Famous Jamaicans

Considering its small size, Jamaica has produced some citizens who have done outstanding work in diverse fields. Although these people are well known in Jamaica, many people outside the island nation have never heard of them…

This is the story of three famous Jamaicans who in their own way contributed to their nation and the world:

Queen Nanny

Queen Nanny, also called Granny Nanny, was a Maroon leader in the early 18th century. She was a brilliant military leader and a symbol of freedom, strength and unity. She is said to have been a tiny women and her influence over her people was rumored to be related to obeah, an African religion with leanings toward witchcraft. She was an important figure during the First Maroon War in 1739 and disagreed strongly when Cudjoe and Quao signed the treaty with the British, believing it to be another form of subjugation. Although the Maroons were and remain independent of the government of Jamaica, Nanny is an inspirational figure to all Jamaicans representing freedom and independence.

The Hon. Thomas P. Lecky, PhD, O.M., O.J., O.B.E

Thomas Lecky revolutionized dairy farming on the island of Jamaica and was responsible for improving the diet of all Jamaicans. There are few large native mammals in Jamaica and much of the protein in the diet comes from fish. Calcium, an important nutrient was lacking in the diet and Lecky felt that by increasing milk production he could provide a good source of protein and calcium to the native people. The cattle imported to Jamaica either produced too little milk, ate too much or were subject to diseases. In 1949, Lecky presented a paper at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland about the need to develop a breed of dairy cattle suitable for tropical climates. His work led to the development of the Jamaica Hope and he turned his attention to developing a breed for meat. His efforts led to two breeds, the Jamaican Red and the Jamaican Black.

Barrington Watson

Barrington Watson is Jamaica’s premiere painter and has shown his work throughout Jamaica and the world. He attended Kingston College where he played football and then attend the Royal College of Art in London. His work is notable for its use of color and the energy it projects. His approach is basically realist with some modernist elements. His most famous paintings are large scale depictions of daily Jamaican life. He has done portrait work as well as nudes and erotic scenes. Barrington Watson is the father of Basil Watson a well known Jamaican sculptor.

There are many other famous Jamaicans who have contributed to the world of science, art and music, although those outside Jamaica may not be aware of their names. Jamaica has produced its share of both warriors and statesmen even if most foreigners have never heard of them. Jamaica is a land of amazing people who comprise the most important natural resource of the island.

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