Lebanese Jamaicans

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Lebanese Jamaicans
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Jamaican English · Jamaican Patois · Arabic
Mostly Muslims and some Christians[1]
Related ethnic groups
Lebanese people

Lebanese Jamaicans refers to Jamaican citizens of Lebanese origin or descent. There are around 20,000 Jamaicans of Lebanese origin.


The Lebanese immigrants to Jamaica first began arriving in the late 19th century. Unlike the Chinese and Indian indentured laborers, the Lebanese came of their own free will, albeit fleeing religious persecution. Most of those who fled were Christians who suffered religious persecution at the hands of the Ottoman Turks who then controlled the area which is today Lebanon and Syria as part of the Ottoman Empire, hence the confusion between the two terms and why Lebanese and Syrian tend to be used interchangeably. Many sought to make new lives for themselves and their families in the New World, where they had heard there were far more economic opportunities than existed in their homelands at the time.

The reason many chose Jamaica of all places despite there being no real history or connection between the two places, according to family histories collected from Lebanese descended Jamaicans such as Nellie Ammar, Great Britain was seen as the country of freedom, therefore any place that flew the British flag was seen as a desirable destination for the original immigrants. The reasons for the later arrivals is simply because they already had friends and relatives living there and thus they would obviously feel safer and more at home in a place that already had an established Lebanese community as opposed to one which did not, much like the later Chinese immigrants, it was an example known as "chain migration".


The Lebanese also introduced the popular flat bread known as "Syrian bread", a staple of their diet in Jamaican cuisine.

Surnames of families in Jamaica[edit]

Ammar, Azar, Bardowell, Dabdoub, Fadil, Feanny, Haddad, Hamaty, Hanna, Issa, Josephs, Karam, Khaleel (formerly Malik), Khoury, Mahfood, Matar, Shoucair, Marzouca, Seaga, Sleem, Subban, Younis, Zacca and Ziadie.[2]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Arab, Lebanese in Jamaica". joshuaproject.net. Retrieved 4 April 2016. 
  2. ^ Tortello, Rebecca (6 October 2003). "Out Of Many Cultures - The People Who Came - The Arrival Of The Lebanese". jamaica-gleaner.com. Archived from the original on 10 February 2011. 
  3. ^ Beckford, Mark (23 July 2007). "Fakhouries vouch for peace - Sister and baby brother look to go one-two in St Ann". Jamaica Gleaner. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010. Retrieved 12 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Kentish, Tamekia (2007). "Edward Seaga - The Jamaican Visionary". my-island-jamaica.com. Archived from the original on 28 December 2008. Retrieved 4 April 2016.