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The idea for this project came from the online article: Out Of Many Cultures: The People Who Came: The Arrival Of The Lebanese, By Dr. Rebecca Tortello. (See link below).

The Beginnings

The story of the Lebanese in Jamaica begins towards the end of the nineteenth century. Unlike their fellow immigrants from China and India who had begun arriving in Jamaica in the mid-19th century, the Lebanese did not land on the island as indentured labourers. They, like the Jews that had come centuries before, arrived by their own free will, albeit fleeing religious persecution.

Surnames of the first Lebanese families in Jamaica

Ammar, Azan, Dabdoub, Fadil, Feanny, Haddad, Hamaty, Hanna, Issa, Karam, Khaleel (formerly Malik), Khoury, Mahfood, Matar, Shoucair, Marzouca, Matalon, Sleem, Younis, and Ziadie.

Contributions To Jamaican Life


The Lebanese introduced the popular flat bread known as Syrian bread a staple of their diet to Jamaican cuisine. They gave the island a beauty queen former Miss Jamaica and Miss World 1993, Lisa Hanna-Panton is part Lebanese. Names like Hanna, Mahfood, Issa, Joseph, Ammar, Azan, Shoucair, Karam, Younis, Khouri, Fadil, Feanny, Dabdoub, Matalon and Ziadie are giants of retail, tourism, horse racing, industry and manufacturing. Last but not least, perhaps the most famous Jamaican with Lebanese descent is the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, the country's longest serving Minister of Parliament, current leader of the Jamaica Labour Party and former Prime Minister of Jamaica. His contributions to national, economic, social and cultural development are legion.

Other Notable People

Links and References