10 Historical Jamaican Events That Happened in December
by Deon Clarke | Associate Writer
The month of December in the history of Jamaica is filled with so many amazing events. It’s always a good thing when we can take the time out to reflect on the past so we can have a better direction for our future. So what happened in Jamaica in December? Let’s take a walk down memory lane and see what memories this month has for Jamaicans.
- December 3, 1976 - Attempted Assassination of Bob Marley
Seven armed men raided the private residence of Jamaican reggae icon, Bob Marley, during concert rehearsals, just two days before he was to stage a concert to promote peace and quell the recent upsurge in violence. Bob Marley, along with three others, were shot and injured but survived.
- December 14, 1944- The First General Elections Under Universal Adult Suffrage Held in Jamaica
Both Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley were extremely instrumental in Jamaica’s move towards self-government. The first general elections under Universal Adult Suffrage were held in Jamaica on December 14, 1944. The result was a victory for the Jamaica Labour Party, which won 22 of the 32 seats with a voter turnout of 58.7%.
- December 14, 2019 – Jamaica Wins Miss World
Miss World 2019 held in London, was won by Miss Jamaica, Toni-Ann Singh. This made it the first time that all major beauty titles were held by black women.
- December 15, 1976 - The People’s National Party (PNP) Won The General Elections
Jamaicans went to the polls on December 15, 1976, and elected the PNP with the Most Hon. Michael Manley as their leader to govern the country, securing another straight second term for the PNP.
- December 17, 1978 – The Workers’ Party of Jamaica Founded
Trevor Munroe, a Jamaican political scientist, a civil society advocate, and a Rhodes scholar from Oxford University, along with Elean Thomas, and others on this day founded the Workers’ Party of Jamaica (WPJ). It was a Marxist-Leninist political party in Jamaica and Munroe also served as its general secretary.
- December 18, 1997 – PNP Won General Elections in Jamaica
Jamaica’s general elections held on December 18, 1997, saw the re-election of the People’s National Party winning with a landslide victory copping 50 of the 60 seats under the leadership of The Most Hon. P.J. Patterson.
- December 22, 1996 – Four Women Ordained As Priests
In its 330-year Anglican history, December 22, 1996, marks the day when for the first time women were ordained as priests in Jamaica. Deacons Sybil May Morris, Patricia Leontine Johnson, Judith Amelia Daniel and Vivette Angella Jennings were all ordained as priests. At that same Service, Cynthia McMillan was also ordained as a Deacon. She served as Provincial Trainer for the Mothers’ Union.
- December 22, 2009 - American Airlines Plane Crashes
American Airlines flight 331 with 148 passengers and six crew members crash-landed at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaican on this day, during a rainstorm after overshooting the runway. Although there were injuries, some serious, thankfully there were no fatalities.
- December 27, 1831- The Baptist War (The Christmas Rebellion)
Sam Sharpe, (affectionately called Daddy Sharpe) was an educated slave who became a well-known preacher and leader in the Baptist Church in Jamaica. He was a deacon at the Burchell Baptist Church in Montego Bay, St. James.
He organized what was to be a peaceful strike with the slaves to protest against their deplorable living conditions but this plan did not materialize as expected as some of the slaves were angry and wanted their freedom and instead of a peaceful strike, on December 27, 1831, they attacked and burned the crops at Kensington Estate in St. James and started “The Christmas Rebellion” or “The Baptist War”.
This became the largest slave rebellion in the history of Jamaica, lasting 10 days spreading throughout the entire island with as many as 60,000 slaves participating. Sam Sharpe is now one of Jamaica’s seven national heroes.
- December 29, 1982 - Bob Marley Postage Stamp Issued In Jamaica
In honour of the celebrated Reggae icon and superstar, Bob Marley postage stamps were issued in Jamaica on December 29, 1982 months after his death.
Clearly, the month of December has some really memorable events for Jamaica! It also seems to have a lot of political activity. Though not mentioned here, there are actually other dates in this month that general elections were held. Being the last month of the year, it’s a good time to evaluate the achievements and the disappointments, make some history, and to look towards a brand new year!
I also recommend you read 16 Fun Facts About Jamaica You'd Never Guess It :-)
- On This Day, https://www.onthisday.com/search?q=jamaica&m=12
- Women in Ordained Ministry – History, https://www.anglicandioceseja.org/?page_id=2800
- Parliamentary Elections - Electoral Commission of Jamaica, https://ecj.com.jm/elections/election-results/parliamentary-elections/
- Jamaica General Election Results 1944, http://www.caribbeanelections.com/jm/elections/jm_results_1944.asp
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