Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Henri Gooren


  • Adeline JeanEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-08956-0_355-1


Religious development in the Caribbean island of Jamaica begins with the religious practices of the indigenous Arawaks. Its current form reflects the heritage of the colonial era as well as significant postcolonial developments.


Jamaica lies in a northwesterly position within the Caribbean archipelago in the Caribbean Sea. The Government of Jamaica’s Census of Population & Housing (2011) reports a population of 2,697,983. According to the Government of Jamaica’s religious demography reported in the Jamaica 2014 International Religious Freedom Report, “The U.S. government estimates the total population at 2.9 million (July 2014 estimate).” The island is 10,990 square kilometers (4,240 square miles) in area (Association of Religion Data Archives 2012).

Most Jamaicans are descendants of those who came to the island after the British captured it in 1655, including many who migrated from neighboring Cuba within the twentieth century (Mordecai and Mordecai 2001). In...


Arawaks Church of God Indigenous people Jamaica Obeah Orisha Taínos Rastafarianism 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.St. Thomas UniversityMiamiUSA