Jamaica - Famous jamaicans



Names associated with Jamaica's early history are those of Europeans or of little-known figures such as Cudjoe, chief of the Maroons, who led his people in guerrilla warfare against the English in the 18th century. George William Gordon (1820–65), hanged by the British as a traitor, was an advocate of more humane treatment for blacks. Jamaica-born Marcus Garvey (1887–1940), who went to the US in 1916, achieved fame as the founder of the ill-fated United Negro Improvement Association. In the mid-20th century, Jamaicans whose names have become known abroad have been largely political and literary figures. Sir (William) Alexander Bustamante (1894–1977), trade unionist, political leader, and former prime minister of Jamaica, and his cousin and political adversary, Norman Washington Manley (1893–1969), a Rhodes scholar and noted attorney, were leading political figures. More recently, Norman Manley's son Michael (1923–97), prime minister during 1972–80, and Edward Seaga (b. US, 1930), prime minister from 1980-89, have dominated Jamaica's political life. The novelists Roger Mais (1905–55), Vic Reid (1913–87), and John Hearne (b.1926) have built reputations in England, and the poet Claude McKay (1890–1948) played an important role in the black literary renaissance in the US. Performer and composer Robert Nesta ("Bob") Marley (1945–81) became internationally famous and was instrumental in popularizing reggae music outside Jamaica.

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