10 Epic Moments in Jamaica’s Early History

6. 1968: The Jamaica Festival Commission is formed

The Act of Parliament in September, Act 32 of 1968, broadened the Festival Office’s mandate to encourage the annual Independence Anniversary Celebrations throughout the island, as well as to stimulate the development of local talents.  (Read more)

7.  1969: Jamaica gets its own money

Jamaica got its own currency in 1969, following the switch to a decimal system the year before. The name of major units was to be dollar and minor units, cents. It was strongly felt that Jamaican currency, in addition to depicting aspects of the island’s flora and fauna should have as its most striking feature, images that reflect the ideals of the newly independent country. The Ministry of Finance and the BOJ also decided to have the country’s first two national heroes, the Rt Hon Sir Alexander Bustamante and the Rt Hon Norman Manley, widely regarded as the founding fathers of modern Jamaica, appear on the lower dollar denominations ($1 and $5 respectively) as they were thought to be the ones that would be most widely used. (Read more)

8. September 1980: JCDC is created

In 1980 a Bill was passed in Parliament making The Festival Commission the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC), the name by which it is known today, and a name well suited to its work, which has become integrally entwined with cultural development. Today, the JCDC is also responsible for organizing aspects of the country’s annual Independence celebrations.

9. July 24, 1991: Nelson Mandela visits Jamaica

The date was Wednesday, July 24, 1991. Mandela and his wife, Winnie, received an overwhelming welcome from Jamaicans, and were ushered into a full day’s schedule of activities: the unveiling of a plaque naming Mandela Park in his honour in Half-Way Tree, an address to the House of Representatives and Senate at Gordon House, a wreath-laying ceremony at National Heroes Park, a luncheon with CARICOM heads of government at Vale Royal. (Read more)

10. Jamaica goes to the World Cup in 1998.

It was pandemonium on local soil when Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz qualified for the World Cup Finals in France in 1998. Potcovers, bucket covers, whistles, and anything else that could add to the cacophony came out of the woodworks as Jamaicans celebrated this historic feat. Reggae Boyz coach at the time, Rene Simoes, came in for high praises, as well as the current president of the Jamaica Football Federation, Captain Horace Burrell. It was the first time the nation’s football team was qualifying for a World Cup final, and for days afterward, the delight and euphoria of football lovers in the country were palpable.