Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library
Christovallo Colon, or Christopher Columbus, a Genoese, under the patronage of Isabella of Spain, set sail from Palos, with three vessels and ninety men, on the 3rd August. On the 11th October, he discovered St. Salvador, one of the Bahamas Islands.
May 3, Jamaica discovered by Colombus on his second voyage to the New World. Approaching the shore in a southwest course from the eastern point of Cuba, he named the headland he first encountered, Santa Maria, from the name of his first ship, and landed at Ora Cabessa.
June - Columbus shipwrecked on the northern coast of the island during the prosecution of his fourth voyage, where he was compelled to remain twelve months, and experienced severe sufferings from the mutinous conduct and desertion of a part of his crew. He named the place on which he landed, Santa Gloria, and St. Ann's Bay still marks the memorable spot.
First settlement by the Spaniards under Don Juan de Esquimel, lieutenant to Diego Columbus. He landed at Santa Gloria and fixed the seat of government there. He soon afterwards died, and was buried at Seville d'Oro. Esquimel (Old-Harbour) was named after him.
St. Jago de la Vega founded by Diego Columbus, and in 1555 had the honour of giving the title of Marquis to his heir.
Thirty sugar mills established in the island.
St. Jago de la Vega plundered by Sir Anthony Shirley.
Colonel Jackson, with five hundred men, landed and beat the Spaniards at Passage-Fort. They overran the island and exacted a considerable sum of money, then evacuated it, leaving behind them a number of deserters. Don Christopher Arnaldo Sasi, Governor.
May 3. The island taken by the English, under Admiral Penn and General Venables, after an unsuccessful attempt upon St. Domingo. The troops landed at Passage-Fort, and after a feeble opposition, the Spaniards were driven from their guns, and the British flag waved over one of the fairest islands in the world.
Venables, on his return to England, was severely reprimanded by the council, sent a prisoner to the Tower, and dismissed from all his employments. Penn was also committed to the same place. They were liberated by the protector, on making their submission.
Major-General Sedgewicke sent by Cromwell to command the army.
The council of state in England voted that 1,000 girls, and as many young men, should be listed in Ireland, and sent to the colony.
June 24. Sedgewicke died and the command devolved on Colonel D'Oyley, who executed Major Throgmorton for mutiny.
Dec. 14. General Brayne arrived with several transports and assumed the command.
General Stokes, with 1,600 men from Nevis, arrived and settled near Port-Morant.
Sept. 2. Brayne died, and the command again devolved on Colonel D'Oyley.
Don Christopher Arnoldo Sasi landed at the north side, with all the former inhabitants, amounting to about five hundred men, and a reinforcement of one thousand from Old Spain, and built a fort of some strength on a rocky eminence near the sea at Rio Nuevo, in St. Mary's.
June 22. D'Oyley, with five hundred picked men, attacked the fort, and completely routed the enemy.
They had three hundred privates, several captains, two priests and one sergeant-major killed; one hundred privates and six captains made prisoners; many wounded; they lost the royal standard and ten colours. The stragglers soon after quitted the island.
Colonel D'Oyley, with eight hundred men, sailed to the Spanish main and made a descent. He destroyed the town of Tolu, burnt ten galleons and loaded the ship with spoil.
Sept. 3. Cromwell died.
Don Sasi attacked and defeated by a detachment under Colonel Tyson on the north side, where he had posted himself on a hill with one hundred and thirty men. He ultimately escaped from the island in a canoe from a small bay, which retains the name of Runaway Bay.
Twenty Spanish slaves surrendered with their commander, Juan de Bola, and were made free; their captain was presented with a commission to resume his command in the English service. Another party of negroes, called the Vermahollis gang, was destroyed by a detachment under Captain Ballard; and not more than fifty still held out.
Aug. 2. Conspiracy of the parliament men defeated by D'Oyley, at the head of the royalists, and Colonels Raymond and Tyson shot.
Aug. 14. Arrival of a man of war, with the union jack at the mast-head, which communicated intelligence of the Restoration, which had taken place on the 29th of the preceding May.
May 29. The Diamond and Rosebush frigates arrived, bringing a commission from Charles II to D'Oyley, confirming him in the command of the island, with orders that the army should be immediately disbanded and settled throughout the country. The despatches contained also instructions for the constitution of judicial courts, with patents for the several departments of secretary, provost-marshal, and surveyor general.
June 5. Military government ceased - Colonel D'Oyley's commission proclaimed at Careening Point (Caguaya); and that town has ever since borne the name of Port-Royal, to commemorate the event.
A council of twelve members elected by the people; the island partially surveyed, and divided into twelve districts, viz:- St. David - St. Catherine - St. Andrew - St. John - St. Thomas - St. George - St. Mary - St. Ann - St. James - St. Elizabeth - Port-Royal - Clarendon.
Two hundred settlers arrived in his majesty's ship, the Great Charity, and many more in the Diamond from the Windward Islands.
Aug. 11. Thomas Windsor Hickman, Lord Windsor (afterwards Earl of Plymouth), arrived as governor, with Sir Charles Lyttleton as chancellor and deputy-governor. A seal and mace for the island were brought by them.
D'Oyley ordered to England. He petitioned against the command, requesting delay, but it was refused, and he sailed in September.
Sept. 10. A royal proclamation published which gave every encouragement to the planters, and granted patents of land in free succage, by which several persons obtained titles to six, eight, ten, or twenty thousand acres each; Sir Thomas Lynch came into possession of very extensive domains, and Major Hope, with Colonels Archbould and Sir William Beeston, held the entire district of Liguanea between themselves.
Sept. 20. Lord Windsor fitted out an expedition of 1,200 men and eleven sail of the line against St. Jago de Cuba, who took the fort, demolished the fortifications and the town, consisting of two thousand dwelling houses, which they razed to the ground. The loss sustained by the enemy was probably not more than half a million sterling.
Oct. 6. During the absence of this expedition the militia was organized, and the Port-Royal regiment, well armed and accoutred, assembled for the first time, under the command of Lord Windsor as the colonel.
Oct. 22. The expedition returned from St. Jago de Cuba with much plunder.
Oct. 28. Lord Windsor sailed for England, leaving Sir Charles Lyttleton as lieutenant-governor.
A census taken of the population, which amounted to 4,355, including 552 negroes.
Feb. A proclamation issued offering freedom and thirty acres of land to such of the Spanish rebellious slaves as would submit to the command of Juan de Bola, their former chief; but whom they met on the 1st November, and engaged and destroyed.
An expedition sailed against Campeche, which sacked the town and took twenty sail of shipping, deeply laden with treasure.
At this period immense wealth rapidly flowed into the island, prizes daily arrived, and were publicly disposed of in defiance of a royal proclamation to restrain the corsairs, and the fame of one, unprecedented in its weight of quicksilver, resounded on the shores of Europe.
Dec. The first general assembly summoned by Sir Charles Lyttleton, and members returned for the following places, viz: - Yakallah, Robert Freeman, Richard Lloyd - St. Jago, Edward Waldron, Edward Mullens - Old Harbour, John Colebeck, Humphrey Freeman - Angells, Lewis Ashton - Cugua, W. Beeston, Samuel Long, Robert Byndloss - Seven Plantations, Anthony Collier - Guanaboa, William Clee, Thomas Freeman - Withywood, Richard Bryan - Dry River, William Ivy - Port Morant, Southwell Adkins - North side, Abraham Rutter.
Jan. 20. The assembly met at St. Jago de la Vega and chose Robert Freeman as their speaker; they sat till the 12th February and passed 45 acts. "The assembly was very unanimous, and parted with all kindness and feastings, having passed as good a body of laws as could be expected from such young statesmen."
May 7. Sir Charles Lyttleton sailed for England, leaving Colonel Thomas Lynch, president and commander-in-chief. Upon his arrival in England, he was desired to lay his observations before his majesty in council; and amongst other remarks, he declared that the government was plain and easy, and was not truly, if he may have the liberty to say so, disagreeable; so were the laws, and their execution; neither merchant nor planter, that he knew of, the least dissatisfied; every cause being determined in six weeks; with 30 or 40 shillings charges; that the acts of assembly were sent, and most humbly desired to be confirmed by his majesty; that the people were in general easy to be governed, yet apter to be led than driven. It is certain that Sir Charles left his government with regret; and it is probable that the object of his voyage was to recover the appointment he coveted; in this he eventually succeeded; and afterwards proved himself one of the best friends Jamaica ever possessed.
At this time the island was surveyed, and more accurately divided into the twelve above named districts.
May 19. Col. Morgan, lieutenant to Sir Thomas Modyford, arrived, took possession of the government and dissolved the assembly. (This was not the celebrated buccaneer.) Colonel Morgan died in 1665, at St. Eustatia, or Saba, when commanding an expedition intended against Curacao.
June 4. Sir Thomas Modyford, baronet, the governor, arrived, with 200 planters of Barbados; 400 had previously arrived.
Oct. 14. The assembly met; Sir Thomas Whitstone chosen speaker, and Samuel Long clerk. The house met in a temper very different from that of the preceding session and was divided into factions. It continued its meeting till the 16th of March the following year, when it passed 27 acts. Nov. Captain Rutter, a member of assembly, killed by Major Joy, of the council, at a dinner given by the members of assembly to the governor and council. The cause of dispute arose out of party feuds of the last session.
July 1. The buccaneers, under Morgan, took Porto-Bello.
July 15. Sir Thomas Lynch arrived as governor, and his instructions thus named his council:-- Major-General James Bannister, Colonel Sir James Modyford, John Cope, Thomas Freeman, Thomas Ballard, William Joy, Robert Byndloss, Charles Whitfield, Thomas Fuller, Anthony Collyer, and Captain Hender Molesworth.
The revenue was now fixed; land at Port-Royal 1.5d. per foot; savanna and cleared land 6d. per acre; liquor licence 40s. per annum; brandy and spirits 6d. per gallon; wines £4 per ton; beer 30s. per ton; rum 40s. per ton; every ship 12d. per ton anchorage; foreigners double. These duties were applicable to the public uses of the island in the following proportion:-- governor or commander in chief, £1,000 - lieutenant-governor £400 - major-general, £200 - chief justice £80 - each judge, £20 - his assistant £10. Collectors of the duties were nominated by the governor, and approved of by the council.
A census was taken, and the population was 4050 men, 2600 women, 1712 children and 9500 negroes.
March 5. Sir Henry Morgan, raised to the honour of knighthood for his brave attack on Panama, and having escaped shipwreck on the isle of Vache, arrived as lieutenant-governor.
March 14. John Lord Vaughan, K. B. (eldest son of the Earl of Carberry in Ireland, Baron Vaughan in England) arrived as governor.
March 26. An assembly met, and passed twenty acts. They sat with several short adjournments, till the 26th July, when they were dissolved in haste, for endeavouring to bring on a new trial before the chief-justice, as he had petitioned, of one Brown, who had been condemned by the admiralty court to be hanged as a pirate.
Sept. 4. An assembly met, and passed several laws, eight of which the governor signed on the 28th, rejecting some few of little use, and that for the revenue, and then dissolved the house, leaving the island without any revenue.
April 28. The negroes mutinied and killed among many others, the wife of the attorney-general.
July 19. The Earl of Carlisle arrived as governor. His commission empowered him "to summon general assemblies of the freeholders and planters, within this island and other territories thereon depending, in such manner and form as had been formerly practised and used in the island; and to agree and consent to all laws, statutes, and ordinances, for the public peace, welfare, and good government of the island. &e; which said laws, being framed with the advice and consent of the council, should be transmitted to his majesty, to be by him approved and remitted back under the great seal of England; the said laws to be framed as near as conveniently might be to the laws and statutes of England." A power was likewise given him, "upon invasion, rebellion, or any sudden emergency, to pass laws with the consent of the assembly only, for raising money, and without transmitting such money bills to his majesty."
April 23. The governor ordered Colonel Long to go to England, and wished others to do so, but forced none else.
May 17. The governor, fearing Colonel Long would not go to England, committed him to prison.
May 27. The Earl of Carlisle sailed for England, leaving Sir Henry Morgan lieutenant-governor.
July 7. Col. Beeston, speaker of the last assembly, sailed for England, and on the 1st of September, when off Seilly, fell in with the Exchange ship, in which the Earl of Carlisle was with all the masts gone, and in want of provisions.
Long and Beeston, after much vexatious treatment, finally carried their point and returned to the island triumphantly. The first died on the 28th June 1683, aged forty-five years, the other was subsequently governor for many years.
Sir Thomas Lynch, governor for the second time, and empowered "with the advice and consent of the council and assembly to frame such laws as should be conducive to his majesty's interest and agreeable to themselves." Several acts were therefore passed in the new style by the Governor, Council and Assembly, of which the long disputed revenue bill for seven years was one.
Colonel Helder Molesworth (afterwards baronet), lieutenant-governor.
Duke of Albermarle, governor
Oct. 6. The Duke of Albemarle died. Sir Francis Watson, as president, assumed the government.
June 3. A letter dated 22d February, received from King William III, announcing that he had ordered lieutenant-governor Molesworth to return to Jamaica, had removed the chief-justice, attorney-general, and provost-marshal, and had restored several members of the council and officers to their places and trusts.
May 31. William, Earl of Inchequin, arrived as captain general and governor in chief.
The first insurrection of importance happened in Clarendon.
Jan. 16. The Earl of Inchequin died. John White, esq. president succeeded.
June 7. Great earthquake which destroyed the town of Port-Royal with three thousand of its inhabitants. "About mid-day a mysterious roar was heard in the distant mountains. - The wharves, ponderous with spoils, sank instantaneously, and the water stood five fathoms deep, where a moment before, the crowded streets had displayed the glittering treasures of Mexico and Peru. The harbour appeared in motion as if agitated by a storm, although no air was stirring: mighty billows rose and fell, with such unaccountable violence, that many ships broke from their cables, and the Swan frigate was forced over the tops of the sunken houses. This afforded a providential refuge for many of the drowning sufferers. Of the whole town, perhaps the richest spot in the world, no more was left than the fort and about two hundred houses. The council was held there that morning, and had but a few minutes adjourned" - Bridges.
President White died a few days after from the injuries he had received and was succeeded by John Bourdon as president.
Sir William Beeston, knight, arrived, having a commission as lieutenant-governor.
June. A descent made by the French under M. Du Casse, who destroyed many plantations in St. Thomas in the East, St. David's, Vere, St. Mary's, and St. George's. By the gallant behaviour of the militia, they were obliged to retire with a computed loss of 700 men. About 100 people of Jamaica, of all colours, were killed and wounded, and 1,300 negroes carried off.
Sir William Beeston confirmed as captain-general and commander-in-chief.
Usher Tyrrell, esq. who was expelled the assembly at the instance of governor Beeston, re-elected for St. James's.
The governor having refused to give any account of large sums of money, books and writings connected with unknown treasurers found after the earthquake, the house refused to proceed to business, was prorogued, and then dissolved.
Jan. Brig-genl. William Selwyn, colonel of the 22d regiment, governor.
April 5. Gov. Selwyn died and Peter Beckford, esq. assumed the government as lieutenant governor.
Admiral Benbow encountered and defeated M. Du Casse. The admiral received a mortal wound and was buried in the Kingston Church.
Jan. 9. Port-Royal again destroyed by a conflagration. With the exception of the royal forts and magazine, not a building was left. The rapid devastation was principally owing to the quantity of gunpowder and other combustibles that were lodged beneath roofs of pitchpine. This ruinous accident caused a second emigration to Kingston. Port Royal long remained a heap of ashes.
Colonel Thomas Handasyd, of the 22nd regiment (afterwards brigadier and major-general) appointed lieutenant-governor.
An assembly convened at Kingston to take into consideration the deplorable condition of the sufferers by the fire.
To encourage the infant town of Kingston, all the houses there were freed from taxes for seven years.
Lieut.-governor Handasyd appointed captain-general and governor-in-chief.
June. Admiral Lord Archibald Hamilton, seventh son of William Douglas, Duke, and Anne, Duchess in her own right of Hamilton, arrived as governor.
Aug. 2. Great storm.
Lord Archibald Hamilton recalled, and Peter Haywood, esq. (a planter) appointed captain-general and governor-in-chief.
Sir Nicholas Lawes, another planter, appointed captain-general and governor-in-chief.
A Spanish force having been reported to be destined for the recapture of the island, martial law was proclaimed.
On account of the diminution of the inhabitants, a measure was suggested to introduce 300 families from Anguilla and the Virgin islands. It partially succeeded and a few were settled in the eastern districts.
The parish of St. Ann suffered severely from the incursions of pirates from Trinidad de Cuba. The house of a proprietor of a considerable settlement, who had fortified it on the beach, and had repeatedly repelled them, was surrounded one night and fire applied to it in all directions, and in the morning nothing remained but the smoking ruins of the house and the ashes of sixteen human beings.
June. A party of Mosquitto Indians arrived top aid in the capture of the rebellious negroes, who were ravaging the county in great force.
Aug. 22. Great storm which injured the fortifications and sank many ships at Port-Royal. It ruined many properties and destroyed much lives; a fatal epidemic ensued. The day has ever since been kept holy.
Dec. 8. Henry, Duke of Portland, arrived as captain general and governor in chief.
Mr. Attorney-General Monk expelled the assembly on a charge of "an infringement of the liberties of the people".
June 4. The Duke of Portland died. The government administered by John Ayscough, esquire, as president.
A dispute arose between president Ayscough and the assembly, upon the privilege of its members being sworn in under their own roof, the president having desired the attendance of the members upon him for that purpose. The privilege of the house prevailed.
President Ayscough, adverting in his speech to the draught of a revenue bill, having declared that the king commanded them to pass it, it was unanimously resolved that this wilful perversion of terms, in denominating that, as his majesty's command, which was only his gracious recommendation, was a gross and dangerous infringement of popular rights, and all further proceedings were staid until satisfaction should be given. Repeated prorogations ensued and at length the president reluctantly produced a letter from the secretary of state to the late duke of Portland, which proved upon him the perversions of the words with which he was charged. The president was subsequently impeached for having "perverted justice while president and chancellor".
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