Very important to any culture is the history behind it. For Rastafarians, this is a very rich, but fairly young history, which began in the 1930s. Marcus Garvey, who founded this movement, was the leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Organization (BBC, 2014a). His main goal was to unite black people with Africa, their original motherland (and, in that respect, some may argue that the history of these people actually started with the colonization of Africa) (BBC, 2014a).
“Look to Africa for the crowning of a Black King; he shall be the Redeemer” was the statement made by Garvey that provides the foundation for the entire Rastafarian religion and culture (Cardillo, 1998, para. 1). Because this prophesy was closely followed by the crowning of Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie, Rastafarians believe that Selassie is the messiah, and that he would deliver them back to Africa (Paul Nelson, personal communication, March 1, 2013).
In Jamaica, in the year 1935, it is presumed that the first branch of Rastafarianism was founded by Leonard P. Howell (BBC, 2014b; Kranzlia, 2012). Howell’s preaching led to the spread of the beliefs that are not regarded as Rastafarian. An important event that occurred during the beginning stages of Rastafarianism was Haile Selassie’s visit to Jamaica, in which he was greeted by a multitude of people at the airport, one of those people being Bob Marley’s wife, who wrote her records of the event, in which she spoke about “ look[ing] into his hand [seeing] the nail-print.” This, to her, was confirmation that he was Christ, as there is scripture that says Christ will be identifiable by the markings of the nails on his hands ("Rastafari," n.d.).