Famous Foreigners

In this section, find excerpts and links to The Gleaner's Special Series: Pieces Of The Past authored by Dr. Rebecca Tortello in 2003.  Where applicable, updated information can be found throughout the site.


Captivated: Sir Hans Sloane, His Passion For Jamaica  

Sloane's sojourn in Jamaica can also be indirectly credited with introducing Europe to the pleasures of eating chocolate. Whilst there, Sloane became fond of a local drink known as cocoa. At first he couldn't abide its bitter taste, but found it pleasing once mixed with milk. He took the recipe home to England and soon many apothecaries (druggists) were manufacturing it as a medicine known as "Sir Hans Sloane's Milk Chocolate". The recipe was eventually taken up by the Messrs. Cadbury in the 19th century and … (READ MORE)


Henry Morgan: The Pirate King

Buccaneer and pirate, admiral and general, country gentleman and planter, custos and judge of the court of Vice-Admiralty, governor and knight ­ all are titles held by Morgan during his colourful lifetime. Jamaica in the second half of the 17th century was a pirate haven. Known for plunder and trade, the island's port town of Port Royal (aptly located at the entry to Kingston Harbour) was home to many of these "brethren of the coast". It was at that time that one pirate in particular rose to prominence ­ the Welshman, Henry Morgan. Famed for.. (READ MORE)


Mistresses Of The Sea: Female Pirates – Mary Read + Anne Bonny

As shocked as people were by Rackham's capture, nothing prepared them for the surprise that was to come at the court of St. Jago de la Vega (now Spanish Town). Two members of Rackham's crew were women — the same two that had put up such a magnificent last stand against Capt. Barnet and his men. Their names were Mary Read and Anne Bonny. Today they are remembered as… (READ MORE)


Lewis Hutchinson: The Mad Master

To those passers-by of today it may seem like nothing more than an old ruin, yet those old stones bear the burden of one of the most evil pieces of Jamaica's history ­ the story of Lewis Hutchison, said to be the most feared and hated man of his day.  Hutchison, known better as the Mad Master of Edinburgh Castle, was… (READ MORE)


In This Place Dwelt Horatio Nelson

Widely considered one of Britain's greatest heroes, thousands of books have been written and numerous films have been made about Nelson. Killed in battle close to two centuries ago, his legend lives on ­ no small feat for a slight man of average height (5'6"), with a narrow chest, spindly legs and sickly constitution (he never recovered after catching malaria as a teen). What Nelson had in abundance was courage. He never… (READ MORE)


A Cultural Explication Of Empire: Lady Nugent's Journal

Lady Maria Nugent's Journal, written during her stay on the island from 1801-1807 as the wife of Governor General George Nugent, is perhaps one of the most intriguing primary sources of Jamaican history available today. Recently re-released…(READ MORE)


Captivated By Jamaica: Noel Coward, Errol Flynn, Ian Fleming

A friend of Ian Fleming and Errol Flynn, British-born playwright, songwriter and actor, Noel Coward first visited Jamaica on a two-week holiday in 1944. He was 43 years old, an accomplished playwright with dozens of plays to his credit and an Oscar nomination for Best Writer for the film "In Which We Serve" (1942) under his belt. Coward quickly fell in love with Jamaica and he returned to … (READ MORE)

Flynn dubbed Port Antonio heaven on earth and brought his third wife stage and screen actress Patrice Wymore to live therewith himin the 1950s. They adopted the town as their own and were often seen … (READ MORE)

In July 1943 Fleming visited Jamaica for a naval conference (the British were concerned about the potential presence of Nazi U-Boats in Caribbean waters) and fell in love with the island's tropical beauty. Sad to leave when the time came, he told himself he would…(READ MORE)


Katherine Dunham – Matriarch Of Modern Dance

Katherine Dunham's life is the stuff of legend. Widely recognized as the matriarch of black American dance, in the 1930s Dunham skillfully blended the discipline of cultural anthropology with the medium of dance to create an entirely new form of movement….While living with the Accompong Maroons, in standard ethnographic practice, Dunham kept a journal and recorded her daily observations and experiences. She had to… (READ MORE)



Simon Bolivar: El Liberatador

While in Jamaica, Simon Bolivar wrote the now famous "Letter from Jamaica" in which he expressed his ideas for republican government and Latin American unity. Widely recognized as an important political doctrine the letter was actually titled, "Reply of a South American to a Gentleman of this Island." It was Bolivar's lengthy response to… (READ MORE)


June 20 1965: Martin Luther King Jr. Visits Jamaica

You could say that it was Anthony Allen's dream to have the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King visit Jamaica. Allen, then a medical student at the University of the West Indies (UWI), and a member of the Chapel Management Committee, was one of those who nominated Dr. King to deliver the sermon at the 1965 valedictory service. On the afternoon of Sunday, June 20, 1965 that dream came true, as the Rev. Dr. King arrived in Jamaica along with his wife, Coretta….(READ MORE)


All Hail: The State Visit Of Emperor Haile Selassie I

The hear that rose from the tarmac of Kingston's Norman Manley International Airport was nothing compared to the level of expectation that was seeping through the thousands gathered on the tarmac that 21st day of April, 1966. The day was declared a public holiday in honour of the Emperor and people had started arriving from … (READ MORE)


Frazier vs. Foreman On The Sunshine Island 1973

Foreman and Frazier were two very different fighters. Foreman fought flat out, all guns full steam ahead, while Frazier, kept his left hook ready, waited and took blows, hoping to wear down his opponents. On the night of January 22, 1973, both men fought true to form…(READ MORE)