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.
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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 Independence granted to the population was revoked and Jamaica was converted into a crown colony in 1866.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.
JAMAICA. – Sorting. – Since 1944 the island has its own parliamentary institutions: a House of Representatives (32) elected by universal suffrage by all adults, an Upper House and an Executive Council or Council of Ministers (12). Great Britain is represented by a governor-in-chief assisted by a private council. On January 3, 1958, Jamaica joined the Federation of West Indies or Caribbean Federation and sent 17 members to the Federal Chamber.
Population. – The population is growing rapidly. The 1943 census numbered 1,237,063 residents; at the end of 1958 they had risen to 1,651,493. 77% of the population is made up of Negroes, 19% of Mulattos. There are no more than 15,000 pure whites. There are also about 25,000 Asians, mostly Indonesians. The island is divided into 14 counties. The capital Kingston has around 165,000 residents and 367,000 with the satellites Pt. Royal and St. Andrews.
Economy. – Banana cultivation, which used to be the island’s main resource, is in decline. Today the main product is sugar cane, from which, in addition to a large quantity of sugar destined mostly for export, also rum from Jamaica is obtained. Also noteworthy are the growing crops of coffee, tobacco, pimento, the island’s exclusive product, coconut and citrus fruits. Extensive and profitable deposits of bauxite (over 5.5 million qq in 1958) were discovered underground and are widely exported (alumina extraction plants in Little Pedro).
The Jamaica today attracts crowds of tourists attracted by the natural beauty, the excellent road network and the hotel facilities, so that the tourist industry has become a conspicuous source of resources. Commercial relations are mainly connected with the United States, Great Britain and Canada, to which the island is connected by air services. Airports in Palisades and Montego Bay.
From Jamaica depend the Caicos and Turks islands (523 km 2 and about 7000 residents) and the Cayman Islands (240 km 2 and 9374 residents).
The governing party JLP wins the election
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
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.