Do You Know Your History?

“The Firsts”

The first sugar estate in Jamaica was Bybrook Estate located in St. Catherine. It was also one of the first areas in Jamaica to be put into sugar cultivation in 1667.


The first free village was in Sligoville, St. Catherine. Ex-slaves lived here as free people. The village was named Sligoville after the Marquis of Sligo who was Governor of Jamaica just before Emancipation.


The first public event at the national stadium was the ‘lowering of the Union Jack’, the flag of Great Britain on August 5th, 1962. At midnight, the flag of Jamaica was raised for the first time. Jamaica became an independent nation on August 6, 1962.



first capital free village of Jamaica
Sligoville, First “Free Village” in Jamaica (1834) – Image Source:

The first Jamaican born Governor General was appointed by the queen in 1962. His name was Sir Clifford Campbell and he succeeded Sir Kenneth Blackburne who served as Governor General for a few months in 1962.


The first capital of Jamaica was ‘Sevilla la Nueva’ (New Seville) in St. Ann. It was established as the capital when the Spanish colonists arrived on the island in 1510.


The first Rhodes Scholar was Reginald Murray (1904). The Rhodes Scholarship was set up by Cecil John Rhodes to give bright young men with leadership qualities an opportunity to study at Oxford University.

NB Reginald Murray is former headmaster of Wolmer’s Boys’ School (1920 -1933) and Jamaica College (1933 – 1942). He was also responsible for tutoring former Prime Minister Norman Manley in receiving the scholarship in 1914.


The first Spelling Bee Champion was Beverly Betty of St. Hugh’s High School. She won the event in 1960.


The first Olympic Medal was won by Arthur Wint in 1948. He made this record by running the 400m race at a time of 46.2 seconds at the 1948 Olympics in London, England.

Submitted by Keisha Brissette


Source: Jamaica Information Service in commemoration of National Heritage Week 1998. ISBN 976-633-028-X

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