The History of Jamaica From 1494...

This website would not be complete without some history of Jamaica!

They say that if you are ignorant to the past, you are doom to repeat its failures!

I always find it interesting to know what happened in my country long before I was born...and I have to say that when I read about the things that took place, I know one thing for sure, I would not want to be alive in those days.

I am like the "Maroons." I would rather die than live in slavery!

They really treat black people like animals!

Anyone who went through all of that with a smile is good. Not Me! They would have to kill me.

Anyway, let's "paint the picture" of what went on down here a long long time ago...

Columbus 2nd Voyage To the Islands
The year was 1494. Christopher Columbus sailed to the Caribbean for the second time.

The first time he came, he capture a part of Hispaniola.

The inhabitants thought Columbus was a friend and let him in in peace.

columbus arrive in Jamaica

History of Jamaica: Columbus arriving on one of the islands

He turned around colonized a small part of the island, then returned to spain.

But before he went back, he left some of his men to take care of his new found "property." He then sailed back to spain, told the King and Queen of his "success," make a deal with them, then set sail again for the Caribbean.

This time, however, he brought with him 17 ships and 1200 colonists. He intended to strengthen himself on Hispaniola, then conquer new territory.

He had horses, cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, pigs, dogs, cats, chickens, grain, seed, and anything else he could find for sailing, fighting, building, and setting up his colonial administration.

columbus and the 
jamaican taino



A portrait of Columbus Meeting the Taino Indians

When he returned to Hispaniola, he got the shock of his life! All the men that he left, were killed and buried in shallow graves! However, that did not stop him from carrying on with his plan

Jamaica Found
On may 4, 1494, Columbus discovered Jamaica. He went in, took control, then sailed back to Spain.

Fourteen years later in 1509, Juan de Esquivel came back to the island and completed the occupation.

For the next 146 years, Jamaica was subjected to Spanish occupancy.

...until the British came, drove them off the land, and took over.

The Taino Indians who were living ther at the time, put up very little resistance. Later Columbus enslaved them and they died within a short time under the strains of labor.

jamaican taino indians

Taino (Arawak) Indians

After their death, the Spanish replace them with slaves from the African Slave trade!

In 1655, English soldiers, Admiral William Penn and General Venables drove the Spanish off the island

Some of them went to Cuba while others quietly slipped to the northern end of the island.

jamaican slave cane
 cutters

African Slaves Cutting sugar cane

The Maroons
But before they left, they freed all of their slaves. As a result, the Maroons were born.

The freed slaves fled to the interior hills of the country, and vowed among themselves that they would not go back in slavery.

For years, they fought off the British effort to re-enslave them

Great Maroon leaders like Cudjoe and Nanny made their mark on the history of Jamaica by leading the maroons in victory after victory over the British.

Between 1655 and 1692, jamaica prospered, politics dominated, the house of assembly was form, and several govenors ruled the colony.

On june 7, 1692, Port Royal the chief city at the time, famous for its riches, politics, extravagance, beautiful stone built homes, and reckless lifestyle was destroyed by earthquake.

Fast forward to 1831 - one of biggest slave uprising took place on the western end of the island. A group of slaves and plantation owners were killed.

This ignited the push for for abolition, which would eventually come after years of bloodshed...

  • history of Jamaica from 1698-1838...
  • history of Jamaica from 1839-present...
  • Return from HISTORY OF JAMAICA to JAMAICAN TRADITIONS Homepage



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