What were the consequences of the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica?

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The Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica had a number of consequences in the history of the island nation.

  • The immediate impact was that nearly 800 protesters were killed by troops or execution after trials. Over six hundred more were met with the violent punishment of flogging or long stretches of prison time. This punishment was exacted on man, women, and child.
  • The response of governor John Eyre was met with scrutiny back in England. He had his share of supporters, but most deemed his action mass murder and wanted him tried as such.
  • Eyre was able to convince the Jamaican parliament that its existence was a threat to peace and security on the island. The parliament in Jamaica was to disband.
  • The British decided to include Jamaica as a crown colony. This meant that local government institutions would be governed in Britain. A colonial government was established.
  • Because of fear of future insurrections, black people were given some opportunities. Large plantation systems were divided into smaller plots and sold to independent farmers. This allowed more Jamaicans to own plots of land and work their own land.
  • Because of the British investment in Jamaica, improvements were seen. This is especially true of infrastructure development to help agriculture, which was a point of contention from the beginning of the insurrection. A large irrigation system was constructed as well as improved transportation networks. A stronger education system was also established.
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What were the consequences of the Morant Bay rebellion in Jamaica?  

Although slavery had long since been abolished in Jamaica, most black people on the island remained poor and disenfranchised. The existing system of government had effectively been rigged to ensure continued white dominance. Inevitably, there were grumblings of discontent, compounded by a succession of failed harvests. The situation on the island was tense in the extreme, and it was just a matter of time before some kind of uprising took place.

Edward John Eyre, the English governor, was in total denial about the full scale and extent of the many serious economic and social problems engulfing Jamaica. He ignored the islanders' grievances, concerned that any concessions, no matter how mild, would encourage Jamaicans to make further demands. The unwillingness of the colonial authorities to deal with the natives' concerns served to increase tensions still further, making it more likely that violent disorder would break out.

And so it did. The proximate cause of what came to be known as the Morant Bay rebellion was the conviction and imprisonment of a black man for trespassing on a disused sugar plantation. This proved to be the last straw for many, and an insurrection soon took shape. The authorities initially seemed taken aback by the sheer scale of the resistance. A poorly-armed, poorly-trained militia proved itself incapable of dealing with the increasingly violent disorder, so Governor Eyre declared martial law and called in government troops to put down a rebellion that was rapidly getting out of hand.

The soldiers acted with ruthless savagery, indiscriminately slaughtering black men, women, and children, whether or not they had anything to do with the rebellion. Once the uprising had been successfully put down, over 400 people lay dead, most of them wholly innocent of any crime. The authorities then embarked upon what some described as a campaign of legal terror, flogging, imprisoning, and hanging those suspected of taking part in the rebellion. In most cases, there was no evidence of guilt whatsoever; the authorities simply wanted to make an example and discourage others from getting any ideas about starting a similar uprising in future.

In political terms, the Morant Bay rebellion led to the suspension of what little self-government Jamaica had. The abolition of the House of Assembly was followed by the imposition of direct rule from Britain. Jamaica became a Crown Colony and the vast majority of its people were now even further away from taking control of their own affairs than they had been prior to the rebellion.

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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.

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What were the consequences of the Morant Bay rebellion in Jamaica?  

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.

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What were the social causes of the Morant Bay Rebellion?

The Morant Bay Rebellion, which took place in Jamaica on October 11, 1865, was a reaction by freed slaves to the poverty in which they lived, worsened by natural disasters and disease. Though Britain had ended slavery in Jamaica in 1834, with full emancipation for slaves by 1838, former slaves lived in desperate straits on the island. Few could vote because of high poll taxes. Though black people outnumbered whites by a ratio of 32:1, very few black people could vote. Only about 2,000 blacks were eligible to vote out of a total black population of 436,000. In addition, farming conditions were difficult because of droughts and floods, and smallpox and cholera were endemic on the island. The sugar-based economy was doing very badly, and the price of imported goods was so high that many people practically went without clothing. Of a population of about 436,000, only 60,000 blacks had jobs. 

On October 7, 1865, a black man was put on trial for trespassing, and a spectator in the trial got into an altercation with the police. Several men were arrested as a result of this altercation, including Paul Bogle, a Baptist preacher. On October 11, 1865, Bogle led a protest march to Morant Bay, and the British militia fired on the protestors, killing 7 black people. Government troops put down the rebellion, killing over 400 blacks. In addition, about 350 blacks were put on trial and executed, including Paul Bogle. Others were punished by flogging or given long prison sentences. 

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What were the causes of the Morant Bay rebellion in Jamaica?

One of the most important events in Jamaican history, the Morant Bay rebellion began following the imprisonment of a black man for trespassing in October 1865. Angry black Jamaican broke the man out of prison, resulting in arrest warrants being issued for church deacon Paul Bogle and 27 other men. Several days later, Bogle and between 200-300 men marched to the courthouse at Morant Bay, where local militia opened fire, resulting in the death of seven men. Bogle's men retaliated; in all, 18 people were killed, and Bogle's group soon swelled to about 2,000, and several white plantation owners were killed. Government troops were called in, and the indiscrimate killing of blacks began. More than 400 black Jamaicans--men, women and children--were killed, and 354 were arrested and exectuted. More than 600 others were flogged or imprisoned.

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