Great Depression In Jamaica

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It was strongly stated that “The sun never set on the British Empire”. This statement was undoubtedly true for decades. In the Caribbean, the time period between between the Great Depression (1929-1939) and the onset of World War II marked the high age of decolonization. Poverty in Jamaica, which was at the time a colony of Great Britain, was a widespread epidemic. During the 1930s majority of the Jamaican population was either unemployed or underemployed. Housing standards and living standards were extremely primitive and wages of workers were extremely low. A report from the Labour Department of Jamaica in 1939 recorded the results of two surveys conducted on August 9th and October 6th 1939. The survey took into consideration 486 households …show more content…

This topic is worthy of investigation because it shows the tremendous effects of the Great Depression on Jamaica and it explores how the Great Depression set the stage for Jamaica to be decolonised and granted independence from Great Britain. Personally this topic is of high significance to me because I am Jamaican and this is my history which I will be investigating. I will use a wide range of sources to investigate my chosen topic as thoroughly as possible and to come to precise conclusion. My main sources will be a book called “Towards Decolonisation: Political, Labour and Economic Developments in Jamaica 1938-1945” written by Historian Richard Hart and “Freedom's Children: The 1938 Labor Rebellion and the Birth of Modern Jamaica” written by Colin A. Palmer. This essay will demonstrate to what extent did the Great Depression set the stage for the decolonisation of Jamaica by analyzing different key aspects and events that took place in Jamaica because of the Great …show more content…

Strikes and rebellions started to emerge all over the island. Each strike and rebellion sparked an inspirational feeling to other workers who wanted and were demanding more rights. Strikes by fellow workers inspired other workers to strike also. On 27 December 1937 workers on Serge Island sugar estate in St Thomas in eastern Jamaica, dissatisfied with prevailing rates of pay, indicated their unwillingness to start reaping the crop. The Labour strikes continued through 1938 with its most detrimental effects in Jamaicas capital Kingston, where there was unrest in several parts of the city. Richard Hart in his book Rise and Organise describes the rebellions as one of the major pushing forces of the eventual decolonization of Jamaica. After many strikes and arrest and imprisonment of workers the strikes withered down in the later part of 1938 but due to these strikes, emerged Alexander Bustamante. Bustamante who was arrested in 1938 but released by demand of the Jamaican workers, was determined to help and fight alongside the workers for workers rights. Bustamante originally decided to from five workers unions but quickly added two more to have a total of seven. Subsequently, Bustamante decided to have only one union which would organise all categories of workers and

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