War!: The Emerging Society

As sugarcane flourished, the brutality inflicted on the enslaved became increasingly brutal. This was especially true in parishes adjoining St. James, and the exhibition has on display a number of implements of torture used by Whites to intimidate and cause suffering on Black labourers. By the 19th Century, debate among Whites for and against slavery led Blacks to believe their freedom had come. It was here, in western Jamaica, that their struggle came to a head during the 1831 Christmas War, championed by the Black Baptist preacher Sam Sharpe, that culminated in Emancipation being declared in 1838.

A new chapter in Jamaica’s history begins: Montego Bay to the World! tells how Black Jamaicans migrated to the hinterland and developed internal market communities that produced alternative cash crops and craft products to transport them. As sugar declined, many people moved to urban centres for employment, using their skills in order to buy land and independence. Montego Bay was becoming the main port and urban centre of the region and new cash crops, developed first by Blacks, began to find markets locally and abroad. Traditional items are displayed: pottery, baskets, tin utensils and various iron tools among other items. More convenient steamships and railways began serving Montego Bay in the 1860s and opened new markets. Many also took up work abroad, in Panama and Cuba, and expanded further sales opportunities for locally made produce.

Our Sponsors:

  • Tourism Enhancement Fund

  • Institute of Jamaica

  • Montego Bay Cultural Centre

  • Chase Fund Jamaica