How was the independence process of Jamaica? | News


This August 6, the Jamaican people celebrate the 60th anniversary of their independence of England, ending more than three centuries of English colonialism.


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Jamaican Independence Day is celebrated annually on August 6. This day became a national celebration in 1962 when Jamaica became independent with full dominion status in the Commonwealth, under a constitution that retained the British monarch as head of state. The first elected prime minister was Alexander Bustamante.

Although the independence of Jamaica was finalized in 1962, the independence process it was inspired by the 18th century slave rebellions that led to the end of colonialism in Haiti and other Caribbean islands.

Jamaica’s independence meant that Britain no longer controlled the country’s affairs. These therefore came to be managed primarily by the new Prime Minister and his locally elected cabinet. Furthermore, the independence of Jamaica also meant that they had to form a constitution, symbols, emblems, army, currency and passports.

Since the colonization first by Spain and later by England, Jamaica was the scene of an intense social struggle, beginning with the rebellions of slaves and abolitionist movements.

When the action of black and white abolitionists passed to English rule in 1655, they made insubordination much more frequent in Jamaica than in other English colonies of the Caribbean.

In the first decades of the 20th century, a process of political change began in which the activist Marcus Garvey was involved, who had participated in the trade union movement and founded in 1914 the Universal Association for the Advancement of the Black, inspiring Africanism and the movement for civil rights in the United States.

By 1929 Garvey would found the Popular Political Party (PPP, People’s Political Party), the first in the country.

Another activist was William Alexander Clarke Bustamante, who stood out in the union struggle. Those movements led to the convergence of nationalism with the struggle of black workers, known as Black Nationalism, because they did not see the possibility of achieving economic equality without the conquest of racial equality.

In 1938, a large protest by workers in the sugar cane industry was harshly repressed. Clarke Bustamante and politician Norman Manley negotiated with local authorities to end the repression.

From those demonstrations, Manley and Clarke Bustamante emerged as leaders of national renown. In the same year, the two were among the organizers of the National Popular Party (PNP), which would from then on play a decisive role in political life. In principle linked to the mestizo middle class, the PNP adopted a more popular position and turned to socialism.

Due to differences within the PNP, Clarke Bustamante founded the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP) in 1943.

The polarization did not prevent both parties from defending the anti-colonial flag. On November 20, 1944, Jamaica lost its status as a British colony and joined the Federation of the West Indies.

Thus, Jamaica gained its partial independence and created a new Constitution, which instituted universal adult suffrage and the election of the majority of the Legislative Power. In December of the same year the first election was held, with the victory of Clarke Bustamante.

In May 1962, the Federation of the West Indies was dissolved and on August 6 of that same year, Jamaica achieved full independence from England.

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