Testimonies on The History of Jamaica Vol.1 - Zakiya Mckenzie
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Testimonies on The History of Jamaica Vol.1: Or a General Survey on Things That Have Been Said About The Ancient and Modern State of That Island
History was written—England captured Jamaica from the Spaniards under Oliver Cromwell in 1655. Much of this history has been retold by Edward Long, best known for his first socio-economic and political study The History of Jamaica. His polemic supported the enslavement of African and Caribbean people and the monopolies and monocultures played out through the natural environment.
These testimonies address some of Long’s claims. A slave woman tells of the naming of Catherine’s Peak and the erasure of the achievements of Black Jamaicans in the field of natural history. A mystic takes us back to the Spanish occupation. The maroons Juan de Bolas and Juan de Serras grieve their fate and the tragic future that came with sugarcane. These are imaginings of what the people who lived through this wrestling of Jamaica might have said, given the chance.
Zakiya Mckenzie was born in South London, raised in Kingston and now lives in the southwest of England. In 2019 she was Writer in Residence for Forestry England and, at Ujima 98FM in Bristol, she was a Black and Green Ambassador in 2017. Zakiya is a PhD candidate at the University of Exeter with the Caribbean Literary Heritage project researching Black British journalism in the post-war period.
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