The island of Jamaica was colonized by the Taino tribes prior to the arrival of Columbus in 1494. The Spanish enslaved the Tainos, who were so ravaged by their conflict with the Europeans and by foreign diseases that nearly the entire native population was extinct by 1600. The Spanish also transported hundreds of enslaved West Africans to the island.
In 1655, the English invaded Jamaica, defeating the Spanish colonists. Enslaved Africans seized the moment of political turmoil and fled to the island’s interior, forming independent communities (known as the Maroons). Meanwhile, on the coast, the English built the settlement of Port Royal, which became a base of operations for pirates and privateers, including CaptainHenry Morgan.
In the eighteenth century, sugarcane became Jamaica’s main source of income. The sugar industry was labor-intensive and the English brought hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans to Jamaica, so that by 1800 black Jamaicans outnumbered whites by a ratio of twenty to one. Enslaved Jamaicans mounted over a dozen major uprisings during the eighteenth century, including Tacky’s revolt in 1760. There were also periodic skirmishes between the British and the Maroons, culminating in the First Maroon War of the 1730s and the Second Maroon War of the 1790s.
In 1831, enslaved Baptist preacher Samuel Sharpe led a strike which became the largest slave uprising in the British West Indies lasting 10 days and mobilised as many as 60,000 of Jamaica’s 300,000 slave population. Approximately five hundred slaves were killed. Because of the loss of property and life in the 1831 Sam Sharpe rebellion, the British Parliament held two inquiries. Their reports on conditions contributed greatly to the abolition movement and passage of the 1833 law to abolish the slave trade as of August 1, 1834, throughout the British Empire. The Jamaican slaves were bound (indentured) to their former owners’ service until 1838 under what was called the Apprenticeship System.
1831 – SAM SHARPE REBELLION
1834 – END OF SLAVE TRADE
1834 -1838 – APPRENTICESHIP
1838 – FULL ABOLITION OF SLAVERY
1865 – MORANT BAY REBELLION – LED BY PAUL BOGLE
EMANCIPATION – FREEDOM FROM SLAVERY
AFTER THE MORANT BAY REBELLION, PAUL BOGLE WAS HANGED IN 1865 IN FRONT OF THE MORANT BAY COURTHOUSE..A STATUTE OF PAUL BOGLE IS ERECTED THERE.