Tue | Oct 23, 2018

The Birth of a nation - 'Jamaica Land We Love'

Published:Monday | August 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
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Jamaica 56
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The history of Jamaica is a rich and vibrant one, which inspires us to move forward as a nation. Our history speaks to experiences of hardships and prosperity and the growth and determination of a people.

On August 6, 1962, Jamaica became a politically independent nation and a member of the British Commonwealth. Every year, Jamaicans celebrate the removal of our dependence on Britain, to control specific functions of the country. At this time, we also honour all those persons who were responsible for the transfer of power.

The frequent slave rebellions in the Caribbean was one factor that led to the abolition of the slave trade and slavery. On January 1, 1808, the Abolition Bill was passed and the trading in African slaves was declared to be prohibited and unlawful. Emancipation and apprenticeship came into effect in 1834 and full freedom was granted in 1838.

The post-slavery days were difficult for the poorer classes in Jamaica. Though most of the English planters had left the islands and new owners were running the plantations, the will of the masses was not deemed important and was ignored.

Following the October 1865 uprising in St Thomas, also referred to as the Morant Bay Rebellion, for which Paul Bogle and George William Gordon, now national heroes were hanged, the succeeding years saw the island's recovery and development, social, constitutional, and economic, and its evolution into a sovereign state.

Both Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Manley were instrumental in Jamaica's move towards self-government. The first general election under Universal Adult Suffrage was held in December 1944. By 1958, Jamaica and 10 other Caribbean countries formed the Federation of the West Indies. This concept was soon abandoned in 1961. However, by August 6, 1962, Jamaica was granted its independence from England.

Jamaica then had its own constitution that provided for the freedom, equality ,and justice for all citizens and visitors.

Every year since, we celebrate this historic achievement by hosting commemorative events where we showcase our talents and enter the many competitions across the island.

This year, the country will be celebrating independence under the theme, "Jamaica 56, One Love, One Family." Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport, Olivia Grange said the theme is meant to inspire togetherness and instill a spirit of patriotism in the nation.

All events will culminate with the elaborate Grand Gala at the National Stadium. All Jamaicans at home and abroad are encouraged to wear the national colours throughout the season.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com