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Jamaica History Timeline

1400s - 1500s

  • (1494) Christopher Columbus sighted Jamaica
  • (1509) First Spanish colonists occupied Jamaica; indigenous Arawak community died from exposure to European diseases; African slaves brought to work on sugar plantations
1600s
  • (1655) Jamaica captured by British
  • (1657) Admiral Robert Blake defeated Spanish West Indian Fleet in battle over seizure of Jamaica
  • (1670) Jamaica formally ceded to British in accordance with Treaty of Madrid
  • (1692) Earthquake destroyed Port Royal, capital of Jamaica; major part ofisland submerged; estimated 3,000 killed, 23,000 injured
1800s
  • (1838) Slavery abolished
  • (1865) Paul Bogle led hundreds of men, women on march; started Morant Bay rebellion
  • (1870) Banana plantations established as sugar cane industry declined
  • (1872) Jamaica's capital moved from Spanish Town to Kingston
  • (1884) New constitution marked beginning of local autonomy
1900s
  • (1907) City of Kingston destroyed by earthquake
  • (1914) Marcus Garvey founded Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Jamaica
  • (1938) West Indies Sugar Company estate workers struck
  • (1940) Britain leased air bases to US in World War II; Colonial Development and Welfare Act passed
  • (1944) New constitution ended Crown Colony status in Jamaica
  • (1958) Jamaica became member of British-sponsored Federation of the West Indies
  • (1961) Jamaica withdrew from Federation of the West Indies
  • (1962) Jamaica became independent; Alexander Bustamante of Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) became prime minister
  • (1972) Michael Manley became prime minister
  • (1976) PNP won another term
  • (1980) Edward Seaga became prime minister
  • (1988) Hurricane Gilbert devastated Jamaica
  • (1989) PNP ousted JLP in elections, returned Michael Manley as prime minister
  • (1992) Manley retired; succeeded by Percival J. Patterson
  • (1993) PNP returned to office with increased majority
  • (1998) PNP won a third term
  • (1999) Fuel prices increased by 30%, caused violent protests
2000s
  • (2001) Troops moved in to restore order in capital - Kingston
  • (2002) Prime Minister P J Patterson won fourth successive term in office
  • (2003) Visa requirements introduced for Jamaicans entering UK, intended for UK to tackle illegal immigrations
  • (2004) Hurricane Ivan devastated island, destroyed thousands of homes
  • (2005) Protest held over price increases for utilities, public transport
  • (2006) Portia Simpson Miller succeeded P J Patterson, became Jamaica's first female prime minister
  • (2007) Bruce Golding, Jamaica Labor Party, became prime minister
  • (2008) Parliament voted to keep death penalty
  • (2010) Alleged drug lord, Christopher "Dudus" Coke, arrested, extradited to US

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This page was last modified on April 7, 2017.