From Roses, Tulips, & Liberty
Republic of Jamaica
Location of Jamaica
Area10,991 sq.km.
  • English
  • Jamaican Patois

Jamaica, officially the Republic of Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. It is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean after Cuba and Hispaniola.


Early history

Originally inhabited by the indigenous Arawak and Taíno peoples, the island came under Spanish rule following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1494. The Spanish called their colony Santiago, with it's capital in St. Jago de la Vega. Most of the native peoples of Jamaica were killed by disease and by the harshness of early Spanish rule of the island. As a result the Spanish imported many slaves from Africa to work in the colony; many slaves managed to escape, forming autonomous communities in remote and easily defended areas in the interior of Jamaica, mixing with the remaining Taino; these communities became known as Maroons. In 1655 the English invaded the island and with the help of the Maroon community were able to conqueror the colony.

British rule

When the English captured Jamaica, most Spanish colonists fled, with the exception of Spanish Jews, who chose to remain in the island. Spanish slave holders freed their slaves before leaving Jamaica. Many slaves fled into the mountains, joining the already established maroon communities. In the late 1600's Jamaica and Port Royal in particular became a hub of Caribbean piracy until the English authorities clamped down on piracy which caused the hub of piracy moved eastward towards the Bahamas and the Florida Keys. Throughout the 1700's the British would fight with the Maroon community several times. Additionally under British rule the colony became very profitable and dominated by a plantation economy of sugar, coffee, cotton and indigo. The British in order to work on these plantations imported a large amount of slaves and by 1800 the black population of the island outnumbered whites 18 to 1. In 1815 a massive slave rebellion broke out that took almost 8 years for the British to put down due to having to focus resources on the ongoing coalition wars in Europe.

Throughout the late 18th century and early 19th century abolitionist sentiments started to slowly gain popularity in England which combined with the cost of putting down slave revolts culminated in the 1830 decision to ban slavery in the British empire. This decision was treated was very unpopular amongst the elite planter class of Jamaica and they launched the Planters war (1830) seeking independence from the British empire (similar to the Virginian independence movement). Due to the overwhelming support for abolition of slavery amongst the majority black population of Jamaica as well the indifference to the plight of the planters by the white merchant and middle classes led to the planters being defeated in only 5 months.

In the second half of the 19th century Jamaica had a massive labor shortage brought upon by immigration from the island as well as a series of deadly disease outbreaks (cholera, scarlet fever, smallpox) killing almost 80,000 people. This labor shortage was remedied through the importation of Indian and Chinese indentured servants which slowly started to make up a significant percentage of the population of the island. After the Dutch-Spanish war (1850) and the subsequent independence of South Tussenland, the religion of Zoikerism started to spread amongst the black population of the island. In 1861 Jamaica was given a local parliament to manage the internal affairs of the island after a series of riots by Zoikerists.


Government and Politics





Geography and Environment