jRoots Timeline: Enslaved Peoples Brought to Jamaica

A map of West African enslavement

There’s no way to think about the musical and cultural history of Jamaica without considering the profound impact of the Atlantic slave trade. But while the jRoots Timeline does its best to consider the impact of the (largely) West African influences brought to Jamaica by peoples in bondage, it can’t do the topic justice. There are people who are better suited to speak on this subject—scholars who can trace precise linguistic and cultural indicators and artists who carry this legacy with them. I also can’t presume to know how deeply this legacy affects every Jamaican or how closely they associate with those cultural influences. But as the image above shows, almost a million enslaved peoples were brought in chains to Jamaica…and the strands of those influences wind throughout the roots of Jamaican history.