History of Jamaica

  • The first inhabitants were the Arawks who were indians from South America.
  • Explorer Christopher Columbus visited the island in 1494 and this began Spain rule. They enslaved the Arwaks to farm sugar and tobacco. They soon died because of the harsh living conditions they were forced to live under. The Arwaks died out about 100 years after Spanish rules and then African slaves were imported.
  • British captured the island in 1655 and they continued to import slaves. Jamaica during this time became the largest sugar producer in the world.
  • In 1692 an Earthquake destroys Port Royal.
  • Runaway slaves called the Maroons fought with the British in the hills of Jamaica and were granted independence to live in the hills in 1739
  • Emancipation of slaves in 1838
  • Kingston became the capital 1872. Before that Spanish town was the capital
  • Jamaica was the largest producer of sugar and indentured workers from China and India were brought to Jamaica to continue the production of sugar. Migrations of indentured workers has contributed to Jamaica culture.
  • Jamaica gained independence from the British August 6, 1962
  • Alexander Bustamante became Jamaica first elected prime minister.

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