What were the consequences of the Morant Bay rebellion in Jamaica?
The Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica had a number of effects that impacted the history of the Jamaica. The initial impact was a bloody one. Hundreds of protesters were killed by troops or executed after hastily arranged trials. Many protesters were physically abused or served long stretches of prison time. Nobody was exempt from the harsh treatment as men, women and children were punished.
The event made the British reevaluate their presence in Jamaica. The governor, John Eyre, came under a great deal of scrutiny for his actions. The British decided to include Jamaica as a crown colony and rule it in a more direct fashion. The Jamaican parliament was disbanded and a colonial government was installed.
While many of these results seem to have a negative effect on the people of Jamaica, there were positives for them. Many of the large farm estates were broken into smaller tracts and Jamaicans could farm their own land as a result. The Brits also were more committed to investing in Jamaica after the incident and this resulted in infrastructure development in the area of irrigation and transportation systems. Stronger institutions of learning were also created in Jamaica after the Morant Bay uprising.
In the short term, many black Jamaicans were summarily executed by militia and other forces under the control of Governor Edward Eyre, including men, women, and children, as well as a member of the Jamaican Parliament, George Gordon. This prompted outrage in England, and a parliamentary inquiry resulted. Eyre was removed from power, brought back to England for trial by a committee including prominent English liberals like John Stuart Mill and Charles Darwin. He was never held accountable for the brutality of the aftermath of the rebellion, but he was replaced by the more moderate Sir Henry Storks. While some reforms were passed, particularly education reforms, the most significant imact was that Jamaica became a crown colony, directly administered by the British government, just as India had in the wake of the Sepoy Mutiny.