Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Jamaica and the Monarchy
It was during the reign of HM King William IV that slavery was finally abolished in Jamaica (and across the British Empire) in 1834 (decades before the United States did the same and that was after a civil war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives). With each new royal dynasty the island of Jamaica had achieved progress. British rule came with the Stuarts, the abolition of the slave trade and slavery came with the House of Hanover and independence was to come with the House of Windsor. It was under HM King George VI that Jamaica became a self-governing dominion within the British Empire in 1944. Jamaicans gave admirable service in both World Wars. In World War I, for example, troops from the British West Indies were sent to serve in the epic campaigns in Africa. The local Africans were very impressed with the discipline and professionalism of the Caribbean troops (known as the West India Regiment) having previously seen only White troops from Europe display such expertise. Because this was their experience they often referred to the Caribbean troops as “Black Europeans” because they carried themselves with the same pride and professionalism they were used to seeing only in European troops.