X-tra Naked & Xaymaca

Friday, April 27, 2012


Shabba Ranks
Since I only thought of someone whose name starts with X a moment ago, I’ll have to give you the name of an album. X-tra Naked won the Best Reggae Album award at the Grammy’s in 1993. The artiste is Shabba Ranks, a colourful personality with an interesting voice.  The song music I liked most on this album was Muscle Grip (don’t ask), which is a fusion between reggae and something slow and relaxing. An aside here: I can see people clicking through out of curiosity once they read the blog post title.


The word Xaymaca means land of wood and water, which refers to Jamaica.  The name has gone through several changes dating back from the time of Christopher Columbus who ‘discovered’ the island, along with the Indians (politically correct term is no longer Arawak, but Taino) who were resident at the time. It is thought that Spanish historians corrupted the name of the place, substituting J for X. It’s been referred to as Jamaica as early as 1511, as well as being called Jamica, Jamaiqua, Jamaiaua, Jamaqua, Jamaicha, Xamaica. As late as 1734, the island is refered to as Xaymayca in Charlevoix's L'isle Espagnole. Once the British occupied the island, it was written as Gemecoe and Gemego, Jamico, Jammaca, Jamajaco and Jamecah. If we spoke Spanish hereabouts, no doubt the island’s name would be pronounced Hamyca.

Source
Several explanations have been given for the gradual name change, including the fact Jamaica it was named for James 11, but somehow I don’t believe that’s accurate. The most plausible explanation I’ve come across that Columbus made came up with the name based on the name the Indians had given the island, or what it sounded like to his ear. Historians have come up with a couple of words used by Indians that represent (wood)trees/rivers. These words, in combination, sound something like Jamaica. The book that contains this information, is housed in the Cornell University Library and was produced to replace the original which probably fell to bits. It is described as the irreparably deteriorated original.


My X’s have now run out…

Have yourselves a great weekend!

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28 comments:

  1. A very interesting post today Joy on Jamaica's name. Thanks.

    Riya

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  2. That's so interesting. Names often seem to go through an evolution, and I enjoyed reading about Jamaica's.

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    1. Didn't realize Jamaica had gone through quite so many changes.

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  3. That's really interesting about the name Jamaica.

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  4. Fascinating! I didn't know Jamaica had gone through such name changes! :)

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  5. Interesting what you came up with for X, Joy. Ha, nearly over. We can breathe again.

    Do you think you'll be able to come up with something for RFW next Friday? The image is up on the site.

    Denise

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    1. Denise, thanks for reminding me about the Challenge. I've felt like a bad playmate for a while. I'll go look.

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  6. oh wow, I loved reading about Xaymaca and the evolution of the name. Well done on the X challenge.

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    1. And it only came to me on the spur of the moment. :)

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  7. Mr. Loverman! Another awesome Jamaican post. Love it. Thx!

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    1. Mina, that's one of the tracks I like from Shabba. :)

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  8. Marvelous X word. X really is an awkward letter.

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    1. You got that right, Mike. Running behind, but I'll catch up with you.

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  9. I remember Shabba Ranks from back then.

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    1. I think he's been making something of a comeback touring and such.

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  10. Interesting about Jamaica. I had no idea!

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  11. I remember Shabba from the 90's.

    I didn't know Jamaica went through name changes and was spelled differently.

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    1. Hi, Medeia,
      I knew about the bit with the Indians, but didn't realize just how many maps and history books had the name listed differently.

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  12. Amazing story about the story behind Jamaica's name. I had no idea. Thansk.

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  13. The history and evolution of the name Jamaica is very interesting...
    I remember Shabba Ranks and his signature song Mr. Loverman, which helped to popularise dancehall music in the early 90's.

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    1. Yeah, Shabba's music did a lot to expose dancehall music to the world.

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  14. Very usual voice. I definitely remember him.

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    1. Oh, yeah, Shabba has a voice that quite unique.

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