one of the largest islands of the West Indies, was discovered by Columbus in 1494, and received in 1514 the name Isle de San Jatyo. In 1560 the native population had become nearly extinct. For a time Jamaica 'remained under the administration of the descendants of Diego, the son of Columbus; subsequently it fell by inheritance to the house of Braganza; in 1655 it was occupied by the English, and in 1670 formally ceded to England, which has ever since retained possession of it. The importation of slaves ceased in 1807, and in 1838 the slaves obtained their entire freedom. The Negro population increased very rapidly, and, according to a census taken in 1861, there were, in a total population of 441,264, only 13,816
whites, mostly English, against 346,374 Negroes and 81,065 mulattoes. The colored population has always complained of being oppressed and ill treated by the former slaveholders, who own nearly the whole of the landed property, and a large number of them have withdrawn from the towns and plantations into the interior of the island, where they have formed a number of new settlements. In October 1865, a Negro insurrection broke out, in the course of which several government buildings were stormed by the insurgents, and a number of plantations plundered. The English governor, Eyre, suppressed the insurrection with a severity which caused his suspension from office, and the appointment of a special commission of investigation. The latter had, however, no practical result and the Queen's Bench, to which the case of governor Eyre had been referred by the jury, declined to institute a trial.
Before the abolition of slavery the planters were in general opposed to the religious instruction of the slaves. In 1754 the Moravian Brethren commenced a mission in Jamaica, encouraged by several of the planters, who presented them an estate called Carmel. Their progress was but slow. From the beginning of the mission to 1804 the number of Negroes baptized was 938. From 1838, when complete liberty was granted to the Negroes, the Moravian mission prospered greatly; and in 1850 the number of souls under the care of the mission at the several stations was estimated at 1300. In 1842 an institution for training native teachers was established. In 1867 the mission numbered 14 churches and chapels, with 11,850 sittings, 9350 attendants at divine worship, and 4460 members. The number of schools was 17, and of scholars 30. The mission of English Wesleyans was commenced by Dr. Coke in 1787. It soon met with violent opposition, and the Legislative Assembly of the island and the town council of Kingston repeatedly passed stringent laws for cutting off the slave population from the attendance of the Wesleyan meetings, and for putting a stop to the labors of the missionaries. From 1807 to 1815 the missionary work was accordingly interrupted, and it was only due to the interference of the home government and the English governors of Jamaica that it could be resumed. But every insurrectionary movement among the Negroes led to a new outcry against the missionaries, in particular the Wesleyan, against whom, at different times, special laws were issued. A great change, however, took place in public opinion after the abolition of slavery, when the House of Assembly of the island and the Common Council of Kingston made grants to aid in the erection of Wesleyan chapels and schools. In 1846 the number of Church members in connection with the Wesleyan mission amounted to 26,585; but from that time it began to decrease, and in 1853 had declined to 19,478. In 1867 the Wesleyans had 75 churches and chapels, with 34,105 sittings, 24,210 attendants of public worship, 26 ministers, 14,661 members, 5107 Sunday-scholars, and 36 day schools, with 2563 scholars. The English Baptists entered upon their mission in Jamaica in 1814. It soon became very prosperous: in 1839 it numbered 21,000. and in 1841, 27,706 members; in 1887, 32,342 members, 144 churches, and 78 out-stations. They have a college at Calabar, with theological instruction. In 1888 the United Presbyterians had in Jamaica 46 churches, 32 ministers, and 8814 members; the United Methodists 10 churches, 9 ministers, and 3403 members. The general religious statistics in 1867 were as follows:
Altogether, the number of persons under religious instruction was estimated in 1867 at 154,000, and the churches and chapels together could seat 174,000 per-sons. Formerly the Church of England was the State church, and was supported by the local Legislature, but in 1868 the state grant was abolished. The island is the see of an Anglican bishop and of a Roman Catholic vicar apostolic. (A. J. S.)