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What Happened In Jamaica In...
The Year (fill in)

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What Happened In Jamaica In... (Year)?
by Wellesley Gayle

If there is one thing I know about this fascinating little rock we call Jamaica, is the fact that there is never a dull moment, never!

And it appears it was the same in recent history, certainly during the last 500 years!

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And although you and I were never there, we still are able to get an appreciation based on historical records (book, journals, articles, newspapers etc) and stories that have passed down from our fore parents.

And so, today, I'll share my response to the 13 most frequently asked question about 'what happened in Jamaica in' a particular year.

The most asked question was what happened in Jamaica in 1938, but to make it easier for you, I'll sort them chronologically.

And yes, I'll only list what is considered the most significant events in that year - we couldn't possible list everything here anyway :-)


  1. What happened in jamaica in 1728?

    In 1728, the first maroon wars started in Jamaica between the Jamaican Maroons and the colonial British authorities. It continued until 1739 (and 1740) when the peace treaties were signed. Another war (Second Maroon war) erupted though approximately half a century later in 1795. Read more about the Jamaican Maroons here.

  2. What happened in jamaica in 1831?

    In 1831, we had the infamous 'Christmas Rebellion' led by Sam Sharpe that engulfed the western parishes rom December 28 1831 to January 5, 1832. It as said that this rebellion speeded the emancipation process.

  3. What happened in jamaica in 1834?

    In 1834, the Emancipation Bill that was passed in 1833 became effective. On Aug. 1, 1834, all slaves 6 years old and younger were to be freed, as would be any new children born in British territories.

    A transitional period, called the Apprenticeship System, was made effective under the Imperial Abolition Act where older praedial slaves (production) would go for another six years and non praedials, another four year, working 40.5 hours per week for their former masters without pay. However they could negotiate payment options with the master. That system failed for various reasons.

  4. What happened in Jamaica in 1838?

    In 1838, August 1, the full freedom for the 311,000 Jamaican slaves took effect.
    A national holiday in Jamaica, August 1 is commemorated each year with various celebrations.

  5. What happened in jamaica in 1845

    In 1845, the Indian Indentureship started in Jamaica (1845 and 1917) to alleviate the void left after slavery ended in 1838. The railway system also started in Jamaica that year.

  6. What happened in jamaica in 1865?

    In 1865, we had the deadly Morant Bay rebellions in Jamaica.
    Jamaica became what was called a Crown Colony of Britain that year, as a result. 

  7. What happened in Jamaica in 1918?

    In 1918, the same year World War 1 ended, we had what was called the Anti-Chinese riots.

    It began in Ewarton, St Catherine but spread to the parishes of St Ann, St Mary and Clarendon. It started from a clash between a Chinese man and a black man over a black girlfriend.

    The Chinese  man and many of his friends brutally beat the black man. But rumour spread that the black man was killed an so the rest made the history books.

  8. What happened in Jamaica in 1938?

  9. In May, 1938, we had the huge sugar riot in Frome, Westmoreland, Jamaica. It laid the foundation for Jamaica's modern political system and trade unions.

  10. What happened in Jamaica in 1939?

    1939, the year the second world war started, is on record as the year that Jamaica started radio broadcasting.

    Mr. Grinan’s amateur radio station NJ2PZ (which was later changed to VP5PZ), was called into official service by Sir Arthur Richards, the Governor of Jamaica.

    Also in 1939, the All-island "Trunk" Telephone Service was commissioned to connect all the principal towns of the island. The first connection was opened to the public on April 1. See Jamaican Radio Stations
  11. What happened in Jamaica in 1945?

    Following on the results of the national elections in 1944, Alexander Bustamante took office to be the first premier of Jamaica in 1945. That year also started what was called 'The Path To Independence' in 1962.

  12. What happened in Jamaica in 1958?

    In 1958, Jamaica, with ten (10) other Caribbean countries  formed the Federation of the West Indies

    Also in 1958 (their past students will love this) Glenmuir High School and Meadowbrook High School were founded.  The Jamaica National Heritage Trust was also founded that year.

  13. What happened in jamaica in 1962?

    Of course, in 1962, August 6th, Jamaica became of age! Jamaica got its independence from Britain. Read How Did Jamaica Gain Independence?

  14. What happened in jamaica in 1973?

    In 1973, Jamaica became the founding member of Caricom (The Caribbean Common Market)

  15. What happened in jamaica in 1975?

    In 1975, now reggae king, Bob Marley broke internationally with the hit single “No Woman, No Cry”. 

    Also in 1975, the Michael Jackson visited Jamaica for the first time with the Jackson Five.

    They performed a show headlined by Bob Marley and the Wailers on March 8 at the National Arena.

And there is more! I suggest that you read my article on the important dates and events in Jamaica's history to see the full list.

Watch Video! Mr. Brewster Spoke On Old Time Jamaica

In this video, the now late Mr. Brewster brought me down memory lane, capturing some issues, happenings, challenges and victories with old time Jamaica.

Click the PLAY button to watch.

So what's your take on it?
I welcome your comments below.

You might like these as well

Other Pages Related To What Happened In Jamaica In..


  • "1958 establishments in Jamaica",,
  • " Jamaica - Country history and economic development",,
  • "The History of Jamaica", Jamaica Information Service",
  • "1938", Jamaica Gleaner,
  • Scott, Shalman, "Those major anti-Chinese riots in Jamaica", Jamaica Observer,
  • "Jamaica and the Great War", Jamaica Gleaner,
  • Johnson, Howard, "The anti‐Chinese riots of 1918 in Jamaica",, Published online: 21 Jun 2010
  • "History Of Radio Broadcasting In Jamaica", National Library Of Jamaica,, Accessed March 5, 2020
  • JAMAICAN HISTORY 6, Discover Jamaica,
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