1 King Street

Great House Ruin

Parish: St. Catherine

Around 1940, Leonard Howell, the founder of Rastafarianism, established the first Rastafari community of about 4,500 members at Pinnacle in the hills of St. Catherine. Pinnacle emerged as a self-reliant community. Several farmers lived and worked there producing a variety of fruits, vegetables and staples. Marijuana was grown mainly for use in spiritual meditation and as medicine. Many skilled craftsmen and women also lived there and shared their faith under the motto ‘One God, One Aim, One Destiny’. At its zenith, Pinnacle was a thriving, self sufficient community. Its destruction by the colonial authorities in 1954 and the dispersal of its members caused the Rastafarian doctrine to spread into more communities such as Waterloo and Tredegar Park in St. Catherine and communities in West Kingston. Rastafarians have been credited with instilling racial pride in people of African descent and have championed the Back to Africa campaign.

Rastafarianism has moved from facing outright confrontation in its early years to becoming a strong thread in the fabric of Jamaica’s cultural life. Today Rastafarianism is not only Jamaican, but it has also taken on a universal appeal. According to Olive Senior, “Rastafarianism has become less of a ‘cult of outcasts’ drawing membership almost exclusively from the poor and dispossessed, and more of a widespread national religious-cultural movement, attracting adherents also from the middle classes and intellectuals.”. The 2001 Population census reports that 24,020 individuals are affiliated with Rastafarianism of a population of 2,595,962.



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