Over 160 of the nation’s historic sites have been captured through breathtaking photography in the Jamaica National Heritage Trust’s (JNHT) publication, ‘Jamaica: Heritage in Pictures’.
Some of the stunning images featured include major sites, such as the Spanish Bridge at White River, St. Ann; Green Grotto Caves in St. Ann; Admiral Mountain in St. Andrew; Holy Trinity Cathedral in Kingston; Colbeck Castle in St. Catherine; and Alligator Pond in St. Elizabeth.
The coffee table book was officially launched on Tuesday, April 16, at the JNHT’s Headquarters House, in downtown Kingston.
In welcoming the publication, Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, said the book is a seminal contribution to the body of work chronicling the nation’s history.
“What you see represented in this book via pictures, via history is as a result of hundreds of years of progress in our country that should not be taken lightly,” she said.
Board Chairman of the JNHT, Ainsley Henriques, who said the launch was an “exciting moment” for him, expressed the hope that persons who acquire “this particular pictorial essay on Jamaica, (will) appreciate all that has gone into making us who we are today.”
Providing an overview of the publication, Archaeologist at the JNHT, Lesley-Gail Atkinson, said the book, which was conceptualised in early 2011, is the brainchild of the former Executive Director of the JNHT, Laleta Davis Mathis.
“The book is beautifully laid out and it presents a visual tour around Jamaica, commencing in the parish of St. Ann, which is one of the earliest areas to be settled by both the indigenous Taino and the Spanish…ending in the parish of St. Mary at Harmony Hall,” Miss Atkinson said.
The Archaeologist noted that the over 160 sites featured in the publication are by no means conclusive, in terms of the wealth of the heritage resources.
“Over 75 per cent of these sites are protected sites. All five historic districts – Black River, Falmouth, Port Royal and the Palisadoes, Spanish Town and the Titchfield Peninsula are represented,” she added.
She noted that core objectives of the publication are: to educate Jamaicans on the importance of preserving the value of archeological and historic environments; and to promote the sites protected under the Jamaica National Heritage Trust Act 1985 and the Jamaica National Trust Commission Act 1958, in addition to sites that are in the process of being declared or designated.
The book also aims to record important elements of Jamaica’s tangible culture for the current and future generations; to provide a beautiful and accessible guide to the island’s tangible unique heritage for Jamaicans here and in the Diaspora; and to commemorate Jamaica’s Golden Jubilee.
This publication is sub-divided into two main sections. The first section focuses on sites and is essentially a compilation of interpretive photographs with a brief historic record on each site.
“The second section highlights our material culture, things that are uniquely Jamaican – our artifacts associated with the Taino, the Spanish, the English and the enslaved Africans,” she noted.
Miss Atkinson expressed the hope that persons who view the publication will feel a sense of national pride and embrace its timelessness, while seeing it as something to share with the future generation.
The publication is sponsored by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter