Jamaica, like other countries in the Western Hemisphere, was under foreign rule. First under Spanish law, then the British. Jamaica shares the history of wanting to incorporate its own government and way of life not under the control of a faraway country. With Jamaican Independence Day approaching, we wanted to share the history and the meaning of August 6th as Jamaican Independence Day with our friends.
Jamaica’s History with Foreign Rule
First, we have to understand why Spain and England desired the island of Jamaica.
Jamaica is in a strategic location of choice in the spice trade due to its proximity to Central America and the Caribbean. This trading activity led to both the development of the coffee, nutmeg, and cinnamon industries. It also led to a significant economic dependency on the West Indian islands since the Caribbean became the primary distribution point. With the rise of British dominance in the region, Jamaica was an area of intense British colonization and economic slavery, leading to the significant legacy of indentured servitude that still plagues the island today.
In 1838, the British abolished slavery. Since many freedmen chose to have farms instead of work on the plantations they were freed from, the British began using people from Asia, specifically Chinese and Indian people, to do indentured work on plantations.
After World War II, British rule began to diminish, and locals began working towards independence.
Long history lesson cut short, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Jamaica Independence Act on July 19th, 1962, granting independence to begin on August 6th officially. It marked the country’s long-awaited independence from the British.
With Jamaica’s history of being a land where many different nationalities resided, it made sense the country’s motto became “Out of Many, One People.” The country’s flag is green, gold, and black. It is the only flag in the world without red, white, or blue in it.
Jamaican Independence Day is a public holiday celebrated every year in Jamaica and by Jamaicans worldwide with galas, parades, carnivals, and cookouts.
The original Jamaican Independence Day celebration can be found documented in a video found on YouTube.
While with so many travel restrictions, Jamaica seems far away for many locals to the Tampa Bay area. Yet, Island Flavors and Tings is here to help Jamaicans and friends of Jamaicans celebrate August 6th with our authentic Jamaican cuisine.
Why settle on just jerk chicken or curry goat when you can order the Taste of Jamaica Independence Day Special, which allows you to choose from 4 different types of meat accompanied by sides, a Reggae Rum Punch, and two of our popular Rum Balls.
Click here to order today!