|Subdivision of:||North American League|
|Admission to NAL:||1803 (16th)|
Jamaica was one of the original signatories to the Covenant of the North American League and Solemn League Covenant in 1803..
Governors of Jamaica:
|#||Name||Party||Term of Office|
|2||suspended due to Florida invasion intervention||1979-2003|
|3||Marcus H. Garvey||undefined||2003-2005|
Originally settled by the Arawak indians from South America, Xamayca, as they called it, until the arrival of Columbus. Xamayca means land of wood and water in Arawak. Castilian occupation began in 1509, and the island was renamed Santiago. Extermination of the native Arawaks came quickly through disease, war and slavery. The first African slaves were brought in 1517 by Castile and Leon.
Sir William Penn, father of Pennsylvaania's founder, lead a joint British force in May of 1655 with General Robert Venables, and seized the island. Buccaneers were invited to base themselves at Port Royal to help deter Castilian retaliation and aggression. Battles at Ocho Rios and Rio Nuevo fell to the British who soundly defeated the Castilians in 1657 and 58 as they sailed from Cuba to retake the island, and Admiral Robert Blake defeated the Castilian West Indian Fleet in 1657.
Full colonisation began in earnest in 1661, and formal possession was granted in the Treaty of Madrid in 1670. Port Royal and the island as a whole were a major base for pirate activity. This was brought to a sharp end in 1692 when Port Royal fell to an earthquake that sunk it beneath the sea. The capital was then moved to Spanish Town and finally to Kingston.
The suger and slave trades made Jamaica a truly valuable possession to the Federated Kingdoms for over 150 years. The slaves of the colony, outnumbering their masters, 10,000 to 1 by 1800 mounted at least 12 major conspiracies and uprisings in the 16 and 1700's. Maroons, or escaped slaves would go to the internal mountains where they were able to withstand the British, despite major assaults in the 1730s and 1790s. Major rebellions continued, despite the use of Maroons as slave hunters, and the free african population as a check on the enslaved population. This culminated in the Baptist War of 1831 as 60,000 of the 300,000 slaves on the island fought against the plantation owners, but were subdued in a matter of 10 days.
Realizing the tenacity of the situation, and seeing the results of the Haytian Revolution, the Parliaments of the Federated Kingdoms abolished slavery in 1834, and all FK holdings in the NAL followed suit shortly thereafter. This did not mean emancipation for the slaves, however, as compensation schemes under the guise of "apprenticeship" continued until 1838. Though free, hardship was their constant companion. The 1865 Morant bay rebellion was brutally repressed, which lead the FK to elevate Jamaica to a Crown Colony, in some ways abrogating the SLC treaty.
Among the few islands that were not decimated by the occupation of Florida-Caribbea, Jamaica has quickly returned to fellowship in the NAL-SLC. Tourism has greatly increased since the end of the Florida War, and exports of Rum, Bananas and Sugar Cane. There is also a promise of a renewed working of the bauxite deposits, which also promises a great renewal in the Jamaican economy.
The population of Jamaica is almost entirely made up of "Difers", a creole group mostly descended from African slaves forced to work on sugar plantations along with English and Scottish convicts, prisoners of war, and indentured servants working off their sentence in the New World. A fair-sized minority of the population (around 0.5%) is of Hakka Chinese origins, many of whom form a privileged upper class.