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12 Facts About Slavery in Jamaica That Shaped Its Society

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Jamaica’s First Enslaved People

Once Jamaica was “discovered” by Spain in 1494, the Arawaks, who had inhabited the island for centuries, were quickly subjected to brutality and slavery, becoming the first enslaved people on the island.



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Kidnapped Africans Arrive

The first enslaved Africans brought to Jamaica came in 1534 when Pedro Mazuelo, one of the early Spanish colonizers, brought 30 Africans from the Canary Islands.

What people are saying

63 thoughts on “12 Facts About Slavery in Jamaica That Shaped Its Society

  1. Kevin Smith says:

    Real Jamaican history! Yuh dun know. Big up Tacky and Samuel Sharp. Dem fi start mek movie bout unnu!

  2. Jah Man says:

    maroon the warrior dem.

  3. Nia Forrester says:

    Who are these facts 'unkown' to? I learned all of them while in school in Jamaica.

  4. Ke Vaughn Harding says:

    I really like the fact that they posted this content, but I agree with you. I don't agree that the Jamaican Educational System refuses to teach this, because I learned much of this in school as well.

  5. Prince Zaga says:

    i learned most of this in school too
    then the rest later

  6. Jamaican need to learn learn about the Jamaican Slave Trade in Central America to in British Nicaragua a small english town in Nicaragua called Bluefields. 95 percent was of Jamaican slaves.

  7. Gairy Mulgrave says:

    The Jamaican curriculum needs to make the youth aware of what Africa and the life of an african was before slavery…give them a reason to be proud…let them know that black history goes beyond slavery and the continent from which we came is the cradle of civilization.

  8. I don't know which school the writer of this went to but these facts are taught in schools in Jamaica.

  9. It is said that if you want to hide something from a Jamaican put it in a book. This may explain why some of us have never heard of these history lessons. 90 percent of this stuff I learnt in school while growing up in Jamaica, 8 percent I read on my own, Africans from Canary Island new to me, so thanks for that.

  10. Karlene Chance says:

    This is such a ridiculous article and inaccurate What would YOU know what Jamaicans learned in high school? We learned that and more. For example the reason why we outnumbered the white on the islands is that there was at least a 98% owner absenteeism rate. Basically ALL the owners lived in England. Yeah that high
    The plantations on the islands we're basically run by the overseers.
    Yu musten taak wey yu no know 'bout

  11. Nigel Peart says:

    Brixton tell me more about this town

  12. Nigel Peart says:

    Stop mis-educating us Blacks in the Americas with this garbage…All this information we become exposed to in high school.

  13. Nichole Brown says:

    Agreed. I learned this in high school in Jamaica. The title of the article is inaccurate and misleading b

  14. Kamar Mills says:

    The title of this article is misleading all these facts and more are taught at all stages in jamaica's educational system.

  15. Mini McClure says:

    12 Facts About Slavery in Jamaica The "JAMAICAN" Educational System Refuses to Teach in Schools – FALSE.
    12 Facts About Slavery in Jamaica The "AMERICAN" Educational System Refuses to Teach in Schools – perhaps this is what the writer intended to convey.
    Every Jamaican child learns all of this and more in school. For instance, the Maroons were the first x-slaves to be given independence in the Western Hemisphere, they signed a treaty with the British in 1738, they were given freedom and land (their own nation within Jamaica) that they still retain today.

  16. Steve Eugène Olivier says:

    It's funny how many of you are mad at the title. The title got you here, that was the point. Plus I bet you some did not know about these 12 facts, so maybe they are talking to these people, not every single one of you. It's not always just about you. I bet somebody from Sweden just learned something reading this. Chill bros and sis. Peace out!

  17. Tracy Hewitt Gage says:

    Thanks for the enlightenment. "“We are going to emancipate ourselves from mental slavery because whilst others might free the body, none but ourselves can free the mind.”
    Marcus Garvey.

  18. All this and more is thought in school!!

  19. Tracy Blessed Powell says:

    I assume this is an American article so it probably wasn't taught in their educational system. It definitely wasnt and isn't taught her in the UK.

  20. Tracy Blessed Powell says:


  21. Nigel Peart Well this town was colonized by the British as you can see the name Bluefields is in English being Nicaragua is a Spanish speaking country. Rich History with roots from Jamaica and the Black Caribs Garifunas. Look up on Youtube my brother or research Bluefields Nicaragua

  22. Bwire Vincent says:

    We all share one common enemy, yet we are too busy fighting amongst ourselves. It doesn't make sense…

  23. Nigel Peart says:

    Brixton Thomas Okay…We need more of you people to reach out to us. Too many of these groups exist but do not make the effort to reconnect.

  24. In 1730 the colony of Bluefields came to depend on the British government of Jamaica. For this, the alliance of the English Miskito ethnic group was decisive, and the British provided them with armaments that allowed them to subdue the other ethnic groups of the Caribbean coast, the Sumu, and the Rama.
    In 1740 the Miskitos yielded to England sovereignty over the territory, and in 1744 a transfer of English colonists was organized from Jamaica to the Mosquito Coast; they brought along with them black slaves. French citizens were also installed. The area was a British Protectorate until 1796, when England recognized the sovereignty of Spain on the Mosquito Coast; the English subjects also abandoned the islands, but the Spaniards did not take firm positions in them.
    The Moravian Church was installed in 1847, and in 1860 the Miskito Reserve was created in the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, by an agreement between the British and American governments in which Nicaragua as a country did not have part, and the English crown intervened again, putting it under its protection. The city of Bluefields was declared capital of that Reserve.
    On the other hand, slaves originating in Jamaica that sought freedom on the Nicaraguan coast continued arriving during the greater part of the 19th century.
    The plan of “Europeanization” of the natives was completed by the 1880s, when English and Americans expanded the production of banana and wood, creating an enclave economy; by the 1880 Bluefields was already a city of cosmopolitan character, with an intense commercial activity.

  25. Check out this Video the Bluefields Creole with strong Jamaican Roots.

  26. Yasmeen Opare-More says:

    Great article! These facts are unknown to many Africans and Carribeans who are born and raised in western countries such as the UK. If schools refuse to include our history in their curriculums we need to actively research our roots and share it with others. Thank you for sharing, today I have learnt something new!

  27. Ross Ian Lardner says:

    Replace the word 'Blacks' with 'people' and you're onto a winner.

  28. Nothing new refreshing the brain

  29. Ke Vaughn Harding ALL OF U WHO R MAKING COMMENTS LIKE THIS…PLZ, please KEEP SILENT. Obviously this post IS NOT 4 U PPL….and WHY didn't ALL of U share this information B4 this bro did, 2 EMPOWER OTHERS SPIRITUALLY, AS THIS BRO DID?

  30. Monique Kelly ALL OF U WHO R MAKING COMMENTS LIKE THIS…PLZ, please KEEP SILENT. Obviously this post IS NOT 4 U PPL….and WHY didn't ALL of U share this information B4 this bro did, 2 EMPOWER OTHERS SPIRITUALLY, AS THIS BRO DID?

  31. Mini McClure ALL OF U WHO R MAKING COMMENTS LIKE THIS…PLZ, please KEEP SILENT. Obviously this post IS NOT 4 U PPL….and WHY didn't ALL of U share this information B4 this bro did, 2 EMPOWER OTHERS SPIRITUALLY, AS THIS BRO DID?

  32. Steve Eugene Oliver ALL OF THEM MAKING COMMENTS LIKE THIS…SHOULD KEEP SILENT. Obviously this post IS NOT 4 U PPL….and WHY didn't ALL of U share this information B4 this bro did, 2 EMPOWER OTHERS SPIRITUALLY, AS THIS BRO DID?

  33. So U found the post beneficial, RIGHT? The others need 2 be silent.

  34. ALL OF U WHO R MAKING COMMENTS LIKE THIS…PLZ, please KEEP SILENT. Obviously this post IS NOT 4 U PPL….and WHY didn't ALL of U share this information B4 this bro did, 2 EMPOWER OTHERS SPIRITUALLY, AS THIS BRO DID?

  35. Bwire Vincent UR correct…everyone does not know this information. They should B empowered and happy their culture stood up 2 oppression. but this comment had 2 B posted 2 quiet them…ALL OF U WHO R MAKING COMMENTS LIKE THIS…PLZ, please KEEP SILENT. Obviously this post IS NOT 4 U PPL….and WHY didn't ALL of U share this information B4 this bro did, 2 EMPOWER OTHERS SPIRITUALLY, AS THIS BRO DID?

  36. Kamar Mills T. Mills ALL OF U WHO R MAKING COMMENTS LIKE THIS…PLZ, please KEEP SILENT. Obviously this post IS NOT 4 U PPL….and WHY didn't ALL of U share this information B4 this bro did, 2 EMPOWER OTHERS SPIRITUALLY, AS THIS BRO DID?

  37. Mini McClure says:

    Prince Shaddaiyah I grew up in and live in Jamaica. We all learned this in school and it was never a secret. I am surprised by the headline. It is misleading and does not indicate WHO has been deprived of this information.

  38. Nicole Brown ALL OF U WHO R MAKING COMMENTS LIKE THIS…PLZ, please KEEP SILENT. Obviously this post IS NOT 4 U PPL….and WHY didn't ALL of U share this information B4 this bro did, 2 EMPOWER OTHERS SPIRITUALLY, AS THIS BRO DID?

  39. Tracy Blessed Powell says:

    I found this information more than beneficial. I'm proud to know that my people fought for what was right and did not always accept the treatment of their slave masters. I'll be passing this info onto my children as if I left it up to the uk school system they'd never know.

  40. Prince Shaddaiyah obviously there was no need to share because it was already known. By making these articles, it perpetuates the misconception that 'blacks' are ignorant of their culture or history and need to be educated. A better title would have been "facts about slavery in Jamaica". I'm entitled to my options, as you are yours, so don't ask me to keep quiet. Plz and tenx.

  41. Nia Forrester says:

    Prince Shaddaiyah why should we "keep silent"? The title of this article (which has since been changed) was misleading. I think we all have a right to say that.

  42. Alison Newman says:

    This author either didn't attend school in Jamaica or didn't pay much attention in class 🙁 btw replace Arawak with Taino.

  43. Ervalyn Barefoot West Salmon says:

    Thank you Brixton Thomas for a truly refreshing read. Glad I read through the comments to discover this very informative and very valuable article. Maximum respect my brother!

  44. Renae Moneymaker says:

    I was wondering the SAME THING! These are basics to our education!

  45. Renae Moneymaker says:

    This is what happens when people who do not have all the facts try to write our story for us! If you did not attend school in Jamaica, find writer who did! Also you can find these basics anywhere especially on Real Museum of Jamaican History. Visit those albums especially the ones of our coromantee ancestors. We are taught very well who we are. You are just attempting to capitalize on what you heard Minister Farrakhan say in his speech yesterday without fully understanding the FACTS. You are a part of a mentality that seeks to earn money by dredging up our past instead of focusing on the the truth of what we can do for ourselves. For people who are tired of the regurgitation of misinformation please visit this website is about future building, go there instead of here.

  46. Renae Moneymaker says:

    Mini McClure They are idiots, they stole this idea for an all inclusive website from here from a JAMAICAN WOMAN. They do not have the education or the background or knowledge to write from the perspective of someone who experienced both the American and Caribbean experience. They are fools and anyone who gets their information from them are idiots too.

  47. Mini McClure says:

    I am happy to see that the title of the article has been adjusted to a more appropriate and truthful reflection. This is how we all help to educate each other. The Jamaicans spoke out, and now others know, we knew all this information, and more, and we ARE PROUD!

  48. Mini McClure says:

    In addition, I do not think that the US or UK or any other country is required to teach detailed Jamaican history. In the same way, living here in Jamaica, I do not expect my children to have to learn detailed history of other nations. Matters that shaped World History, yes, but not all the domestic details. If a Jamaican living in the diaspora wants to know more about their ancestors and their ancestral history that is their own responsibility. If they look, they WILL find the information.

  49. Renae Moneymaker says:

    Mini McClure After working intensely on Real Museum of Jamaican History for some time, I decided to revisit a magazine idea I was working on in 2005 with Noel Athias. I also researched and wrote a book around the same time but felt that people would not receive it well so I shelved the book but decided to pick up back this idea of an online magazine highlighting the a conversation that included all the peoples of the diaspora. As woman that was born in Jamaica and raised in the United States, I felt that I was endowed with a unique knowledge and my ability to research and love for my history and people should be put to use to educate and inform them. And so with the help of Robert Watkis and a few other bandits I started The ATLANTIC BRIDGE . I began to follow major proponents of black news like the Grio and such on Twitter and Facebook and involved major pages. This I began in the middle of 2012. While working on the format of the Atlantics Bridge, I noticed this entity come from nowhere calling themselves The Atlanta Black Star. Using the exact layout and topics that I had layed out on The Atlantics Bridge.I began to pay close attention to their topics and the context of their information and recognized that the Atlantics Bridge was poached directly from me. I did not feel bad, I was angry not that they stole an idea but that the nature of their advertisements demonstrated that they were not in it to help black people but to capitalize on the fact that they had their attention by using their history as hostage. I see friends share their information and sometimes read myself to see how far they have developed the idea and how inclusive they are on developing the next action steps. Meanwhile I asked for guidance from my ancestors and developed Proudli . A PATENTED social commerce site for the global diaspora. While scrolling my newsfeed this morning I see this blatant lie on a friends wall. 12 FACTS ABOUT SLAVERY THAT THEY REFUSE TO TEACH IN JAMAICAN SCHOOLS. I was appalled. The one thing you will get out of a Jamaican education is the history of slavery! I followed the link to see that rightly many Jamaicans had put them in their place and they quickly changed the TITLE but the damage had already been done. They exposed themselves as persons who know nothing about their fellow blacks across the diaspora and are nothing more than greedy persons wishing to capitalize on a piece of internet real estate they use to suck black people in. Beware of getting your information from these people. They do not know the facts much less to educate you on them and they do not have the common sense to hire writers who do! Read the comments on this article to see for yourself. #AtlantaBlackStar

  50. Mini McClure says:

    Renae Moneymaker I applaud you on your efforts and encourage you to not be disturbed by the poaching, that is the nature of the net.

  51. Mark H. Golding says:

    Monique , our history is marginally taught and certainly not even in a cohesive and comprehensive manor. Most Jamaicans don't know their history beyond the colony of Jamaica and our contribution to human civilization from the Gold coast of Africa , Egypt and the America's. Most Jamaicans don't know the stop light and peanut butter was made by black people to just name 2. In the same way Marcus Garvey historical consciousness besides his physical existence was just introduced into the Jamaican school education system over 100 years since his death 2 years ago. If we/they did know their history the same way Haitians KNOW their history we would be beyond where we are besides being carried by our natural God given talents of running, jumping , singing and dancing. Keeping it real sistren………………k

  52. Reynold Kerr says:

    well the only thing i saw in it which was not in my history books was the 74 arawaks that remained…which supports the claim that there are still arawaks present in our island…we were taught in school that they were fully fully wiped out(extinct).

  53. I grew up in Jamaica and was educated there even though we are taught more of slavery in Jamaica, we have not even begun to scratch the surface, what The Hon. Min . Farrakhan was saying even though Garvey is now being taught in schools our educational system is based on our 400 year old oppressors, so our thinking is oriented towards their ways, he who directs the circumference of your learning ability controls the scope of your activity.

  54. Andrew Johnson says:

    These facts were generally UNKNOWN to blacks in the States. Hell, they hardly taught us anything about the Caribbean at all so slavery there was hardly mentioned at all. And now, certain states like Texas and others are whitewashing history about slavery in the United States.

  55. Yo even a better video of Bluefields Nicaragua Creole, Jamaican slaves gave birth to this Nicaribbean Creole Bless up.

  56. Daniel Lewis says:

    While the majority of slaves in Jamaica may indeed have been black, plenty of Irish were taken to Jamaica as slaves. Might that not be why so many Jamaicans have Irish last names? Or where a lot of them got lighter skin from? Even most of the last names I see of Jamaicans here are Irish in origin…. Both victims of the English.

  57. Dennis White says:

    Great story! I also grew up in Jamaica and knew some of those story`s told to me mainly by my parents and elder`s but my point is this in England many of today`s kid`s haven`t a clue so in my view in this age of social media etc. These reports goes a long way to help them learn their history it does not matter who shares it as long as it`s out there!!!

  58. Leroy Carthy says:

    To that idiot who ever you are or wherever you from you're an idiot. Every Jamaican since how long have been taught this ourstory, we Jamaican people know this that's why we are the way we.we know freedom long establish by our ancestors. Jamaicans as a people and country will never bow I love my country unconditionally.

  59. Leroy Carthy says:

    Brixton Thomas thank you very much for this most valuable information I knew a little about the history because I had some friends from there back in the eighties and they love Jamaicans.thank you brother

  60. Leroy Carthy says:

    A lot of people don't know that during the slave era in the Caribbean and Latin America Jamaica and it's people was a force of enlightenment and courage all the way to the time of Marcus Garvey

  61. Leroy Carthy says:

    To the idiot name prince shaddaiyah you're an a-hole you are one of them who sold us out,you should shut up you are taking up space

  62. The fact is that they see people of dark skin as lesser human beings, ie animals

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