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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

Jamaica Photographs


arawak native jamaica christopher columbus banana plantation michael manley bruce golding

Photos used are from public domain sources and from en.wikipedia.org

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