Date of Graduation

Fall 2013

Degree

Master of Science in Applied Anthropology

Department

Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

William Wedenoja

Keywords

Jamaica, ethnography, ethnohistory, economic anthropology, markets, fishing, farming, tourism

Subject Categories

Anthropology

Abstract

This research uses ethnographic and historical data to explore the rise and fall of rural markets along Bluefields Bay, Jamaica, particularly the community of Belmont. The objective of this study is to answer the following questions: (1) When, why, and how did market activity in Belmont begin? (2) Why did market activity decline? (3) How will a new market affect the local Belmont economy? And last, (4) how can the new market be successful? After claiming Jamaica in 1494, the Spanish eliminated the indigenous Taino and used Bluefields Bay to supply ships with food and water. After the English invaded Jamaica in 1655, the bay served as a supply port for naval convoys and rivaled Port Royal as a haven for pirates. Markets in Belmont began by the early 1900s on beaches where fishermen and middlemen or higglers exchanged fish for crops. Market activity reached a height during the 1950s when the government built a market shed. However, depleting fish stocks, largely due to overfishing, caused the market to decline. The shed closed in the mid-1980s. In 2009, a local fishermen's society obtained the lease and on December 21, 2011 held the first market in Belmont in over 25 years. While many people in Belmont are seeking formal wage labor and operating various businesses, fishing and small-scale farming continue to be the primary means of subsistence. If the people are not involved in fishing and farming, if community and kinship relationships are not maintained through reciprocity and leadership, and if governments and organizations are not willing to assist with funding, then the people may lose their coral reefs to snorkelers, beaches to hotels, farm lands to parking lots, and markets to gift shops.

Copyright

© Nicholas Salvatore Scolaro

Campus Only

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