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10 Historical Jamaican Facts in the Month of September

by Deon Clarke | Associate Writer

The month of September brings back so many memories with historical merit to Jamaicans. While some are more pleasant than others, they all play a significant role in our history. So let’s take a walk down memory lane and have a look at what makes the month of September so memorable for Jamaicans.

  1. September 1, 1957 - The Kendal Train Crash - This one, not so pleasant. The train set out as normal on route to Montego Bay from Kingston. Its passengers, hundreds of Catholic church members from the Holy Name Society of St. Anne's Roman Catholic Church along with their priest the Reverend Father Charles Earle for a one-day excursion to Montego Bay. Also on board were known criminals, pickpockets and hooligans, a total of 1600 persons on board. On their return trip amidst raucous behaviour by the hoodlums, the train derailed at about 11:30 pm, in the town of Kendal, Manchester killing almost 200 persons and injuring about 700. This was considered to be the worst rail disaster in the history of Jamaica and the second-worst in the history of the world at the time.

  2. September 1, 1995 - UTECH Granted University Status – The University of Technology (UTECH) was formally granted university status on September 1, 1995. The institution evolved within the tertiary landscape with offerings of over 100 academic programmes. It was the second institution to be awarded university status in Jamaica after the University of The West Indies (UWI).

  3. September 3, 2007 – The JLP Won General Elections - The general elections were held on September 3, 2007. The Bruce Golding led Jamaica Labour Party, gained 33 seats in Parliament, returning them to power after spending 18 years as the opposition. The People's National Party(PNP) retained 27 seats.

  4. September 5, 1996 - Falmouth As A National Monument - A section of Falmouth was declared as a National Monument under the Jamaica National Heritage Trust Act of 1985 due to its rich archeological and architectural heritage.

  5. September 10, 2004 – Hurricane Ivan - The Government of Jamaica ordered approximately 500,000 residents to evacuate their homes due to the approach of Hurricane Ivan, one of the strongest storms ever recorded. The hurricane made landfall in Jamaica on September 10th, causing significant damage to the island, especially the southern parishes.

  6. September 12, 1988 – Hurricane Gilbert – This one is not so pleasant either. This date marks the day when category 5 Hurricane Gilbert slammed into Jamaica killing 45 persons and leaving a trail of damage at an estimated $US 4 billion.

  7. September 18, 1938 – Inauguration Of The People’s National Party (PNP) - Due to the 1938 riots in Jamaica, Norman W. Manley was convinced that real unification of the country lies in the masses, the people. He was more interested in access to control power of the state and political rights for the people instead of a unionized approach taken by Bustamante. As such, on September 18, 1938, he inaugurated the People’s National Party (PNP), which had begun as a nationalist movement garnering support from the mixed-race middle class as well as the liberal sector of the business community with leaders who were very highly educated members of the upper-middle class.

  8. September 18, 1962 - Jamaica Joined The United Nations – On a happier note, on this date, Rwanda, Burundi, Jamaica & Trinidad were admitted to the United Nations (UN) as the (105th-108th) countries respectively. On September 21, 1962, Sir Alexander Bustamante, the Prime Minister of the newly independent Jamaica watched and applauded as Jamaica’s flag was unfurled at the UN Headquarters in New York.

  9. September 19, 1961 – Referendum On Federation Membership. Though the Manley led PNP was “pro-federation”, on September 19, 1961, a referendum was held to determine the continuance of Jamaica’s membership in the Federation of the West Indies. Voters were asked, "Should Jamaica remain in the Federation of the West Indies?" The voter turnout was 61.5% and 54.1% voted "no". This resulted in the country leaving the federation and its dissolution in 1962.

  10. September 25, 1909 – Birth of a Governer General – Sir Florizel Glasspole, the 3rd Governor-General of Jamaica was, born in Kingston, Jamaica.

This is really a September to remember! So many interesting things happened in Jamaica’s history during this month. Do you know of any more to add to this list? Feel free to share.

I also recommend you read 12 Most Prominent Historical Sites in Jamaica.


  • 10 Facts About the Kendal Train Crash in Jamaica, My-Island-Jamaica,
  • This Day in History — September 12, Jamaica Observer,
  • This Day in History — September 10, Jamaica Observer,
  • 1961 Jamaican Federation of the West Indies membership referendum, Wikipedia,

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