Jamaican officials are petitioning Britain to compensate them 7.6 billion pounds (around $10.5 billion USD) as reparations for the European country’s role in the transatlantic slave trade, Reuters reports
Reuters reports Jamaican lawmakers are preparing to submit a petition to Queen Elizabeth II seeking billions of pounds in compensation over the enslavement of Africans that generated fortunes for British merchants. Enslaved Africans were forced to work on plantations, cultivating sugar and other crops. An estimated 600,000 Africans were shipped to Jamaica to be chattel slaves, according to the National Library of Jamaica.
Jamaica became an English colony in 1655 after the British seized the Caribbean island from the Spanish. While the country gained its independence in 1962, Jamaica remains part of the Commonwealth, and the queen remains head of state.
When Britain formally abolished slavery in 1834, it paid reparations…to slave owners. As Reuters reports, the British government took out a 20 million pound loan to pay them, and only finished paying the interest payments in 2015, a reminder that history that seems like a distant past is still very much shaping our present.
“We are hoping for reparatory justice in all forms that one would expect if they are to really ensure that we get justice from injustices to repair the damages that our ancestors experienced,” Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s minister of sports, youth and culture, told Reuters.
“Our African ancestors were forcibly removed from their home and suffered unparalleled atrocities in Africa to carry out forced labor to the benefit of the British Empire,” she said. “Redress is well overdue.”
The British government in the 19th century took out a roughly $27-million loan to compensate slave owners after the empire abolished slavery, recently paying off the interest payments in 2015.
Reuters reports Jamaican lawmaker Mike Henry, who is a member of Jamaica’s Labour Party, said the price tag of reparations could be worth some $10.5 billion.
“I am asking for the same amount of money to be paid to the slaves that was paid to the slave owners,” he told Reuters.
The petition will be filed pending advice from the attorney general and several legal teams.
When it comes to Black History, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Muhammad Ali are often mentioned and rightfully so. But what do you know about other Black history heroes across the diaspora like Yaksuke of Japan or Jamaica’s Queen Nanny and David Fagen from the Philippines? If their names don’t immediately ring a bell, you’re not alone. There are several global Black figures that made their mark in this world, and their stories are only now coming to light.
Here Are 6 Black History Figures Across the Diaspora that you should know.
Jamaica is a land with a very distinct personality, so much so that much of its culture has filtered down to some of the smaller islands of the Caribbean; everything from the music to the fashion and lingo. Jamaican culture has also gone international, seen in the most significant way on the entertainment scene, with international musical acts being influenced by Jamaican Dancehall and Reggae. The result being an ever-evolving musical contribution that is a fusion of places, cultures, and people.
Here are Interesting Facts about Jamaica that you probably didn’t know before reading this!
Jamaica is a multi-racial island
You can add Grammy Award winner to Koffee’s accolades as the 19-year-old recording artiste copped the Best Reggae Album Grammy at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles.
She became the first solo female to cop the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album at the 62nd ceremony for the coveted music awards.
Jamaica and Africa share deep cultural ties that survived the slave trade. There are some cultural morals that are passed down that have direct ties to Africa. Enslaved Africans kept their heritage alive by way of dance, food, and spirituality.
There are too many notable Jamaicans of African descent to name. Here is a small sample: George William Gordon, National Hero, George Steibel, the island’s first black millionaire who built Devon House, Sir Alexander Bustamante, the island’s first Prime Minister, Norman Manley, the island’s first premier, Marcus Garvey, black nationalist and National Hero and more contemporarily, Merlene Ottey, Jamaican track and field star, T. P. Lecky, creator of the Jamaica Red Breed of cattle, Cecil Baugh, world-renowned potter, Bob Marley, worldwide musical superstar and the Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley, cultural icon.