From Negril to Morant Point and Above Rock’s to Port Maria, as the clock strikes midnight, August 5, 1962, the strains of our national anthem were heard for the first time while Union Jacks were lowered and the Jamaican flag unveiled. The birth of an independent Jamaica was, perhaps, the most significant event in the nation’s history. Today, Jamaicans celebrate the day to commemorate that historic movement, and to reflect on the struggle undertaken to gain autonomy. It is a day of national pride and commemorates the country’s great achievements. Independence Day is a day of grand celebrations in Jamaica; from paying homage to the fallen heroes who fought for the independence of the country to indulging in entertainment through music, dance, and parades.
The history behind Jamaica’s independence:
Christopher Columbus first sighted Jamaica in 1494, and by 1509 Spanish colonists occupied the country. Britain established its control on Jamaica in 1655, but it was not until 1670 that the Spaniards gave up their control and recognized British dominance. The 1700s saw an economic boom with Jamaica becoming largest producer of sugar across the world. The economic boom, however, led to the growth of slavery and other evils. Slavery was later abolished in 1834 after the British colonists enacted the Emancipation Law in wake of growing slave revolts and uprisings. Jamaica adopted its flag on August 6, 1962, the day it won its independence from the British.