Jamaica Indipendence Day

Updated: Aug 6, 2020


The Colony of Jamaica gained its independence from the UK on the 6th of August 1962. This date is celebrated as a national holiday in Jamaica - 'Indipendence Day'

The original inhabitants of Jamaica were the Arawak and the Taino; a group of peoples originating from South America.

By the time Christopher Columbus an explorer from Genoa (a then indipendent state on the northwest coast of Italy) arrived in 1494 on his second voyage of the 'new world', the island had over 200 villages which were largely on the south coast, ruled by the 'chiefs of villages'; the Caciques.

The Spanish Empire began its official rule in Jamaica in 1509, enslaving the native people and working most to death within 50 years of their arrival.

During the Anglo-Spanish war, on the 10th of May 1655, After some 146 years of Spanish rule, a group of British soldiers and sailors marched on Villa de la vegra, the then administrative centre of the island. The spanish forces surrendered without much resistance on the 11th of May, many of whom fled to Cuba and the Northern territories of the island.

British rule was established with Spanish town the largest town in the parish of St. Catherine named the capital.

Some of the slaves brought to Jamaica to fill the growing labour shortage after many of the islands inhabitants were killed fled to the mountainous areas during the aforementioned spanish war and joined forces with other escapees, some of whom were Tainos. These escaped slaves and their descendants became known as the Maroons.

After many years of bloody skirmishes and two major wars between British forces and the Maroons, a bloody stalemate, and the fear of a British victory; the Maroons accepted open discussion in March 1796. A large majority of Maroons were deported and ended up in Sierra Leone as a result.

The British Empire Abolished Slavery, with the Slavery Abolition Act 1834. Which saw Natives given the right to vote and hold public office, however the real power was still held by white colonialists.

Jamaica's independence came many years later on the 19th of July 1962 with the government of the United Kingdom having passed the Jamaica Indipendence Act, granting the Nation indipendence as of the 6th of August 1962, with the Queen as Head of State.

The Union Jack was subsequently ceremoniously lowered, and replaced with the Jamaican flag. Princess Margaret opened the first session of Parliament on behalf of the Queen with the JLP (Jamaica Labour Party) Governing the country.

33 views0 comments