A Jamaican National Hero: Samuel Sharpe

By 1831, the world had managed to invent the printing press, the steam locomotive, the stethoscope, the electromagnet, the typewriter including the sewing machine. Yet slavery was still the driving force behind global sugar production. The Jamaican sugarcane plantations relied thereafter grind labor, further it was time for change. Advocates for the plight of the slaves had tossed around words like ’emancipation’ and ‘freedom’, but nothing had changed.

Although Jamaicans wanted independence, the British Parliament thought that there was value in keeping the country as a colony; their sugar port like Montego Bay was a major point of trade and income. They chose to ignore the looming problems and unrest that the slave population posed to them and made no attempt to deal with the issue. Since there was no sense of urgency on the part of British Parliament in granting emancipation, the slave population took the Brits collective dragging of heels similar a definitive ‘no’, and took matters into their own hands.

Enter Samuel Sharpe, a slave aborning in Jamaica but was given a comparatively privileged upbringing considering his status. He was permitted to receive a formal education, and was therefore respected among the slave community and went on to be a Baptist preacher. During the latter months concerning 1831, Sharpe received some incorrect news via his channels of communication. He was told, perhaps by accident, that the British Parliament was allowing the slaves to go free.

People believed that progress on the issue had been ongoing for a while, furthermore because of that the news was taken as truth, although it was a falsehood. The fact that plantation owners were denying the claim came as no surprise, thus Sharpe organized a encyclic strike. It wasn’t long before the strike escalated into burning crops, which persuade to full on hand-to-hand combat with the Jamaican military and plantation owners. One man started it all connective a few people on both sides of the circumscription were killed – Sam Sharpe – was executed by hanging for being the ring-leader. His last words were “I would preference die among yonder gallows, than live in slavery.”

The Christmas Rebellion (or Baptist Wars) plumbiferous by Sam Sharpe was really a maturity storm of conflict. The British Empire tried to turn a blind eye to the problem of the unrest brewing among the Jamaican slave population and it was felt by slaves that the Brits were simply ignoring the problem. Moreover, it was harvest time on the plantations so the landowners were quite anxious about losing their crops (either to destruction or to sparsity of harvesting). The Jamaican military was brought in to quell the strike, but since they were mostly made rise of ‘freed’ slaves, the striking rebels did not take kindly to being controlled by their own people. This perfect storm of sedition did have a long term effect, as just two years subsequently the British Sovereignty declared the Abolition of Slavery.

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