Jamaica History

Jamaica History

Spanish rule

Before the Europeans set foot on Jamaican soil with Christopher Columbus in May 1494, around 100,000 arawaks (or aruaks) lived here who had immigrated from South America in the first millennium. They survived the colonization of the island by the Spaniards, which began at the beginning of the 16th century, the associated forced labor and the diseases brought in for less than a hundred years. The lack of manpower on the sugar cane plantations (sugar was coveted in 17th century Europe and was traded at high prices) was compensated for by the Spaniards (and after them the English) by African slaves who were brought to the island in the following decades. In 1655 the English took over Jamaica and made the island the center of their West Indian colonial empire.

  • COUNTRYAAH: See current national flag of Jamaica. Download high definition image, and learn flag meanings as well as the history of Jamaica flags.

British rule

According to AbbreviationFinder, Jamaica became the main transshipment point for African slaves in the 18th century, with an estimated one million blacks being sold here, some of which remained on the island. Jamaica was Britain’s richest colony at the time. This changed in the 19th century: slavery was banned (1807, this became binding for all British colonies from 1838), sugar was obtained directly in Europe from the sugar beet grown there. Independence granted to the population was revoked and Jamaica was converted into a crown colony in 1866. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the voices calling for independence from Britain have been growing louder. In 1938 the poor economic situation triggered unrest and strikes among the population. The two political parties still relevant today,


In 1959 Jamaica was granted internal autonomy, and in 1962 the island became independent as a member of the Commonwealth. The British monarch remained formally head of state. Over the next few decades, traditional economic and cultural ties to the UK loosened and new contacts were made with the United States. The two major parties, the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP), took turns in governing, with the elections often resulting in bloody riots. Both parties were unable to solve domestic political problems such as high unemployment, mismanagement and impoverishment of large sections of the population. The economic crisis in the 1970s was caused by the continuing fall in prices for sugar cane and other export products that were important for the island.



The governing party JLP wins the election

September 3

The ruling Jamaican Workers’ Party (JLP) wins by a good margin in the early parliamentary elections. With 57 percent of the vote, the JLP gets 49 of the 63 seats in parliament, while the People’s Nationalist Party (PNP) gets the remaining 14 seats.


Election announced in September

August 11th

Prime Minister Andrew Holness announces where the House of Representatives will be held on 3 September. This means an advance as ordinary elections would have been held between 25 February and 10 June 2021.

Jamaica President