites)t AsS ,
Reports ) of arsenopyrite.aheiron arseno-
sulphide formerly referred to as "arsenical
pyrites" occurring in association witlh.the
copper ores at Friendship mineand-elsewhere
in Upper Clarendon and .SL: Catherine remain
to be substantiated.
Asbestar(See-also Amphibole Group and Ser-
penti c)
,The tarem N'tsc i r-eferhie - i
eral tegirdless of its origin at;Ih: be
separated int flexible fibers: These
which occur-largely withincloselypacedvaeins
that develop in parWllel oc rss-ctoss-patterns
throughout host rocks, are commonly oiented
either perpendicular to (cross bers)o par-p el
with (Slip-fibers) the enclosing-wtlls.
Angite (See Pyrokene-_roup)-

Andrite #eeMalachiteY

. o- r i- .-
Baritel barum salpaite, oftenmreed4 o
barytes or "heavy spar' becatisOe'tits r
than average specific, gravity (SiG 4.O6)
for non metallicminerals, occurs mosiFq ienta
ly as white-coloured- tabular to platd-like
crystals within veins and seams' of,-aying

-.- -t -- ,': - : ,- "

Hornblende d6mplex and Newbid, aod'ie-twhicb4ia by,
S ilicte '-way bf ,an uipavedrroad from- Somer

Silicate HlsdeaidMullet l.

S,. .. .Ui h --:.- the M~W-


1. Along-bae main highway froinlinsaad :
toa-Guyslfill, betireenanilepostsr21 and
S22_. .
2. Along 'the track approximately one.
quarter,.mle south of Jisbib .cooes -
to :bil Is-lby-wayof- an unip d .r4ad- ..
from eno-V il gp .. ,

b flalri- F
M ary, re mainl b
-Batle (see -Pyroxene Grtp)
The term -'bamdte" refee tto-a n te- f '.

-m.Iroowryt Tlerala .-- ls1 -
AI b -, boed
didappte l4atu :

Charaterirej locallyty its :darc'az4 to
hrddip. or yellow browncalour (djpening
on the relate counts of himatite a.aose- .
thitea earthy fdrm -and porous, non la,.a- '
Mature (in-the : idisturbed state), itlf. -i -
the world's principal ore- of alumijthnAs-
the islands- most important indzistata .-Tw
material' mined fo export; the bulk o6*Wchlis;
-obtained- m i-koi surface -t t -b~ViE-- -" "-
Satnesdte:irt. Ann1 St.
aOrd Clireitlon.

Other lpysieal .p o iert udase .U$^ ;
-ontai tusre. dull; a3r0 iMdBai'isft ,4 t" fi'5
Biotite (See Mica Group):
Borite (Peacock ore), CusFeS4 -
Bornite, copper iron sulh ide_-Qia ;-,"
referred to as "peaoo k. re],is. tis e .f :. -.': -
world's leading-sources oFtoppher. Ch irfa.. -
ed byaits metli lustre, caper, red ta-. e ..:
brown color, which- reaiy, i

and-chalcocite boeinio
ithi. veina and lienesr at ir tmeroUs
threuio' easte't Wpo r al- --
HuSghes 6.
Other distinctive physical properties- ilnlud&,'
crystals, rare; cleavage, absent; .flt ,. ,-
uneven, steak. greyish black; hait7s-p'.
3; spevi=-whty, approx 5.

TheaClelte Group ?-.

-gup.characd I- -
woj .*,nt of cbona t;,r,-.,,,s,, ,

d db'jtso.tfL blg.seho -fliost ,' -v- .'.
.wlhiid.'v utaeldinineral i :n I
(F te, odly-other i er?'
readilictdenfflaed withouteltieq'f. l : "'
tests occteufars ag absent. t
fawe-colourede avits 1. Ortm _-t-s. A

.;by ipaiprte. ay- -
p rhotlbio sipeds o rystl' ',.
by- be -g t r .._ m t: t d -.i.
reh.- loubi -- rys s 1102d.
,___. Imu ,: .,.

';" ~"~
: ..

sj6ta~nmatolq~itcix~er heretoe

S ?ltIrf5CrQ Z5DItJ
;Cet r1 fIhW



The -tebm cjay" referss hert to a6 r3ativoiy
IP i MW ~~lef~ld micro.
7 3 is-T -06 d hyd- diiroe
disistnfl%1qd- mIgmbe_ of -which arEAOl
ftrvibft- !pahdif~ii~ te.-9 Wbii dA
:dual' apeicisc1a- tbdiibeniatb1
tdaPi~Ei~ti~aite instrumeniawclle
lively tfigey at'cbaracterized by r biiy
to -bloiopiiiaylcrh we mixed with water,

op b i'geographiApjokpir
it a umt nd,;0jitY-_PWIN
:'119. '3n I y~ white, -l
71git~s grey to "4b y
~~Lb~Otv~ jb rkddisb bpjW4
W. Vo mottled coint 1phs:Orioq.,

Other 1)b3sicaI properties includip:' ;
-dull-or ertby, hprdness varies from I (earaftW '
-aggrigites) to 3(cbmpact masses).
%4Ciawr. CoAi5;, Rnd Smoilifte Cb

At~ oalrt. rtcdbars
go *. t. an

*; '' *iIVr-
4xpeCu *-n,-' i~ '

the vast majority of which were derived from
post-depositional alteration of limestones-a
phenomenon universally referred to as dolo-
mitizaiion. Rhombic-shaped crystals andcry-
stalline aggregates have also been noted within
sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, but
these mineral occurrences are usually too fine.
grained to be distinguished with certainty from
calcite without the aid of chemical tests or
optical microscopy.
Although identical tocalcite in many respects,
dolomite can usually be distinguished from the
former by its buff to pinkish brown colour (due
largely to iron substituting for magnesium),
weak effervescent reaction with cold dilute
hydrochloric acid and slightly greater hardness
(4.0). Other physical properties include: clea-
vage, rhombohedral, that is perfect in three
directions not at right angles to each other;
fracture, uneven; streak, white; ustre.vitreous
or pearly (crystal faces) to .dull (fine-grained
granular varieties); diaphanity, translucent to
opaque; specific gravity, 2.8-2.9; luminescence,
fluoresces creamy white when exposed to
short-wave ultraviolet light.
Its presence within the island was first
recognized by the late Dr. C.T. Trenchmann, "
who discovered a narrow band 4-5 inches
(10.2-12.5 cm) wide at the northern end of
Green Bay in a cliff section below the now
demolished "Lazaretto building" in the Port
Henderson hills, St. Catherine. Several years
thereafter the late Dr. L.J. Cubb acting on
an enquiry from Canadian Refractories Ltd.
of Toronto regarding the possible large scale
occurence of dolomite in Jamaica re-examined
the area and together with field investigations
carried out elsewhere by Mr. H. R. Versey,
found extensive reserves of commercial grade.
Epidote: (Pistacite), complex silicate.
Epidote, hydrous calcium iron aluminium
silicate sometimes referred to as "pistacite"
because of its pistachio-green to yellowish or
blackish green colour, is an exceptionally-
common ind widespread mineral occurring
chiefly within nonalimestone areas in one or
more of the following forms:
I. Needle-shaped crystals up to 1 cm in
length (either singly or in radiating
groups) and equigranular aggregates
within cavities, along fracture planes,
and replacing pre-existing minerals,
such as feldspar.
2. Angular to rounded fragments within
beach sands, alluvial deposits and
sedbieotiafrobcks, such as sandstones,
conglomerates and breccias.

Epidote is easily recognized by itsecular
green colour, gref-to white streak, and high
hardness (between 6 and 7). Other physical
properties include: crystals, often elongated
and terminated at one end by sloping faces;
cleavage, perfect in one direction, good in
another; fracture, uneven; lustre, vitreous:
dtaphanity, transparent to translucent; specific
gravity. 3-3.5 depending on iron content.
Whilst countless specimens exist in road cuts
and river bohiders particularly in eastern
parishes, the most concentrated and impressive
occurrence of epidote known to the author-
occurs in the bed of Rock River downstream
from Connors, St. Catherine and southwest-
wards towards Gold Mine, Clarendon. Other
notable occurrences within this area are along
the main road from Ginger Ridge, St. Catherine
to Simons, Clarendon, and the partly motor-
able road from Stamford Hill (west of Bellas
Gate) to Gold Mine.
rythrlte: (Cobalt bloom)
Erythrite, hydrated cobalt arsenate other-
wise-known as "cobalt bloom", is a peach-red
to crimson coloured secondary mineral formed
by the alteration of pre-existing cobalt arseno-
sulphides. It occurs chiefly in the. form of
earthy coatings and radiating aggregates or
clusters of needle-like crytals up to 3mm in
length within cavities and along fracture planes.
Although its occurrence was first noted by
Sawkins t4 during the mid-nineteenth century
near the mouth of Phillips Gully on the north-

side of Barbecue Valley, St. Andrew (G.R.E
6685N3980, SheetL), it is so uncommon, that
only one other showing has since been reported
and this was discovered a century later, in
1957, by Messrs Chapman, Wood and Griswold
whilst conducting an investigation for copper
and iron in the Glade Orchard area, Stsdndrew.
Despite its rarity, showpiece specimens' can
still be found in the Barbecue area, where the-
Hon. Alexander Fyfe made an unsuccessful
attempt to mine cobalt. Access to the BaTbedue
occurrence is by way of an unpaved road from
Bull Bay to Bloxburgh and thence by bridle
track; whilst the most accessible site in the
vicinity of Glade Orchard is an old spoil
heap located approximately 100 metres (330ft.)
southwest(G.R. E6661N4075, Sheet L) of the
entrance to the Mavis Bank Central Coffee
Factory, St. Andrew.
Erythrite is readily distinguished from .all
known minerals within the island by its colour.
Other physical properties include: cleavage,
crystalline varieties perfect in one direction;
streak, pale pink; lustre, dull to adamantine
(on cleavage faces); harhdess, I---2);

Whilst erythriteisecopomlcally unimportant,
its association with other metallic ores makes
it a useful prospecting "tool".
The Feldspa Group: (Orthoclase; Plagioclase)
aluminium silicates of
potassium, sodium and

The term "feldspar"-meaning fieldd crystal'.
-refers to a relatively complex group of nob-
metallic minerals which are usually subdivided
according to their chemical composition into
the potash and soda-lime feldspars. The former
consists of several members of which only
orthoclase is readily recognizable; whereas
the latter consists of 6 intimately related
species collectively referred to as either plaglo-
clase or the plagioclase series. Together the
feldspars constitute the most important mineral
-group in the world-their significance being
twfolbd:-firstly; they contribute more than any
other to-the formation of soil and secondly,
because of their ubiquity and chemical varia-
bilty they have long been used as a basis for
classifying igneous rocks.
The feldspars, which occur predominantly
in the form of both irregular and tabular
shaped crystals and, less commonly, as vein
material primarily within igneous and meta-
morphic rocks, are characterized by their
high-hardness (H-6), good two-way cleavage
and. white to pink or greenish grey color.
Other distinctive physical properties common to
both include: streak; white; lustre, vitreous-.
but- often pearly on cleavage planes; fractrlue,
uneven; specificgravityiaries from approxima-
tely 2.5 to 2.7.
Although remarkably similar to plagioclise
in practically every respect, orthoclase can
usually be distinguished by its lack of multiple
twinning which manifests itself as slender
closely-spaced lines called striationss" and
whose presence is diagnostic of the former.

Whilst countless specimens can be obtained
from road cuts and river pebbles, particulay
in eastern and central-Jamaica, some of TY
best and most accessible collecting sites
known to the author include:

(i) the bed of Rio Pedro at and upstream
from the Zion Hill bridge (G.R.E5860
N4412SheetL) St. Andrew, where irre-
gularly-shaped crystals of both ortho-
clase and plagioclase occur abundantly
in granodiorite, an igneous rock. Is

(ii) Aloglhe. bed of Rock River (G.l E
4913N4238,SheetO),inmmndiately oth
west of; Connors, -St..Catheuinetwhe
tabular rshapew-jetals (up kQ71
in length) to circular or veinlikminas&
of priagolase occur conspicuouly
within basaltic andesite-another ign-
ous rock. 16
Flint: (See Quartz Group)
Galena: (Lead Glance), PbS; and Sphalteete
(Zinc Blende),ZaS

Galena, lead sulphide, and sphalerite, zinc
sulphide, the world's principal source minerals
of lead and zinc, respectively occur together in
the region of the long dormant Hope mine "1
Iqj approximately half a mile east of
Sthesouthern 'flank of Constitution
iR iL644403)in theParish of St. Andrew,
aces-to which is by way of an unpaved-road.
Except for minor shows elsewhere i their
occurrence is essentially confined to the above
locality, from which the best specimen are
obtainable in old adits and neighboring
Both galena and sphalerte vary in size from
finely disseminated particles to isolated crystals
or cleavable crystal aggregates up to 2 -c in
diameter irregularly distributed along fractures
and throughout the groundmass of the host
rock. Galena, the more conspicuous, is easily
recognized by its lead-grey colour, metallic
lustre, and perfect cubic cleavage; whereas
sphalerite has a yellow to yellowish brown or
brown colour, resinous to adamantine lustre,
and perfect 6,way cleavage. Other.physical
properties include: streak, lead-grey (galna),
to pale yellow brown sphaleritee); haridess,
21 (galena), to 3}-4 sphaleritee); specific
gravity, 7.6 (galena, third heaviest macroscopic
mineral within the island behind.native copper
8.9, and native silver 10-11), to 3.9-4.1
Garnet: complex silicate
Although the term "gatnet" strictly speaking,
refers to a relatively complex butvelldefned
group of non-metallic .minerals- characterized
theirmultifaceted crystalfrm,lack of cleavage,
extreme hardness (H-4 --7) and pred-
dominantly red to reddish brown colour, they are
generally considered as a single mineral since
the various species comprising the group are
often impossible to distinguish without the
aid of elaborate instrumentation.
Its presence within the island appears to
have first been recorded by G0 M. Stcakley ii
1925 ", who detected microscopic sized
crystals m dark green horafelsic rocks reported-
ly exposed in the Manning Hill area. The
The only other references known to the author
regarding the existence of garnet 'in situ' are
those of Matley and Higham r Robinson et
al 21, and Kemp 22.

Whilst garnet is not known to occur in
crystals large enough to be considered as
gems, it is interesting to note that -the largest
(up to 5mm in diameter)-and most attractive
specimens likely to be encountered occur in.
metamorphic rocks called-wi pronounced
"nices") whichhwere brou hto:itne, island as
ballast in4silia.shipsand edwoverboardt
prior to departit-(P u1imad_-
the late Mr. Clinton ioof Fanmotlt-

Garnierite, an hydrated nickle-bearing magn-
slum silicate, characterized by its apple green
colour, earthy form and association with either
ultrabasic igneous rocks or their metaporphic
equivalents, wasfirst reported within the island
by A. E Outerbddge "in 1909, who listed
it as one of eight (8) 'a- ies identified
by the Curator of y of Natural
Sciences from samples- 6Fer ore submitted
to him from mines that wein then in operation
on the property of the Jamaica Consolidated
Copper Company in Clarendon.
Whilst the author has so far been unable.to
ascertain if the duplicate specimens presented
to both the Academy and th Franklin ati-
rute are still in. existencedad availabls-Ao..
examination, the probably f ginri.
occurring outodeo of sipettintth o
nickeliferous .rock body *aOd,
within Jamaioa--is d r
any refernce to a e
be received with cauntio0-"a con
modern: mineralogical esaho. .
Geothlte (limohiite), HFeOa
Goethite, hydrated iron oxide varying in-
colour from dauk.-brown or blacIedg(-taine
varieties) to y lvpw or addbiir l .
vret is charastierrnd*,b its s i


_ i
c; =--;

K.r- I-

Streak. Formed either by the alteration of pre-
existig iron bearing minerals such as mag-
netite and pyrite or deposited from brackish
waters, goethite occurs in a variety of ways
throughout the island, the most common and
widespread of which are as follows:

1. as one of the major constituents of
bauxite and bauxitic clays,, extensive
deposits of which occur throughout the
hilly regions of Clarendon, St Ann,
St. Elizabeth, Manchester and Tre-
lawny; and as microscopic sized parti-
cles within a variety of rocks.

2. as fine granular material within veins
and stringers, and as the chief compo-
nent of "limonite" which is a fine
grained earthy mixture of hydrated
iron oxides.
3. asoval or circular to irregularly-shaped
pellets (locally referred to as "shot
iron ore"), and as concretions
with internal concentric banding, ex-
cellent specimens ofwhich occur in the
sandy and clayey soil on either side
of the main road south of Revere's
Maggoty Works in the parish of St.

4. as pseudomorphs (replacements) after

.Other physical properties include: cleavage,
rare; lustre, metallic to dull; hardness, 5--5
.(crystalline varieties)
G; old: (Au)

With regard to reports 24, 2 concerning the
recovery of gold during the 16th century by
Sthe early Spanish settlers, and the rejection of
these reports during the mid 19th century by
the parties conducting the labours of two
copper mines in upper Clarendon where,
according to Sawkins, the gold was regarded
as worthless pyrite and discarded down a
nearby gully; the author has neither seen nor
heard of any specimens being detected within
recent times which did not require the use of
sophisticated techniques for positive identifi-
cation due to the microscopic nature of the

Although identical to pyrite in several
respects, the reader should bear in mind that
native gold is extremely soft (H-21) and
: easily cut with a knife, whereas pyrite
; : extireiely is. hard (H--6-6i) and cannot be
S .: k.: d with a knife. Other physical proper-
S' : .areaiiblIows: tenacity, gold (very malleable),
is- ritLie); fracture, gold (hackly), pyrite
(-uneve~ n o ochoidal); streak, gold (yellowish
Sgold),pyri (greenish black).

Gypsum: (Alabaster, selemte, satin spar),
CaSO4.2H 20
Gyum, bydrated calcium sulphate, formed
:l y bte evaporation of sea water under
ard fg_ semi-arid conditions, is the island's
'secone-most important industrial raw material
mined for export, the bulk of which is quarried
north of Bull Bay, St Andrew.

Characterized by its extreme softness (H-2),
perfect three (3) way cleavmge and non-effer-
Svescent reaction with cold dilute hydrochloric
acid, gypsum occurs in a variety of colours
and forms the most distinctive of which are as

Rock gypsum: white to shades of pink, red,
brown, grey and black, compact,
Sgranular sedimentary deposits;
found extensively in beds up to
200ft thick 27interstratifiedwith
limestone, shales and conglome-
rates in the Brooks and Bito
quarries of eastern St. Andrew;
often containing coarse, well
developed crystals called "por-
"Alabaster" white to yellowish brown, often
mottled, easily carved, fine-
grained variety of rock gypsum,
locally used in the manufacture

of household items such as ash-
trays, book ends, candlestick
holders, lampstands, paper-
weights, pen holders and vases.
Selenite: colourless, transparent, tabular-
shaped crstals with a vitreous
to pearly lustre; often in stellate-
shaped, flowerlikee" or radiat-
ing clusters; crystals also in the
form of "arrowhead" or "fish-
tail" twins, common in clays,
siltstones and shales.
Satin spar: fibrous material with a silky
lustre, the best specimenss of
which occur in the form of seins
and lenses in association with an
assortment of selenite crystals
along the old coast road (G.R.
E6775N.3665, Sheet L), west of
Grant's Pen St. Thomas.
"Pseadomorphs" (See Halite)

Other physical properties include: streak,
white;fracture, conchoidal or splintery, uneven
in massive varieties; specfc gravity, approx. 2.3

Halite: ("Salt"), NaCI

Halite, sodium chloride, generally referred to
as "salt", is characterized by its distinctive
taste, perfect cubic cleavage and extreme
solubility. Formed by the evaporation of
saline water, halite occurs most commonly
around the coast of Jamaica as white coloured,
crystalline encrustations or surface efflores-
cences, which tend to be quickly removed by

Whilst little information is available regard-
ing reported 28, occurrences of small inland
deposits of salt, the presence of halite pseudo-
morphs (replacements) in south eastern St.
Andrew is concrete evidence of its existence
during former times. First discovered by
Matley in 1924 2, these hopper-shaped cubes
were later reported by Chubb 1, to consist
"largely of calcite impregnated by brown clay,
which in every specimen examined formed at
least the outer trust, but all contained sulphate
minerals in their interior. In many cases these
consist of small patches or nodules of fibrous
anhydrite, others contain a core of gypsum,......
very few exceptionally heavy specimens were
found to consist of fibrous barite........."

Although the most accessible collecting
locality is along the main coast road east of
Eleven Miles, St. Thomas-at the 14 m.p.
the largest (up to 7.5 cms.) and most spectacu-
lar specimens known to the author were
discovered by officers of the Mines and Geology
Division whilst carrying out a reconnaissance
survey during the summer of 1974, on the
southern side of the quarry at Cambridge Hill
St. Thomas (G.R E.6812N.3755, Sheet L).

Hematite: (specularite), Fe20

Hematite, iron oxide, is the world's leading
source mineral for iron. Characterized by its
steel gray (crystalline varieties) to reddish
brown (earthy varieties) colour, and red to
reddish brown Streak, hematite occurs at nu-
merous localities throughout the island in a
variety of forms the most common and wide-
spread of which are as follows:

1. as massive granular vein maternal often
intermixed with magnetite, accessible
deposits of which occur approxi-
mately 200 metres southwest (G.R.E.
6661 N.4075, SheetL) of the junction
of the main road over Fall River
bridge and the entrance to the Mavis
Bank Central Coffee factory, St. An-
drew and roughly 1500 metres north
(G.R.E.5911N.4294,SheetL) of the
cross at Rock Hall, St. Andrew. 32

2. as mirror-like flakes or scales called
specularite (specular hematite) occur-
ring either singly or in aggregates as
well as in veins and stringers particu-
larly in the parishes of St. Andrew,
St. Thomas and Portland.

3. as smooth, rounded to subrounded,
often concentrically banded pellets

up to 2 cms. or more in diameter
occurring either singly or in aggregates
within the residual clays of interior
"valleys" such as theEwarton-Linstead.
Bog Walk basin St. Catherine (District
of St. Thomas in Ye Vale) and the
Queen of Spain's Valley, Trelawny.
4. as finely disseminated particles and
vein-like masses randomly distributed
throughout host rocks.

5. as microscopic sized particles within
bauxite, and clay.

Other distinctive physical properties include
cleavage, none; fracture. (uneven); lustre
varies from metallic or submetallic (crystalline,
varieties ) to dull (earth) varieties); hardness,
ranges from 5--6 (compact crystalline varieties)
to I (earthy varieties)

Hornblende: (See Amphibole Group)

Jasper: (See Quartz Group)
"Limonite": (See Goethite)

Magnetite: Fe3O4
Magnetite, iron oxide, is one of the world's
leading source minerals for iron Characterized
by its iron-black colour, and streak, strong
magnetic character and high hardness (H-6),
magnetite occurs at nurberous localities throu-
ghout the island in a variety of forms the most
common and widespread of which are as

1. as massive granular vein material often
intermixed with hematite, accessible
deposits of which occur approximately
200 metres southwest (G.R.E.6661
N.4075, Sheet L) of the junction of the
main road over Fall River bridge
and the entrance to the Mavis Bank
Central Coffee factory, St. Andrew; 33
and roughly 1500 metres north G.R.E.
5911N.4294,Sheet L) ofthe cross, roads
at Rock Hall, St. Andrew 4

2. as small octahedral-shaped crystals
within igneous and sedimentary rocks,
such as -granodiorite and sandstone,
3. as the main constituent of "Black
sand"extensivedeposits of which occur
along the south coast east of Alligator
Pond, Manchester.
Other distinctive physical properties include:
cleavage, none; lustre, metallic; specific gravity
5.2 (approximate)
Malachite: (CuCOt.Cu(OH)2) and Azurite
(2CuCO .Cu(OH)2)
Malachite and azurite, hydrated carbonates
of copper of which the former is the most
common and widespread secondary copper
bearing mineral within the island, occur
together at numerous locations throughout
the parishes of Portland, St. Andrew, St.
Thomas, St. Mar, St. Catherine and Upper

Malachite seldom develops as sharply defined
crystals, but rather in flakes, shapeless crusts
or clusters of radiating fibres and is easily
identified by its emerald-green to grass-green
bolour together with its reaction with dilute
hydrochloric acid which produces instant
effervescence; whereas azurite occurs mainly as
earthy coatings and short radiating crystals
and is distinguished from all other minerals
by its light blue (earth) forms) to dark blue
(crystalline forms) colour and slight efferves-
cence in dilute acid. They are found most
typically within cavities, fractures and veins
and as thin veneers over certain pre-existing
minerals. No occurrence ofornamental orgem
quality material has yet been reported.
Other physical properties include: cleavage,
distinct in one direction (malachite) to two
directions (azurite); streak, light green (mala-
chile) to light blue (azurite); lustre, crystals
vitreous, earthy forms dull (both minerals);
hardness, 3j-4 (both minerals); specific gravity
3.6-4.0 (both minerals).

Mauppllte: MnO.QH

Ma .a iitW anrrbhtd&
charao=bErcd 'by.itw'.s
FdInmn: VPAiMdtrh HVirn~


~ l~~t~ida -~: -4AI

sence hasa!
bauxite de4

... . -. _. .. ..
-j ^ rr"

moe. dGthp:

oor~Vfi- ii

vifiety eriei

c~oti is
.cordift .!'

Aiy- oa

wsr miloa-

Stoney, N

tually hiWp
of g midroi
(up to aimn
to, _gteiis

k4 +A -.4

F2Z. ~ ~ON


yo-. *


Y .


Ift' -ily 0":~z


/--"' -
. .,,.. - *;-_:

of which were first discovered
Sin May 1955 near Hodjps,
St. Elizabeth, by officers 'of
the Geological Survey Depart-

SColourless, transparent, hexa-
gbjally-shaped crystals up to
two (2) cns in length, one
end of which is terminated
by pyramid-like faces, re-
sembling a pencil stub sharp-
ened at one end; found spar-
ingly aseavity infillings within
some of the older rocks of
eastern and central Jamaica;
and also as wellformed crys-
tals within surficial deposits,
small speaoions of whibh ;jn
Q,W.1. Geolojy Dept. cl,-
Slcti.on at Modai are believed
to have been -collected near
Sandy Grolnd, St Elizabth.

-W iNte- opaque massive
i~ ps, fond mqst

Smeastse ve
t iataea sible a
cafe, oft whlih is posed
just below the dam on the
Est arm of Moraht River, St..
north of Serge Islaid Estte.

yellowish to reddish browpn

te, ~ : t

ant ane

quality material of.which op-.
cues in the form of pebbles and
boulders in both Rio NuMMo'
and.Tiber River at thbeup-
strean from their. ijuwction
- at Pembreoot allt t Mary;
aladsfound as cavity infillings-
within the volcanic rocks at
Nutfield, St Mary.

evenly banded calcedony alter-
nating in colour from white
to dark grey-or brown; of
rare occurrence.

wood that has beeo converted
to "stone" as a'result of-tbl
tissue gradually -:eiig replac-
ed by silica; other self _ex-
planatory terms sed- dw.
cribe the pheiomeopn- of
replacement are "petified'",
"agatized", "opalized" 'ja
peized"; rarely encountqred
'in situ', but rather a bould.t
ers within rivers and. streas
having their hbgd.ate
areqs, such. a& S. t_:_
Kellits ( ren-:
Hill and Guys H S -
rine).. -" ,
the term Ichert'lh tTr
Sasit was fo i .
epniy arpi -
codpny w b 4
aplptnr ka i"


* ;~~"LL7 7 nCJ AU LW
ri~te. -


- -

*1 *.

an grey.


ica Gioup) -

' amm ntinm" -w-Fi



. r-~-.-

,anq to lo.y--y. ty.formed by tointro .
V. V !P into green s p inp. -:j

Sidedre:-(Se. GaloitQr -..

Smallfte: .(5ee Cobaltite) ,

Soapstone: (See Talc).

-Speu lariti(S e ii t) -.-

Sp 8
.... .......;.q +,. :. -' t .:. .- . o_--.:. : ., '-T


-sli ed wood:

t I

respects, stilpnomelane occurs essentially in
the form of brittle flakes or scales several of
which may be slightly curved 'or bent; whereas
biotite occurs as flat, flexible plates or platy

Tale: (Soapstone)
Talc, hydrous magnesium silicate, is a
greenish-grey to white coloured secondary
mineral formed by the alteration of pre-
exitsing magnesium silicates. Although minor
shows have been reported from the parishes
of Portland and St. Catherine, talc (in associa-
tion with asbestos) is otherwise restricted to a
a narrow belt of metamorphic rocks on the
southern flanks of the Blue Mountain range,
northwest of Serge Island. dtatdein the parish of
St. Thomas. Within.this ielt the st colliet-
ing localities of which Is'in the Mori ns
River and its adjoiinng tributazse bet4 n
Newield and Shirley aisle Tal~ c occurs
most commonly either as the chief mineral.
component of soft, massive rocks known
as soapstone (steatite), and of s6ft, foliated,
rocks known as talc schists or as massive com-
pact aggregates in veins and seams.
It is readily distinguished from all known
minerals within. -the island by its extreme
softness (Hardnpessl) and soapy feel. Other!
physical'properties include: cleavage, perfect,
micacous; stre whit* bistre,.. pearW
greasy or dull; tenacity, flexible, but.notelasf.t

Tomrmaline: complex silicate.
Tourmaline, a complex boron aluminium
silicate, characterized by its brownish black,
colour and extreme hardeless (H=7-71) occur
chiefly in the form of radiating aggregates
or clusters of small needle-like crystals,
many of which are striated along their length.
Its presence within the island was Arst
recognized by the late Dr. C.A. Matley-2,
who discovered tourmalinebobating pebbles,
the source of which still remains' unknown,
amongst the gravel deposits of Hayes in
Although only two 'in situ' occurrences
", have since been reported, a third was
encountered during June 1973, in a gully
northwest of Connors, St. Catherine by the'
author and Mr. *pthony Lee Chin', a geolo-

gist attached to the Mines and Geology
Division of the Ministry of Mining and
Natural Resources, Whilst carrying out a re-
,examintaion of the region. At this locality
(QR.EA904N4248, Sheet-G), the cystal. oc-
cur on ~ fi iurf ae of an butcropof basaltic
andesit~-4~ igneous rock-n radiating groups
up to -I om in diameter.
Other physical properties include: cleavage,
poor; streak, white; lustre, vitreous.

Travertine and Tufa: (See Calcite Group)

"Wad": (See Pyrolusite)

Te-.zelites ar- a. well' efiied-group of
hydpous alimni ri-silicates which ase ex-
tremely similar in the chemical composition
and. mode of occurrence yet markedly dl'fe-
rent in their crystal structure. They occur-
most typically as radiating aggregates or.
clusters of slender, nkedle-like crystals within
cavities, veins, fractures and .other openings
particularly in dark coloured volcanic. ocks.-
lColetivtCo ciy ;th elites ute
andrt their
S s t leat
tio.-; ed i, colouliess .to. white un i stained
by imnpuritisg; tret,- whit; ust 'vitreous ,
sometimes pearly on fresh cleavage to: dull
on weatheed- surface; hardness, variable
ranging from 2-4.
Individually, however, the various species
comprising the group are often impossible
to identify without the aid of expensive
instrumentation. Consequently, little ;da-ta
exists-regarding their true identity. I
Although-zeolith :have- been rig4ted from.
several .ocaliies-fa ielrly in central and-
eastern Jamaica, theonly exposures. known to
the' author in any detai. and considered
worthwhile collecting sites, crop out in road
cuttings adjacent to and approximately one
mile- south of (G.R.E.4990N4261, Sheet G),
the Kentish postal agency (GiR.E.4987N4303,
SheetG) situated two and three quarter
miles west of Point Hill, St. Catherine. The
soft, white radiating clusters, which occur


largely in circular cavities up to em- in
diameter within an amygdaloida l basalt,
.represent a intimate association of thespectes
leonhaditre and lauh6ndile as identified by
the author using-an X-ray diffractometer.

Mineral identification, is best achieved by
adopting a systematic procedure and in this
regard the writer has followed the method of
earlier workers by arranging a set-of determina-
tive tables based primarily on three physical
1. Lustre
2. Streak
3. fazdness
Table I included' hose _. ral'eiwhh:.
.disphy either a metallic trbinFibetilliiLtstte;
whereas Table 2 includes those;uineraj~with a;
.non-metallid lustre. Each table is subdiided
iatstly according to whether -the. stiakt-
either- coloured or colourlessi to; wijte, and:--
-secondly into three sections according.to the
relative hardness, the latter of which is-as
Sections I Minerals with a .hrdqess less
than (<),23 (such minerals.can-
be scratched by a garnil,-
.and willmarkipape .)--
-2: Minerals with a .hardes. bet-
ween 2i--5fs(0.obh in-iisEl A
be scratched with a iftae,
but nor by a fingerna).
3: Minerals with a .nardns
than (-> 5 (suchi:t-1=rs
cannot be scratched by a khife
blade, but will scratch. glasi).

This. procedure willinvariably na.*P tb :'
choice g f -mineral sppies to two or Wiee and.'
alidenttflitionmay aow be matdeltW a
process -ofelninination, using the-rewiainibgn
physical properties listed such as, colour,
cleavage' and. crystal form.
If at this stage the reader still encounters
difficulty in carrying out positive identifica-
ion, reference should be made to the more
detailed mineral descriptions given in the
preceding section prior to making the final

: .,

"'*" --.

SFL o -

-:CT.' o

.- .. .'.. .

.- ::
", ; " 1.BLE 2 -

II il
.,, 4 o - ._ ..

.......... ', -,
.... .. -.

0l . ...:-.::. ..

.- ._: .. ..- ...

..... . .

RE 00E

. . . . . .

. . . . . . .r~i Illr b\ Im ur llr l

. . . . . .

..... .. .

I I Ta~

r- .~Ya,~,, II~II-IY -I _X_-I





-- 1







A. -x~

s .





-. ,

1. Draper, 0. and Horafield, W.T., 1973. Blie-
schist metamorphism in Jamaica. Trans 0
Congress Latino americano de Geologia, Caracas,
2. Annual Repl. Gel. Surv. Dept. Kmngston Jamaica
for the Financial Year 1953-54 pp. 8,20,21
3. Sawkins, J.G., 1869. Reports on the Geology of
Jamaica Mem. Geol. Surv. London. With contr-
butions from G P. Wall, Lucas Barren, Arthur
Lennon and C.B. Brown and an Appendix by
R. Ethendge. pp. 36, 160, 190.
4. See reference 3, p. 141.
5. Cooke, D.L, 1963. Bante Vems-Devils Race
Course Area, St. Catherine. Annual Rept Geol.
Surv. Dept. Kingston, Jamaica Appendix B,'
pp. 10-14.
tHughes, I. 1973. The Mineral Resources of
Jamaica. Geol Survey Dept., Kingston Jamaica
Bull., No. 8, pp. 20-28.
-' .'7. See reference 6, pp 20-28
.;.- ,:-See reference 3, p. 76
9. DeCansh, W, J974. Jamaica Clay" A Review.
Unpubl. Rept. Scientific Research Council,
Kingston, Jamaica. f.
10. See reference 3 pp. 36, 98, 99.

: Long, E. 1774. The History of Jamaica or General
"- rvey ao the Ancient oad Modern State of the
i-;-' -. Tsland LLondon.
: 12- Trechmano, CJ., 1945. The West Indies and the
M nts-'-- Min ain Uplift Problem.- B.T. Ord. Ltd., West
e lt- lepool Pt. 1, pp. 7-9.
.,13.'. 3- Chub, L.J. 11954. The Lazaretto Section Jamaica.
-. .- Col.Geol. Min. Res. Vot.4, No. 3-pp. 223-247.
S 14.i: -Sie references, pp. 98, 301

S .15. Reed, A. J.,.1966. The Geology of the Bog Walk
S Quadrangle, Jamaica. Geol. Surv. Dept. Kingston,
j- Ja ice.-Buill, No. 6.
16. Porter, A.R,D.; 1970. The Geology of the Ginger
d.. _- Granodiorite Stock and Associated Rocks,
: Si. Catheine, Jamaica. UnpubL MSc thesis,
- -. ::-JUni Weitldles, Kingston Jamaica.
It.'Il. -S*eferece 3 pp. 36, 107.
'- 4 Se-e rzemenrcpp. 123,125.
-- = ,' ,'" i 'In ,

19 Stockley, G.M. 1925 Final Report of the Govern-
ment Geological Department. Supplement to the
Jamaica Gazette, March 27, pp. 25-35.
20. Malley, C A., 1929 The Basal Complex of Jamaica
with Special Reference to the Kingson District
with Pettographical Notes by F. Higham.
Quan. Jour. Geol. Soc. Vol. 85.
21. Robinson, E Lewis, J.P., and Cant, R.V., 1970.
Field Guide to aspects of the Geology of Jamaica.
Ini. Field Inst. Guidebook to the Caribbean
Island-Arc System. Chapter 23, Amer. Geol. Inst.
Washington D.C.
22. Kemp, A.W., 1971. The Geology of the South-
Western Flank of the Blue Mountains, Jamaica.
Unpubl. Ph.D. Thesis Uni. West Indies, Kingston
Jamaica pp. 43-46 and 152-156.
23. Outerbridge, A.E., 1909. The Mineral wealth of
the Iland of Newfoundland and Jamaica. Jour.
Franklin Institute. pp. 457-469.
24. See reference 11, Vol. I p. 236 ad Vol. -np. 240.
25. See reference 6, p. 29
26. See reference 3, p. 189.
27. Holliday, D.W., 1970. Field Excursion to the
Brooks and Beito Gypsum Quarries, Eastern
St Andrew.
Jour. Geol. Soc. Jamaica. VoL XI, pp. 36-39
28. De La Beche, Sir. H. T,,1827. Remarks on the
Geology of Jamaica. Trans. Geol. Soc. Lo"dM.
2nd. Series Vol. II pp. 173, 179.
29. Mptley, C.A., 1924. Recent Geological Work on
-Jamaica. Rept. Brit. Assoc. Jodr. of Scientific
Trans. p. 37.
30. Annual Rept. Geol. Surv. Dept., Kingtson
Jamaica for the Pinaicial Year 1951-1952, p. 6.
31. ats, V.A., 1951. Economic Geology and Mieral
Resources of Jamaica Gel. Surv Dept., Kingsion
Jamaica Bull. No. I.
32. See reference 15, p. 44.
33. See reference 31
34. See reference 32.
35. See reference 3 pp 88-84
36. Strahl, .O., 1971. The Mineralogy o Jaiala
bauxiltes and Its effect on Bayer Process Techpology

Jour. Goal. Soc. Jamaica. Bauxlt/Alunjins

Jour. Geol. Soc. Jamaica. Baudile/Aluirina
Symposium, pp. 62-69.
See reference 20, p. 486.
Zans; V.A 1953. Preliminary Report on lonrare
Deposits at Glade-Orchard near Mavis JBlit,
St. Andrew.
Annual Rept. Geol. Surv. Dep Kingston Jamnap;a
Appendix B.p, 17.
See reference 3 p. 83.
Zans, V.A., 1952. Manganese Deposits of
Marshall Hall, Jamaica. Col. Geol. Min. Res.
Vol., 3 pp. 117-126.
See reference 40
See reference 19.
See reference 20.
Animal Report Geol; Surv. Dep[,. Kin- grton-.- ;
Jamaica fr- the Pilancial Year 1955-56, p. 5-
See idfbrence 3 pp. 25, 182.
See reference 28 p. 182.
See reference II Vol. I p. 236 and Vol.11 p.. '.
Annual Report Geol.- Surv. .ep.,.. Kint. i
Jamaica for the Financial Year 1966-67.
r P., 1756.. IT Civil and Natural Hi '
ot- J c Loncdonp. 57..
See reference 6, p. I
See- efbnce I
SeeWef~teia 20, pp. 462-463.
See realiesce 16, p. 46.
See reference 22, pp. 48, 152.

Anghony Porter was born In St.
AlndW. Jamaicatin 1942 and edubated
Ja sialoa College, He reqived Bs pzc..,
f~srinatr al nIR at the tjntv*P 'VO ,
il B;in7r .1aisd and AtN, U Wtr
dry bf the West indies. Currently -'m-
ployed a 'Staff Geologst at. Alo n;Ja-:
muaea :LliliFd5 Mt, Port er ii ab.ii tda.
thibtd eoineutitve termnn i PtestBGt 6t
the Geological Soaiety oi Jamaica.






Dr. Barry Wade is a lecturer in Zoology at the
University of the West Indies. A Jamaican,
Dr. Wade was born in Belize and educated at
Wolmer's Boys School, Kingston, and the
University of the West Indies. He has undertaken
two research fellowships in the USA, at Wood's
Hole, Mass. (1965-1967) and Tampa, Florida
Dr. Wade has published several papers relat-
ing to Jamaican ecological problems in interna-
tional Journals (See JAMAICA JOURNAL Vol.
6 No. 4). He has recently completed a three year
study of pollution in the Kingston Harbour,
the results of which will be published in 1976.

Ecology, a name derived from the
Greek oikos, is literally a biological
science concerned with the inter relation-
ship between organisms and their en-
vironment. For some considerable time
there was a tendency to view the science
of ecology as rather abstract, with little
relevance to everyday life. But in actual
fact it is closely related to economics,
which is a study of commodities and
the environment in which they operate.

Although economics is considered a
well established science, there has been
a tendency to regard ecology as an
incomplete science. This might well have
been due to the fact that so little was
known about the subject and that the
study of ecology cut across so many
scientific disciplines. In earlier years
ecological studies placed main emphasis
on the individual organism and its
environment. Later the concept evolved
of plants and animals as populations of
organisms interacting as communities.

The earth for all practical purposes is
a closed system receiving solar energy
from outer space and giving up nothing
in return. Hence, except for this energy,
the resources of the earth are finite and
caught up in an endless series of cycles
e.g. the water cycle and the phosphorous
cycle. As long as these cycles are main-
tained in balance they will perpetuate
themselves and the resources will be
renewable. This is the perfect ecosystem-
the total balance of the living and non-
living. It may be seen in operation in
systems such as oceans, lakes, deserts
and swamps. The theme is "balance",
and the key is recycling. Without these
all natural systems could face extinction.

McEachern and Towle (1972) 1 in para-
phrasing Kenneth Boulding, the well
known ecologist, have put their fingers
squarely on the problems of man's
ecosystem: "In this economy (ecology)
with which we are familiar, there is a

one way flow of the materials stream
from its initial extraction, to production
of goods, to their consumption, and
finally to their being discarded as junk.
This is a through-put system which has
as its emphasis consumption rather
than return. It is a self-destructive system,
far from that of a nature in which
resources trace a circular path from
input to output, and back again to input".

To a very real extent an island is a
closed natural system. Its input from
outside is minimal, its resources are
fixed, and materials are naturally re-
generated. This is the reason why remote
islands across the world's oceans have
been able to maintain their uniqueness
over thousands and even millions of
years. But this is hardly the case today.
As world transportation expands, closed
island systems are opening up. Generally
new and foreign materials are being
introduced into these systems, indigenous
resources are being displaced, and waste
generation is outstripping the environ-
ment's ability to cope with it effectively.
Hence the disruption of these naturally
balanced systems is threatening their
stability and islands are becoming threat-
ened species. (Towle 1971)2

Let us examine what this means in
terms of nautral resources.
The natural resources of an island may
be defined as: materials space, life, and
life-support systems. Though the first
two are obvious and need little elabora-
tion it should be noted that in an island
like Jamaica both of these resources are
severely limited. One could attempt to
relieve the material situation by importa-
tion but there is little that can be done
about the limitation of space.

The statement "No man is an island"
is a profound ecological truth. Inherent
in the design of nature is the interdepen-
dence of all living things. This means not
only those relationships which are of
obvious benefit to man, but those wnich
on the surface might appear even detri-
mental. Hence, the advertisement for a
well-known insecticide which states that
the only good bug is a dead bug, is an
affront to nature. If we bear in mind
that diversity is the key to stability and
that nature always tends to increasing
diversity we can readily appreciate the
folly of the "dead bug" philosophy and
condemn it for its destructiveness.

Diversity is an outstanding feature of

the Jamaican ecology. Few other islands
of comparable size can boast such a
variety of environments and such a
wealth of flora and fauna. This is a
natural endowment to be protected and
preserved and the quicker this is realized
the better.

There are functions and systems
necessary for the support of life which
are unfortunately too often taken for
granted. These life support systems are
the driving forces for the complex cycles
which keep nature in balance. One such
is organic production by photosynthesis;
another is self-purification or waste
assimilation, and to a very real extent
these may be quantified. Thus we may
speak of the waste assimilation capacity
of a particular environment as a fixed
resource. A problem arises from the
fact that we do not yet understand these
processes sufficiently to be able to come
up with consistently accurate results.
However this should not be allowed to
deter the vigorous pursuing of the
exercise as only by doing this will
there be improvements. These life sup-
port systems should be acknowledged for
their worth and not destroyed through
ignorance or neglect.
This realization is the basis for
ecological conservation and bears heavily
in considering the ecological imperatives
for Jamaica. The Jamaican position
might be examined in a number of
questions. The first is: Is Jamaica
really serious about concern for its
ecology or is it merely taking a quick
ride on the environmental bandwaggon?
This is important because environmental
conservation can bring little returns in
the short term. It is a long term business
and further there will be no instant or
ready made answers to the environmental
problems of the island. Investment in
ecology today may not pay off for one
or two generations to come. If Jamaica
is really serious about its expressed
concern for ecological problems there
are a number of factors to be faced.

The first is a serious study of the
Island's ecology. Present knowledge is
on the whole quite limited and has been
gathered over the years in piecemeal
fashion. This has not served our purposes
very well and the need exists therefore
for commitment to studying the total
environment. This will require training,
employment and equipping of personnel
on a new scale. At present the output

of Jamaican ecologists is very modest
indeed and even so there are few suitable
jobs available to them in government
or the private sector. One therefore
hopes that the newly created Natural
Resources Conservation Authority of the
Ministry of Mining and Natural Re-
sources will serve as a catalyst for
future training and employment.

Meanwhile there are certain critical
ecological situations which demand im-
mediate attention. Wrong decisions made
in haste may not be redeemable for
years to come. One obvious area is in
connection with the development of
major industrial complexes. Others ex-
ist with respect to the island's swamp
lands, Negril and Black River being
outstanding cases; and there are the
north coast reefs, the Wag Water,
watershed, and our central limestone
forests. Since development of various
types are imminent in all these areas
baseline and environmental impact stud-
ies must be conducted as soon as possible
so that these resources will not be lost
forever. Is Jamaica willing to face up
to this?

An inescapable need in studying the
environment is for the designation of
nature reserves or conservation parks
in the different kinds of ecological
situations. Presently little is being.done
in this direction while many suitable
areas are coming under increasing stress
for real estate development.

If the need to understand the Jamaican
environment is the first ecological im-
perative then the need to manage it
properly must be the second considera-
tion. This management implies con-
servation for optimum development and
has to be conducted within a central
programme, in which environmental
policy is established declared and effec-
tively administered. As-far as is possible
the environment should be considered
in its entirety rather than in its consti-
tuent forms, and the dilution of authority
resulting from the spreading of manage-
ment among a number of agencies should
be avoided. This is the proper frame-
work for environmental management
and Jamaica must now decide whether or
not it is prepared to create it.

Two policy areas may be considered
as in need of urgent attention. The
first is the role that the natural environ-
ment can and will be allowed to play

in development. At present the Jamaican
economy is based on agriculture, industry
and tourism, and although all three
depend directly on environmental re-
sources for their continuance, no serious
look at their compatability has yet been
made. In such a situation the country
could well be pursuing a course in which
the three mainstays of the economy
could be coming into conflict. This may
not necessarily happen, but in the absence
of any clear analysis of the subject it
could be evolving without our knowledge.
Such an examination is long overdue and
until it is done this country could be
courting ecological disaster.

The second policy area is that of
resource allocation: Who is allowed to
use what, when or where. In respect of
some of the island's environmental
resources this needs urgent attention.
Some of the resources such as beaches,
fresh water and air are well known. Others
such as swamp lands and wildlife receive
less attention. But the problems they
pose are essentially the same and require
a thorough ecological application for
their solution. Unless a systematic and
disciplined approach is made to these
problems they will continue to get

In the final analysis the questions that
weigh most heavily on the country
are whether the island wishes to retain
its integrity as an island system, or
whether in seeking to satisfy material
aspirations it is prepared to lose its
identity and become as mere extention
of the mainland. This is as much a
matter of economics as it is of ecology.

(1) John McEachern & Edward L. Towle:
Management Programs For Oceanic Islands,
Transaction 37th North American Wildlife
& Natural Resources Conf. 1972.
(2) Edward L. Towle: Islands and endangered
species, 5th Annual Meeting of the Carib-
bean Conservation Assoc. 1971.

Kingston Harbour-the eastern end, from the Cement Company quarry, and beyond the harbour over to Cane River.

Calford Ivan Scott was horn at Morgans Pass
in Clarendon in 1943. HFe \wai educated at
iight of the Valley Primary School and LxcelioI
High School. He obtained a B.A. in 1967 and
M.A. in 1971 at McMaster University in Canada.
Mr. Scott has taught Geography at St. Jago
High School and at McMaster Univcrsity. Ile
was attached to the Ministry of Agriculture and
-:isheries as Administrative Ollicer from 1968-
1969, and is now Physical Planner with the Town
Planning Department.

The Physical Planner is concerned
with land and the practical use of this
resource in meeting basic national object-
ives related to economic growth and
social advancement.

Land is usually Regarded as a fixed
resource in quantitative terms. As such,
its use, and in some cases abuse, will
determine to a large extent the long term
viability of the national economy.
It is in this regard that the Physical
Planner is asked to apply his expertise
to the problem of determining the best
use to which this resource is put. It
should be stressed here that many of the
uses to which land is put are not easily
reversed. For example, it will be very
difficult to return to agriculture, land
which is put into industrial use.

The Physical Planner therefore ex-
amines the long term effect of alternative
land uses and proposes a programme of
development. Quarries and quarry ope-
rations fall within the extractive land use
category on the overall development
plan. Their importance to the planner
falls into two categories, viz.:

(i) the economic benefit which those
operations have on the nation as
a whole; and

(ii) the local area; physical and
economic impact because of the
limited distance over which quar-
ry material can be economically

It is the second category which bears
most strongly on the problem of conser-
vation and physical planning. Before
making an examination of these two
areas, it is necessary to distinguish
between quarries and other mining
operations for the sake of clarity.

A quarry as defined by the Quarries
Act ((1958) 1 means "any place (not
being a mine) in which persons work in
getting stone, sand, marl, gravel or clay,
and in which the total vertical height of
the working face exceeds six feet."

The paper now makes a closer exami-
nation of the two major facets mentioned.

A. National Economic Benefits of
Quarry materials, as distinct from those
of mining operations, form the basis of
the whole construction industry. Products
such as marl, crushed stones, sand and
and other aggregates are major compo-
nents in the erection of buildings and the
construction of roads and railways.
Unfortunately, the exact value of quarry-
ing cannot be determined as it is grouped
along with mining and refining in the
National Account.2

The blending of quarrying with mining
and refining although convenient, clouds
the true importance of quarrying, while
I/The Quarries Act (1958)-Law 41 or
1955 and II of 1958.
2/ Economic and Social Surrey, Jamaica,

at the same time highlighting the inter-
national products such as bauxite and
gypsum. To a large extent this has led to
a grave ignorance about quarries. The
end result is that these lands have for the
most part been constantly ravaged by
people seeking quick economic benefits
at the expense of conservation and
proper management. Photograph 1
shows the severe ecological and conserva-
tion impact that uncontrolled quarrying
can have on the landscape. It is only
since the past year that a determined
effort has been made to impose proper
management and conservation standards
on quarries. It is here that the local
area impact comes into its true pers-
pective. The reason for this is the
tremendous environmental and economic
impact which quarries have on local

B. Local Area Impact of Quarries
Some of the areas which are not
usually examined in analysing the econo-
mic benefits of quarries are;

(i) the significant direct and indirect
employment generated by quar-
ries; and

(ii) the resultant use of quarried areas
when proper planning guidance
is followed.

These points will be fully developed in
considering the planner's view below.

Having defined the realm of signifi-
cance within which quarries are to be
placed it is now possible to examine them
by focussing on the following topics:


the legal framework
the planner's view
the planning process
planning control and management
the Jamaican situation

The Legal Framework
The legal definition according to the
Quarries Act has already been made.
This will now be placed in perspective
against the Town and Country Planning
Act. According to the Quarries Act
prolonged scraping of materials at the
surface of the ground would not consti-
tute quarrying so long as there is no verti-
cal cut amounting to over six feet. This
is particularly relevant in areas having
wide extent of horizontally trending
deposits of aggregates. In addition the
extraction of river sand is particularly
subject to uncontrolled exploitation un-
der this Act. See for example photograph
2 showing quarrying of river deposits in
the Twickenham Park area.

The Town and Country Planning Act,
however defines development as any
"engineering, mining or other operations
in, on, or under land." In fact, quarry-
ing should be subject to both the Quarries
Act and the Town and Country Plann-
ing Act whereby:
(a) the licence to extract the mineral
would be obtained under the
Quarries Act; and
(b) the permission setting out con-
ditions for the development of
the quarry is obtained under the
Town and Country Planning Act.

This would assist in applying
the expertise of physical plan-
ning in the management of the

This is not to say that the problem of
poor management would be solved
because, in the first place, the planning
act would have to be promulgated for
another two-thirds of Jamaica which it
does not now cover, and secondly,
greater care would have to be taken to
ensure effective management of the Acts.

The Planner's View
The Physical Planner usually considers
quarrying operations an integral part
of the structure plan of local areas in
order to acheive the fundamental goals
and objectives of the plan.
Although there is some concern for
quarries at the National and Regional
levels, the planner cannot build it into
his plan at these levels. He can only
make reference to zones of exploitable
materials and make suggestions for
their zoning.At the local level the planner
carries out the following functions:
1. Assesses the need for quarry
materials within the area's econo-
2. Estimates the available amount of
these materials within economic
distances to proposed develop-
3. Assesses their value in the local
area economy and projects the-
employment potentials from quar-

trying in these areas;
4. Prepares a programme for pro-
ducing quarry materials for in-
dustrial use;
5. Assesses the impact of quarrying
on the environment especially as
they affect residential areas throu-
gh noise, dust, pollution, vibra-
tions from blasting and unsight-
6. Advises local authorities on the
need for and the means by which
quarry material may be effect-
ively managed to ensure their
maximum benefit and life-span;

7. Incorporates quarries into a com-
prehensive development plan in-
cluding the development of quar-
ried areas for settlement or
reclamation of these areas for
community non-residential uses;
8. Advises on rehabilitation.
In a recent exercise involving the
study of local area impact the two points
listed previously were examined, firstly,
the significant direct and indirect employ-
ment generated by quarries; and secondly
the resultant use of quarried areas when
proper planning guidance is followed.
On the first point, investigations show
that direct employment ranges from a
low of four (4) persons in small quarries
to twenty-four (24) in larger ones.
Temporary employment in the larger
schemes may amount to about ten (10)

while summer jobs for students sometimes
account for another ten (10).
The most significant employment is in
the trucking industry. In some large
quarries up to sixty (60) trucks employing
two (2) persons each may be engaged.
This makes a total of one hundred and
twenty (120) direct employment. Even
on a one to one ratio, the indirect em-
ployment would amount to one hundred
and forty-four (144) persons.

On the second point it is important
to realize that on some steep hillsides,
which would be otherwise useless, bench-
ing during quarrying operations may
result in the provision of extensive
housing areas. The beginning of such a
process may be seen at the Progressive
Quarries site at August Town. Figure 1
is a schematic representation of this
process. The site is shown in photo
graph 3.

Some quarry operators who have
more land than they need for quarrying
or who can phase their work, may fence
and run goats on the extra acreage
as a subsidiary venture. Photograph 4
shows goat rearing at the Progressive
Quarries works.

The Planning Process
The steps to be followed in preparing
a plan involving quarrying and settle-
ment are:
(a) A geological survey. This is a
very rare occurrence in physical
plan preparation throughout the
world. Needless to say this is
very primitive in Jamaica. It is
only in one case, that of Luana
that a detailed geological survey
was undertaken and this was as
a basis for supplying aggregate
and fill for the Luana Project.
It was not done for the settle-
ment planning but rather for the
industrial project.

(b) An economic analysis. This ana-
lysis would include the econo-
mic value of minerals, cost of
extraction and transportation
and the ultimate use in terms of
its contribution to the economy
as against alternative materials
and sources.

(c) Plan Preparation. At this stage
a distinct growth pattern is
made for the settlements. The
pattern should show direction
and timing in line with the rate
of extraction of the mineral. The
main sources of conflict that
the planner encounters are to be

(i) where the area is required for
(ii) where the quarry crosses the
line of a proposed routeway,
(iii) where it falls in an area of
natural beauty.

The end result of such a plan
should be detailed proposals for
the methods of conservation and
rehabilitation to ensure confor-
mity with the steps listed under
the functions carried out by the

Planning Control and Management
Both planners and conservationists
are joined together by the problem of
planning control and management of
quarry operations.

There is no doubt that quarrying and
the processing of quarry materials have
some of the most injurious effects both
on the natural and man-made environ-
ments. The man-made environment
suffers most where residential schemes
are affected by the emission of both
noise and dust and in some cases
where the visual amentity is destroyed.
This is the case at Port Henderson where
residential development and quarrying
are in discordant relationship, as repre-
sented schematically in figure 2. Photo-
graph 5 shows the area before the housing
development took place. A similar situa-
tion is likely to occur on the Ferry side of
Plantation Heights as depicted in Figure
3 and Photograph 6.

The natural environment suffers from
scarring of the terrain while the ecosystem
may be radically disturbed. (photograph
1). The methods used to soften the
impact of quarries on residential areas

(a) to restrict quarrying to strip
mining at or below the ground
level of residential development;

(b) restricting quarrying to the
downwind side of these areas;
(c) allowing a screen of trees to be
left undisturbed where possible
between the area being quarried
and the housing area. In the
case of Plantation Heights, a
screen of trees planted in the
valley between the quarry and
the. residential development
could soften the impact.

In all cases, provision should be made
for wetting whenever a dust nuisance
arises. On the question of the natural
environment, the planners have yet to
coordinate their efforts with the con-
servationists to work out an effective
programme of management. It is usually
after the damage has been done that the
latter are called in to assist.

Some planners tend to take a very
negative view of quarries because of
the problem of scarring. However, they
are in fact an integral part of the
economy. This is why it is so important
for planners to incorporate an assessment
of the value and employment potential,
both direct and indirect, of quarrying
and related activities. This is even more
vital when one considers the economics
of transporting quarry materials.

This point has always been made in
discussing the visual impact of the
Rockfort quarries. There is no doubt
that these quarries are environmentally
disturbing. However there disturbance
may be heightened by the presence of
the cement plant rather than by the pure
quarry operations themselves.

Planning studies usually adhere to a
maximum "source to construction site
distance" of twenty (20) miles, beyond
which the net addition to construction
cost makes it prohibitive to bring in
quarry materials. In Jamaica where the
terrain becomes mountainous over short
distances in a north to south direction,
the economic distance may even be reduc-

The value of the quarry materials in
the regional economy will normally
determine whether the planning authori-
ties should allow quarries to take prece-
dence over other land uses. Because the
construction industry is one of the largest
employers, and the demand for housing
a most pressing item, the unavailability
of these materials resulting from strict
planning controls may disrupt the econo-
my in such a way as to impose severe
demands on the political incumbents.

The planning authorities should pre-
pare a comprehensive plan with the
basic objectives of:

(a) protecting mineral deposits as a
buffer against future demand;

(b) controlling settlements from
spreading on to these deposits;

(c) planning the exploitation in
such a way as to guarantee the
most harmonious relationship
between these activities and the
natural environment.

Although these objectives are more
realistic in preparing urban plans, the
methodology used is similar for regional

In many cases, the location and type
of quarry operations do not present
any environmental problems. These cases
are shown schematically in figures 4 and
5. Figure 5 and photograph 7 show what
may represent the quarry at Hutton's
Mineral Heights. This quarry should
be investigated to show possible recrea-
tional use or an area for sanitary land-

The Jamaican Situation
The growth of the quarry industry in
Jamaica makes an interesting study.
It started with small hand working
involving mainly the gathering of sand
from river beds and marl of softer strata.
These developed into medium scale
operations centred on block factories.
The final step is seen where block
factories become elaborate operations
gathering raw materials from diverse
sources to make various type of blocks.

2: Quarrying river deposits, Twickenham Park
Dr. G. V. Hill.

Photo 3: Benching at August Town (Progressive

Quarry-August Town.

Photo 4: Subsidiary goat farming at August




Figure B: Visually displeasing-view of Port Hen- Port Hehderson 1973.
person (Portmore area).

Photo 5 Port Henderson Quarry 1976 showing benching operation.



Figure C: Visually displeasing-Ferry Area.



In addition vast quantities of materials
are now being used in major operations
such as road construction and land

In Jamaica today, the picture showing
the relationship between planning and
quarrying is very bleak.

Firstly, the planners have not applied
geological information to their plans nor
have they requested this information
except to preserve exportable ones like
bauxite. Secondly, quarry operators have
no regard for the visual, ecological and
community impact of their quarry opera-
tions. Thirdly, local authorities lack
knowledge of the relationship between
quarry operations and their functions.
Fourthly, the Quarry Law is weak and
does not make provision for proper
planning input into the development of
quarry operations.

One wonders what regard developers
and planning authorities in Jamaica have,
either for the natural environment or for
the inhabitants of housing developments
located within close proximity of quarries.
In areas such as Portmore, the upcoming
Plantation Heights, and St. Thomas
Road, there are examples of negative
development which should provide point-
ers to young planners, conservationists
and public administrators as to how not
to develop an area.

It is clear that quarries and quarry
operations have proven problematic for
planners and conservationists. For the
most part, the difficulty has arisen be-
cause the planners have not really
addressed themselves to quarries within
their development proposals. In addition,
there has been very little dialogue
between the planner and the conserva-
tionists. Finally, quarries have been
strongly political and, as such, both
planners and conservationists find that

the quarry has become a reality before
they can address themselves to the

This author makes the recommenda-
tions that:
1. Government should undertake to
establish the awareness that land
is a finite resource upon which
man has come to depend and
which, until recently, he has
taken for granted; and that the
increasing devastation which he
wreaks on his environment may
eventually lead to his destruc-

2. Government should sponsor a
programme of education on the
whole system of land ownership,
mineral deposits and their use
and abuse;

3. Immediate zoning be undertaken
by the Mines and Geology Divi-
sion in collaboration with the
Town Planning Division and the
local authorities in order to
guide future quarrying especially
around major settlements;

4. That geologists, conservationists
and physical planners work to-
gether in identifying areas which
quarrying has made into "critical
areas" and work towards the
establishment of proper land use
plans and procedures for the
proper development of these

5. That a study be made of existing
quarries close to urban areas
with a view to either phasing
them out or redirecting urban
growth to avoid land use con-

6. that specific guidelines should now
be set up to guide development
applications in line wtih standards

which are established for operat-
ing quarries. It is probably here
that the input of the conserva-
tionist becomes most vital and
should be actively encouraged.
With the establishment of the
Natural Resources Conserva-
tion Unit in the Ministry of
Mining and Natural Resources,
it is hoped that this recommenda-
tion will become a reality.

7. The Quarries Act be reviewed
against the Planning Acts to
make them mutually supporting
and to achieve the objectives of

8. The Quarries Act be revised to
bring it in line with modern
concepts of planning and deve-

It is no use attempting to achieve the
objective of safeguarding land against
wrongful, wasteful or premature use or
development unless all the recommenda-
tions are judiciously adhered to. In the
final analysis the whole society will
stand to gain.

1. "Land Use Control in the Surface
Extraction of Miruhls" Ameriican Sociely of
Planning Officials; Information Report
No. 153, Chicago 37, 111. December., 1961.

2. "A Study oJ the Aggregate Resources oj
the Luana Region" D. Noll, N. McFarlane,
D. Rose, R. Wright and V. G. Hill; Ministry
of Mining and Natural Resources.

3. Lewis Keeble, Principles of Town and
Country Planning,; The Estates Gazette, Ltd.,
London, 1959.

Minerals & Plate

ics in Jamaica

Dr. Edward Robinson was born in Great
Britain, schooled in India and Britain, and
received his professional education at Birming-
ham University. He came to Jamaica in 1956,
and was attached to the Department of Geology.
Dr. Robinson joined U.W.I. in 1961 when the
Department of Geology was formed, and is now
Professor of Geology at U.W.I.

1. Introduction
Jamaica has relatively few known mine-
ral deposits of economic importance.
Bauxite, the ore of aluminium, is alone in
being commercially exploitable in large
quantities. Other ores, of copper, lead,
zinc and iron occur, and hav e been search-
ed for in more or less methodical
prospecting programmes. Silver and gold
also occur in very small amounts with
some of these other ores, and might prove
to be profitable by-products of the extract-
ion process, should major quanitites
of the ores ever be found. Minor show-
ings of nickel and even platinum have
been reported.

What are the factors that determine the
distribution of economic minerals in,
or on any particular part of the earth's
crust? If these were fully understood,
in all their complexities, then it would be
possible to use the known geological
features of an area to predict the size and
the location of such deposits with great
accuracy. Unfortunately, it is not practi-
cable to gain a complete knowledge of
the geology of an area without an astro-
nomical expenditure of exploration funds,
and until recently geologists still had an
incomplete understanding of the various
ways and environments in which different
minerals formed. Nevertheless, particu-
larly on a local scale, geologists have
been very successful in locating large
numbers of important mineral deposits.

Over the last ten years however,
there has been a revolution in the Earth
Sciences. Most of the major features of
the Earth's surface and many of the geolo-
gical processes which occur at the surface
or in the Earth's crust can now be related
to a set of concepts, surprisingly simple
in design, yet far-reaching in their conse-
quences for earth science theory. These
concepts have been unified under the
name of Plate Tectonics. The revolution
has already greatly advanced our compre-
hension of many of the basic processes
of mineral formation, but geologists are
only just beginning to apply these new
concepts to the problems of locating the
truly vast supplies of raw materials
which the world will need in the years to
come. In the following paragraphs I

will attempt to summarise the ideas of
Plate Tectonics and indicate how far they
can be related to what we already know
of Jamaica's geological history, and how
they might be used to make predictions
about the extent of our mineral wealth.
2. Plate Tectonics
It has long been recognized that the
substance of the Earth can be divided
into three concentric zones. At the centre
of the earth is the core, probably a
mixture of iron and nickel, perhaps also
sulphur, forming a ball 6,500 kilometres
across. Around this is a shell, some 3000
kilometres thick, the mantle, which con-
sists mainly of dense rock, probably iron
and magnesium silicates. Enclosing the
mantle is the outermost shell, the crust,
which forms the surface of the earth and
which ranges from about 10 kilometres
thick under the ocean to about 40
kilometres thick under the continents.
Broadly speaking, two types of crust may
be distinguished, a denser variety charac-
teristically floors the ocean basins while
a less dense variety makes up the major
continental masses. The theory of Plate
Tectonics embodies the idea of movement
of the crust and uppermost part of the
mantle (the lithosphere) over a zone of
weaker rocks within the mantle (the
The two main concepts of Plate
Tectonics are simple. First it is suggested
that the lithosphere is made up of several
large segments or plates, covering the
earth's interior. Secondly, it is suggested
that movement is continuously taking
place between adjacent plates. The
boundaries between plates are marked by
narrow zones in which earthquakes
frequently occur and along some of
which most of the world's active volca-
noes are found.

About 10 such plates make up the
surface of the earth today. One of the
largest segments is the Americas Plate,
incorporating North and South America
and the western half of the Atlantic
Ocean. One of the smaller segments
makes up the Caribbean Plate. We are
situated on the northern margin of this
plate (fig. 1.).
Three types of movement occur along
plate boundaries: Firstly, adjacent
plates may slide past one another.
This type of movement is occurring now
along the northern margin of the Carib-
bean Plate. As a result of this movement
Jamaica is moving eastwards, with

respect to Cuba, at about 2 centimetres
per year. Most of the big earthquakes
felt in Jamaica originate in this zone.
There is little or no volcanic action
associated with this type of plate bound-
A second kind of boundary occurs
where two adjacent plates are moving
towards each other. In this case one of
the plates slides down underneath the
edge of the other. Such a zone of
downsliding, or downthrusting, is termed
a subduction zone. Typically, if the two
adjacent plates are formed of oceanic
crustal material, the subduction zone is
marked by a line of active volcanoes
along the edge of that plate which over-
rides the plate being subducted. A good
example of a subduction type of plate
boundary is provided by the volcanic
island chain of the Lesser Antilles.
Here the crust of the Atlantic Ocean
floor (part of the Americas Plate) is
being subducted under the eastern edge
of the Caribbean Plate. The volcanoes
are nearly all active, although not
continuously so, as the recent eruption
of Soufriere, in Guadeloupe, demon-
It is important to recongnise that, in
a subduction zone, plate material is
being consumed, being absorbed back
into the rocks of the mantle. There-
fore, if the earth is to be provided
with a continuous cover of crustal
material, as is evidently the case, then
new crust must be added elsewhere at
the surface of the earth to replace the
material being consumed. Such a con-
dition exists at the third type of plate
boundary. In this case two adjacent
plates steadily move away from one
another, but new material, in the form of
molten rock (magma) from the mantle
is continuously added from below to
the zone from which the plates are
moving away. As this material is injected
it cools, solidifies and welds itself onto
each of the spreading plate margins.
This accretion of new crust to the margins
of two diverging plates takes place
along vast sub-ocean mountain systems,
which girdle the earth, and are typified
by the mid-ocean ridge extending down
the centre line of the Atlantic Ocean.
Fig 2 illustrates the concept of a sub-
ducting plate margin and a spreading
plate margin as it might apply to the
Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Lesser
Antilles at the present day.
Because new crust is being added in

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o a

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Figure 1. One of the smaller segments of the
earth's crust is on the Caribbean Plate Its
boundary can be picked out by plotting the
points of origin epicentress) of recorded
earthquakes in the region on a map. Here,
some of the more recent earthquakes are
plotted (small circles). The circled numbers
indicate the epicentres of some of the
earthquakes which have made news

Figure 2. Sketch to illustrate the concept of
plate formation at a spreading margin along
a mid-ocean ridge (a) and plate destruction
in a subduction zone (b), parallel to a
volcanic island arc (c). Material rising from
the mantle at (1) is incorporated into the
plates A and B as rock of basaltic compo-
sition, (chemically poor in silica but
relatively rich in iron and magnesium). At
(2) the basaltic rock of the plate is heated

I. .

headlines. These are 1, Managua, 1972,
2, Guatemala, 4th February, 1976, 3,
Montego Bay, 1st March, 1957, 4, Antigua,
8th October, 1974. Note that their
distribution indicates that, while most of
Central America lies on the Caribbean Plate,
Cuba lies on the plate containing North
America. Subduction zones (explained in
fig. 2) are defined in the east by the active

up, as it descends into the mantle, until
partial melting occurs These hot fluids
rise through the overlying plate C at (3)
and eventually escape, mainly as ash and
lava through the island arc volcanoes In the
process the fluids become relatively
enriched in silica, sodium and potassium,
which cool to form volcanic rocks called
andesites Upward movement of magma
and spreading at the mid-ocean ridge gives

volcanoes of the Lesser Antilles, and on the
west by a similar line of volcanoes along the
west coast of Central America (stars). On the
northern and southern margins there is
relative lateral displacement, so that the
Caribbean Plate is gradually moving east with
respect to North and South America.

rise to earthquakes (red spots) at-a shallow
depth (less than 100 km.). Relative move-
ment between the two plates in the
subduction zone also gives rise to earth-
quakes These originate mainly along the
plane of contact of the descending plate A
with plate C and so are deep beneath the
island arc (100 to 500 km. deep and even
more, in some cases) but shallow in front
of it (less than 100 km. deep).

xi' I

1,7 .

' g


1.- L L 1


Figure 3. Before crustal spreading created shelves (solid black lines) as the boundaries fragments here, before which some of the
the North Atlantic Ocean, the three of each piece of the jig-saw puzzle. Dotted overlapping pieces probably fitted into the
continents of Africa, North and South lines indicate positions of present day vacant space available between North and
America are thought to have formed part coastlines on the three continents. However South America (dotted zone). The Caribbean
of a large, single continent, called Pangea. the pre-spreading fit of the continents is Plate was formed during the phase of crustal
Here, today's continents are reassembled, attempted, there remains considerable spreading which followed the fragmentation
jig-saw puzzle fashion, in one possible overlapping of present land masses in the of Pangea.
pre-spreading configuration, using the Caribbean area (shaded zones). There must
approximate edges of the continental have been a major redistribution of crustal

Figure 4. Ore mineral formation in oceanic crust and island arcs.

the rift zone of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge,
Europe and Africa are moving steadily
away from North and South America at
an average rate of 2 to 3 centimetres a
year. It follows that if this type of move-
ment has continued long enough there
would have been a time, in the past,
when there was no Atlantic Ocean, and
Africa and the Americas would have
formed part of a single continent.
Certainly, with the possibility of contin-
uous generation and consumption of
plate material, each part of a plate
will have a finite life span, which, in
favourable circumstances, might app-
roach the life span of the earth itself, and
in unfavourable situations, might extend
only for a few million years. From time
to time in the earth's history there have
been major reorganisations of the plates
of the lithosphere, often involving aban-
donment of existing spreading centres
and the creation of new ones. Along
with these regroupings, subduction zones
may also cease to function. The Carib-
bean Plate today is not the same shape
as it was 100 million years ago, and figure
3 suggests that it did not exist at all
250 million years ago. Each part of a
plate (for example, Jamaica, on the
Caribbean Plate) is also likely to have
occupied different locations within the
area of the plate at different times, from
the moment of its formation, at a mid-
ocean ridge, to the instant when it is
consumed in a subduction zone.

This circulation of crustal material,
out of and into the deeper parts of the
earth's interior, has a fundamental
bearing on the way the earth's mineral
wealth is generated and where it is
ultimately located.
3. Formation of Ore Minerals
All the chemical elements occur in
the earth's crust, usually in combina-
tion with other elements. Many elements,
such as platinum and gold, are present
to the extent of only a few parts per
thousand million. However, ores of com-
mercial importance arise through the
natural concentration of elements in
commercially recoverable amounts. The
processes by which such concentrations
arise are mainly those of repeated chemi-
cal separation in which fluids percolating
through the rocks play a fundamental
role. Those fluids may be molten rock,
water or gases. The whole can be likened
to the processes which take place in an
oil refinery, where, by repeated fractional
distillation, the various substances, such
as gasoline, kerosine and diesel fuel
are obtained from crude petroleum.

These processes of concentration take
place within the overall processes invol-
ved with Plate Tectonics. Molten rock,
containing a range of metallic com-
pounds, ascending from the. mantle, is
emplaced along the mid-ocean rifts,
where it cools and solidifies as ocean
crust at the accretionary edges of two
spreading plates. This rock is then ca-
rried steadily away from the rifts, during
which time it gets blanketed by sediments
of various kinds, settling out of the
oceans. The elements contained in these

sediments, together with others con-
tained in the sea water itself, may interact
at the ocean floor, giving rise, locally, to
concentrations of metallic minerals.
Notably, nodules rich in manganese and
heavy metals are accumulating in
certain areas of the seafloor at the present
day. Eventually, the rocks of the plate,
including by now, all the overlying
sediments, enter a subduction zone and
descend back into the mantle. Many of
the rocks are scraped off the descending
plate at the point of subduction, and some
are subjected to extensive pressures and
heat as they get buried to greater and
greater depths there. Fluids rising from
the hot parts of the subduction zone
escape at the earth's surface through
volcanic action, forming the andesite
volcanoes of an island arc such as the
Lesser Antilles. During this process fur-
ther fractionation of chemicals in the
rising fluids gives rise to mineral concen-
trations of various types. Figure 4
illustrates an ideal cycle.
Thus the ability to identify the remains
of ancient subduction zones and oceanic
crust will enable general assessments of
mineral potential to be made. Now it is
time to look at those places in or on a
crustal plate where different types of
minerals would be most likely to form.

4. Emplacement of Ore Minerals
Certain types of ores appear to be
formed directly from the magma ascend-
ing from the mantle into the spreading
centres along the mid-ocean rifts. These
include chromium, nickel, sulphides
(associated with platinum) and certain
types of copper sulphide ores (associated
with zinc, gold and silver). The forma-
tion of these may be related to the chemic-
al interactions between the hot, newly
emplaced or volcanic rock and the over-
lying seawater. The resulting ores are
incorporated into the plate material and
get carried along with the plate as it
moves away from the rifts towards a
subduction zone. Such rocks may later
get incorporated, as upthrust fragments,
in the melange of fractured rocks which
evolves over the subduction zone itself.
When these are eroded away sufficiently
such fragments become accessible for,
mining. Mining of ore bodies of this
type is going on in Cuba today. During
the build up of the andesite volcanoes
over subduction zones, additional miner-
al deposits are formed within the volcanic
rocks produced. Thus many massive,
polymetallic sulphide deposits now found
in ancient andesitic or basaltic volcanic
rocks, were probably formed under
water in the flanks of the developing
volcanoes. These ores include copper,
lead and zinc, together with silver and
The closing stages in the evolution of
an island arc, when subduction ceases,
involve the emplacement of large volu-
mes of mobilised rock into the now
greatly thickened overlying mass of
volcanic rocks. These cool gradually,
giving rise to the relatively coarse
grained igneous rocks called granodiori-
tes. The emplacement of these granodiori-

te may or may not be followed by renew-
ed subduction and volcanic activity.

The intrusion of granodiorites is
accompanied by a general heating up of
the rocks into which the granodiorites are
emplaced and the associated chemical
reactions lead to the formation of further
types of mineral deposit. They include
copper, sometimes with molybdenum and
gold ores. These are the well-known
porphyry copper deposits, so-called be-
cause the copper ore is found widely
disseminated through porphyry (andesi-
tic) volcanic rocks. Deposits of mercury
ore may also form, particularly near
active or ancient volcanic centres. Gold
is frequently associated with the margins
of the granodiorite intrusive bodies.

Following the cessation of activity
in the island are, the now stabilised
masses of volcanic and sedimentary
rocks may be eroded to form a shallow
submarine bank, on which limestones are
formed. Subsequent uplift and weather-
ing of such areas, under tropical climatic
conditions, provides the environment
for the development of lateritic soils,
which may evolve sufficiently to be
considered as economic ores of alumi-
nium (bauxite). In some places where
such raised masses of limestone overlie
older sedimentary rocks derived from
volcanoes, manganese ores may be
concentrated near the interface as in the
south west of Oriente Province, Cuba.
In other areas, manganese-rich laterites
may also occur through weathering of
such deposits. Similarly, intensive wea-
thering of nickel-bearing rocks may
produce concentrated surface residues
of nickel ore, as in Hispaniola.

Finally, mention should be made of
transported ores of sedimentary origin.
Erosion of pre-existing rocks give rise
to sediments, which are then carried by
rivers to the sea. During the transporting
process the relatively high density of
many metallic elements or compounds
may cause them to settle out of suspen-
sion preferentially, to accumulate in
the river valleys, or in beach sands on
the coast as sedimentary ores. Well
known examples are deposits of the heavy
elements gold and platinum, in river
gravels. Iron and titanium oxides may
similarly be concentrated, particularly as
beach sands.

5. Application to Jamaica
It is of interest now to speculate on
how, when, and if any of the minerals
just discussed could have become located
in the present area of Jamaica. The
geological history of the island in fact
broadly follows the outline of events des-
The earliest known rocks, of Early
Cretaceous age (120 million years ago)
occur in the Devil's Racecourse, south
of Guy's Hill. They include reef lime-
stones, associated with volcanic rocks
which were erupted beneath the sea.
Their chemical composition is similar
to that of volcanic rocks of the ocean
crust. Later in the Cretaceous (80 million

Figure 5. Imaginary cross-section through the
site of Jamaica about 70 million years ago.
(Swquence of events condensed, section not
*to scale). pre bodies generated at a mid-ocean
ridge (Cu ,Ni, Cr) are carried within the
subducting plate beneath the island arc.
Some of these become incorporated in the

Figure 6. Jamaica, about 50 million years
ago. Uplift and erosion have removed many
ore bodies formed at high levels in the

melange zone by faulting, associated with
basalts, schists and serpentine. Beneath the
island arc the earlier emplacement of copper
associated with submarine volcanism, has
been succeeded by copper, silver, lead and
zinc mineralisation, associated with the
construction ofandesite volcanoes. Upward

now-extinct volcanoes. Gypsum and halite
deposits have developed along the site of the
future Port Royal Mountains, where local

movement of parent magma for the
granodiorites is leading to further
mineralisation (PCu and Hg). On this and
subsequent figures west is left and east is at
right hand end of section.

volcanic activity is associated with faulting.

Z. M.
'Pb Ni


IC? 7
r, Ni?7-

7S .

Cu' Cu'

Figure 7. Submergence of Jamaica, followed by deposition of limestones, 40 to 15 million years ago.

Figure 8. Uplift of the limestone banks and accompanied by volcanic activity in years ago.
weathering of limestones may have been neighboring Hispaniola, 5 to 10 million

__ ~~

S Cu'


years ago) the future site of Jamaica
formed part of an island arc, similar to
that of the Lesser Antilles today. Jamaica,
at this time was situated on the edge of
the Caribbean Plate, facing a subduction
zone. The evidence for this proposition
lies in the fact that the Late Cretaceous
rocks of Jamaica are largely of volcanic
origin, and have a chemical composition
similar to the andesitic rocks of present
day island arc volcanoes. Also, along
the southern margin of the Blue Moun-
tains are the upfaulted remnants of
metamorphic rocks (schists), including
some of the type which are believed to
form in or near to a subduction zone,
where material of the underthrusting
plate encounters increasing temperatures
and pressures, and so is changed in
character. At Arntully, an outcrop of
the rock known as serpentine may be a
thrust-up remnant of the plate. If the dis-
cussion in the proceeding section is re-
levant, then we can envisage the pro-
cesses of mineral emplacement illustrated
in figure 5. In the oceanic crust of the
underthrusting plate, which presumably
originated at a mid ocean ridge, cop-
per, chromium, nickel and platinum ore
bodies are carried into the subduction
zone. On the overriding plate, the de-
velopment of andesitic volcanoes is as-
sociated with the emplacement of cop-
per, silver, lead and zinc sulphides.

By the end of the Cretaceous (60
million years ago) subduction had ceas-
ed, there was general uplift of the region,
accompanied by faulting and the intru-
sion of large volumes of granodio-
rites, such as that in the Above Rocks
region,, north of Kingston, dated by
radioactive decay methods at 63 million
years old. This phase of Jamaica's
evolution would have been accompanied
by the formation of further copper de-
posits, associated with molybdenum, gold
and, possibly, mercury (fig. 5). The site
of Jamaica then became a zone where the
two previously converging plates had
become effectively welded together, form-
ing a single plate.

In Early Eocene times (50 million years
ago), a further period of faulting was
probably associated with the reorienta-
tion of the Caribbean Plate into more or
less its present form, and the beginning of
lateral movement along the new plate
boundary in the future Cayman Trench,
separating Cuba from Jamaica. At a
rate of 2 centimetres a year, the total
subsequent movement along this bounda-
ry could have amounted to as much as
one thousand kilometres.

The process of plate reorientation was
associated with further volcanic activi-
ty on a local scale, in the region that is
now the Port Royal Mountains. At that
time, however, the region formed a broad
valley, with mountains to east and west.
Evaporites (salt and gypsum) accumula-
ted possibly in salt pans, or at the edge
of an arm of the sea, in much the same
way as gypsum is forming now on the
edge of the Persian Gulf. Some remobili-
sation of minerals, including ores of
copper and iron, also occurred at this
time (fig. 6).

Erosion gradually wore down these
ancient mountains and infilled the valley,
probably removing all traces of any
mercury deposits which might have
formed. For the next 40 million years
Jamaica formed part of a shallow
submarine bank, on which coral reefs
flourised. Gradual subsidence allowed
the eventual accumulation of hundreds of
feet of limestone over the banks (fig. 7).
Later on, in the Miocene Period (10
million years ago), uplift of the banks
became general. The limestones were
raised above sea level and dissected,
providing a suitable surface on which
laterites and bauxites could form. Much
of Jamaica today is still covered by these
rocks, the so-called White Limestone
Formation, over which the spectacular
scenery of the Cockpit Country. is deve-
loped. An important episode, which
some scientists regard as having been
fundamental for the successful formation
of bauxite, was the activity of volcanoes
in nearby Hispaniola, which continued
for several million years from this time
onwards. Clouds of volcanic dust, carri-
ed across to Jamaica by the Northeast
Trade Winds, settled out over the newly
emerging limestone bank (fig. 8). Weather-
ing of the blanket of dust produced baux-

Increased earth movements in the
general region of the Cayman Trench
led to accelerated uplift of Jamaica,
particularly in the east, accompanied
by much faulting and erosion, during
which time much of the limestone cover
was stripped off the island, exposing
the older rocks (fig. 9). Erosion of these
mineralised formations led to the forma-
tion of placer deposits of iron and tita-
nium-rich beach sands, principally along
the south coast of the island. There
have been reports of gold and platinum
from certain river beds in Jamaica.
Lateritic weathering of the Arntully
serpentine may have concentrated nickle-
rich zones, but the weathered mantle,

if it was ever formed, was now largely
disappeared through further erosion.

At this stage, two questions present
themselves. First is a mainly academic
question. Can the trend of mineralisa-
tion and mineral concentration be pro-
jected into the future? At present we
have reason to believe that, whereas the
northern and eastern parts of the island
are gradually rising from the sea, the
southern part, including the wide area
of shallow bank south of Portland
Point, is subsiding. Thus one can expect
progressive removal, by erosion, of
more and more of the White Limestone
and its bauxites, exposing larger areas
of the older volcanic rocks and their
volcanically derived mineral zones. Off-
shore, to the south, a mixed pile of
limestone and other sediments will
accumulate. Here there will not be
much likelihood of big deposits of
metalliferous minerals being formed,
but conditions could develop which
would favour the production and accumu-
lation of petroleum more strongly than
they do now.

The second, more practical question is,
supposing the evolution of Jamaica has
proceeded along the lines suggested,
where should we. be looking for all
our hidden mineral resources? The possi-
bilities are varied, and in detail, are
determined by many factors, such as
control of mineral veins along rock
fractures, local variations in rock chemis-
try and the degree to which the more
likely zones of mineralisation might have
been removed by erosion. However,
the general guidelines are evident. For
example, identify the eruption centres of
the ancient andesite volcanoes for possi-
bilities of copper deposits. Look for
zones where remnants of the Creta-
ceous oceanic crust might be found for
possibilities of copper, nickel and chro-
mium. Explore beneath the superficial
sediments of the coastal plains for
possible buried deposits of bauxite on
the underlying limestones. Investigations
along these and other lines are being
planned or executed by Government
agencies, mining companies and the
University; and there is little doubt
that they will ultimately be successful.

Figure 9. Sketch section through Jamaica
gives an idea of the present geological
configuration, with bauxite on the limestone
which have already been deeply eroded,
exposing the more ancient, largely volcanic
rocks in many places Exact positions of
mineral deposits are conjectural, but in part
suggested by present day surface showings.
Positions would be dependent also on initial
positions of emplacement as suggested in
previous figures.



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