Originally inhabited by the indigenous
Taíno peoples, the island came under
Spanish rule following the arrival of
Christopher Columbus in 1494. Many of the indigenous people were either killed or died of diseases to which they had no immunity, after which the Spanish then brought large numbers of African slaves to Jamaica as labourers. The island remained a possession of Spain until 1655, when England (later
Great Britain) conquered it, renaming it Jamaica. Under British colonial rule Jamaica became a leading sugar exporter, with a plantation economy dependent on the African slaves and later their descendants. The British fully emancipated all slaves in 1838, and many freedmen chose to have
subsistence farms rather than to work on plantations. Beginning in the 1840s, the British began using Chinese and Indian
indentured labour to work on plantations. The island achieved independence from the United Kingdom on 6 August 1962.
Trinity was a plantation in colonial Jamaica, located south of
Port Maria, in
Saint Mary Parish, one of several plantations owned by Zachary Bayly that formed part of the area known as Bayly's Vale. By the early nineteenth century, over 1,000 people were enslaved there producing mainly sugar and rum for which a mile-long aqueduct was built by Nathaniel Bayly to supply water for the refining process.
In 1760, slaves from Trinity started a rebellion which grew to over 400 slaves, but was put down with troops sent by the Governor. (Full article...)
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Maymie de Mena (December 10, 1879 – October 23, 1953, also known as Maymie Aiken or Madame DeMena Aiken in her later career) was an American-born activist who became one of the highest-ranking officers in the
Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). She has been credited with keeping the organization alive after
Marcus Garvey's conviction for mail fraud and deportation from the United States.
De Mena was born into a Creole family in
St. Martin Parish, Louisiana, and obtained her education in the United States before marrying a Nicaraguan and moving to Central America. After a decade in which she raised a daughter and taught school, she divorced, returned to the U.S., and joined the UNIA. Quickly rising in the ranks from a translator, because she was fluent in Spanish, de Mena became one of the leaders of the pan-African movement. She was responsible for increasing the membership of the organization in the
Latin America. When Garvey was deported from the U.S. to
Jamaica, de Mena became Garvey's official representative in New York and was the first woman to carry such a high distinction in the organization. (Full article...)