History of Jamaica

Additional Information

Here are key moments in the 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.


Jamaican History

Famous ska trombonist and composer Don Drummond

On this day in 1932 famous ska trombonist and composer Don Drummond was born. He was one of the original members of The Skatalites, and composed many of their tunes. Drummond was born at the Jubilee Hospital in Kingston, Jamaica, to Doris Monroe and Uriah Drummond. He was educated at Kingston’s Alpha Boys School, where he later taught his younger schoolmate Rico Rodriguez to play the trombone.

His musical career began in 1950 with the Eric Dean’s All-Stars where he performed jazz. He continued into the 1960s with others, including Kenny Williams.

After performing jazz for a decade, Drummond began performing ska and in 1964 Don joined The Skatalites. With Drummond’s politicized conversion to the Rastafari movement, other band members followed his lead.[6] He became a household name in Jamaica, before suffering mental problems. He was rated by pianist George Shearing to be among the world’s top five trombone players.