For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. (Isaiah 65:17, King James Bible)The Colony of Jamaica is a Commonwealth colony in the Caribbean captured by the English from Spain in 1655 and formally ceded Jamaica to the British. Jamaica is a haven of privateers, buccaneers, and occasionally outright pirates.
Capture of Jamaica
In late 1654, Cromwell launched the Western Design armada against Spain's colonies in the Caribbean. In April 1655, General Robert Venables led the armada in an attack on Spain's fort at Santo Domingo, Hispaniola. However, the Spanish repulsed this poorly-executed attack, known as the Siege of Santo Domingo, and the English troops were soon decimated by disease.
Weakened by fever and looking for an easy victory following their defeat at Santo Domingo, the English force then sailed for Jamaica, the only Spanish West Indies island that did not have new defensive works. In May 1655, around 7,000 English soldiers landed near Jamaica's Spanish Town capital. The English invasion force soon overwhelmed the small number of Spanish troops (at the time, Jamaica's entire population only numbered around 2,500).
In the following years, Spain repeatedly attempted to recapture Jamaica, and in response in 1657 Governor D'Oyley invited buccaneers to base themselves at Port Royal on Santiago, to help defend against Spanish attacks. Spain never recaptured Jamaica.
Settlement and colonization
Cromwell sought to fill Jamaica with the godly, the choice was to have families of New England colonize Jamaica. Promises of free transport, cheap land, immunity from taxation, and local self-government were the inducements. However the island's white population was increased and colonized by sending indentured servants and prisoners captured in battles with the Irish and Scots, as well as common criminals. The white population was also augmented by immigrants from the North American mainland and other islands, as well as by the English buccaneers.
By 1661 the population of the island was only 3,500 despite the fact that 12,000 had arrived in the previous five years more than hinting at the horrific mortality rat0 by diseases. Later African slaves were imported to work in the plantations.
Governor D'Oyley had to clamp down pillage and desertion from the army. In August 1660 discontented army officials and troop mutinied against D'Oyley led by colonels Raymond and Tyson. Their demands were for land, payment of army arrears, end of military and end of military rule. However differences were also political between D'Oyley's social conservatism and the radical republicanism of Raymond and Tyson. The mutiny failed and its leaders shot. But the ideas of radical republicanism were not forgotten by the survivors of the mutineers in years to come.
In 1662 arrived Sir Thomas Lynch replacing D'Oyley as governor. Under Lynch the basis of the civil administration of colony were established along an elected Assembly, division of the territory in parishes, a judiciary, and treasury and local militia. A land survey was ordered under that enabled the partition of land to colonists. As part of his commission he proclaimed an amnesty for deserting soldiers and payment of arrears. Along freedom of religion, as in England, the Church of England was established in the parishes.
Social hierarchy Jamaica, in contrast to the three home of the Commonwealth, as little importance. This due that all colonizers were either prisoners, criminals, buccaneers and former soldiers of the Commonwealth and none could claim noble birth. Wealth, expressed in landowning or wealth of commerce and trade became the social differentiation.
The republican radicalism of 1660 also contribute to the common perception of the liberty of men and their right to manage their affairs as expressed in spontaneous assemblies and establishment of local government in the 1660s.
As part of the legacy of the mutineers of 1660 town hall meetings administered the local needs and petitioned the central government for improvements. Parish councils, as the union of town hall meetings were legally established in 1675.
As an incentive for colonization it was proclaimed that In 1667 in was proclaimed that the white population not under indentured labor and criminals were freeman and could claim or register for land tenure. The rights of freeman included civic rights and election to political office, meaning in practice that all the white population had participation in the government of Jamaica. Becoming in time a cause of trouble and discord between Governors and the white population.
When the British captured Jamaica in 1655, the Spanish colonists fled, leaving a large number of African slaves. These former Spanish slaves (maroons) created three Palenques, or settlements. Former slaves organized under the leadership of Juan de Serras allied with the Spanish guerrillas on the western end of the Cockpit Country, while those under Juan de Bolas established themselves and served as a "black militia" for the English. The third chose to join those who had previously escaped from the Spanish to live and intermarry with the Arawak people.
Each group of Maroons established distinct independent communities in the mountainous interior of Jamaica. They survived by subsistence farming and periodic raids of plantations. Over time, the Maroons came to control large areas of the Jamaican interior.
With the establishment of civil government in 1661, Jamaica is administered by an appointed governor acting with the advice of a nominated council in the legislature. The legislature consisted of the governor and an elected House of Assembly.
Military Commander (1655-1662)
- Major-General Edward D'Oyley 1657–1662
- Sir Thomas Lynch 1662-1672
- Sir Thomas Modyford 1672-1680
- Sir Henry Morgan, 1680–...