Did you know about the Igbo People of Jamaica?

Did you know about the Igbo People of Jamaica?
Did you know about the Igbo People of Jamaica

Last Updated on August 28, 2021 by MyGh.Online


Originating primarily from the Bight of Biafra in West Africa, Igbo people were taken in relatively high numbers to Jamaica as slaves, between 1790 and 1809 during the transatlantic slave trade. Besides Virginia, Jamaica was the second most common disembarkation point for slave ships arriving from Biafra.

During this period, the culture and language of the Igbos diffused into the Jamaican culture. One of the major results of this diffusion is the infusion of some Igbo words into the Jamaican Patois.

Some of these words include:

Ima osu (Jamaica) Imu oso (Igbo)- to hiss by sucking your teeth

Akara (Jamaica) Akàrà (Igbo)– bean cake

Soso (Jamaica) Sọsọ (Igbo)- only

The Igbo also influenced the culture with actions such as “sucking-teeth” coming from the Igbo “ima osu” and “cutting-eye” from Igbo “iro anya”.

According to the Guardian, “From Jamaica’s history, the Igbos influenced the culture, music, the pouring of libation, the “ibo” style, idioms, language and way of life of the Jamaicans. The Jamaicans are so akin to the ways of the Igbos such that it is not uncommon to see Jamaicans watch Igbo Nollywood movies. Some of their rural areas take after the Igbo’s in Eastern Nigeria.”

From history, Igbo slaves were known to resist enslavement rather than revolt. Many accounts showed that the slaves committed suicide because they believed after death, they would return to their native land. This suicide made most slave traders sceptical of having them as slaves.

One of the most popular resistances is the Igbo Landing, where about 75 slaves took over their boat and matched back into the water singing and chanting in Igbo. This was in Georgia.

“Oh me good friend, Mr Wilberforce, make we free! God Almighty thank ye! God Almighty thank ye!

God Almighty, make we free! Buckra in this country no make we free: What Negro for to do? What Negro for to do?

Take force by force! Take force by force!To be sure! to be sure! to be sure!”

“Buckra” was a term introduced by Igbo and Efik slaves in Jamaica to refer to white slave owners and overseers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

16 + twenty =