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All Nations Community Centre celebrating Jamaican Independence

Jamaica Independence Day is celebrated on August 6 annually. This day became a national celebration in 1962 when Jamaica became independent with full dominion status in the Commonwealth, under a constitution that retained the British monarch as head of state. The first elected Prime Minister was Alexander Bustamante.

Jamaica’s independence meant that Britain no longer controlled the country’s affairs. Thus, these became primarily managed by the new Prime Minister and his locally elected cabinet. Furthermore, Jamaica’s independence also meant that they had to form a constitution, symbols, emblems, army, currency, and passports.


Jamaica was one of the first colonies in the so-called ‘new world.’ Jamaica became a Spanish colony in 1509. In May 1655, the British took over the island during the Anglo-Spanish War. In the 1950s, the British Empire broke up; thus, Jamaica took advantage of the situation to make several amendments to its constitution to allow greater self-government and a Prime Minister. In 1958, Jamaica joined the West Indies Federation — a political union of various Caribbean islands that were also colonies of the United Kingdom.

By September 1961, Jamaicans had become dissatisfied with the Federation. The slow-paced move to independence led to a referendum in Jamaica where 54% of Jamaicans voted to leave the Federation. In 1962, the ‘Jamaica Labour Party,’ under the leadership of Bustamante, won the elections, which resulted in the passing of the Jamaica Independence Act by the United Kingdom Parliament on July 19, 1962. On August 6, 1962, the British granted them independence, and the Jamaican flag flew for the first time.

Bustamante became Jamaica’s first Prime Minister, with Jamaica joining the Commonwealth of Nations. The main highlight of Jamaica Independence Day is the ‘Jamaica Independence Festival,’ which showcases a grand parade, traditional music, the World Reggae Dance Final, and other events.

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