Kingston Commonwealth Walkway

Jamaica / Americas

Jamaica is an island country of the West Indies. It is the third largest country in the Caribbean Sea.  It has a lush topography of mountains, rainforests and reef-lined beaches.  It was originally inhabited by the indigenous Taino people.  It came under Spanish rule when Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) arrived in 1494 and was then called Santiago.  It was conquered by the British in 1655, who renamed it Jamaica.  The British fully emancipated all slaves in 1838.  Jamaica was granted Independence on 5 August 1962, HRH The Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon (1930-2002) representing The Queen.  Sir Kenneth Blackburne (1907-80) became Governor-General. Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Jamaica, a constitutional monarchy, and, as such, continues to play an important ceremonial and symbolic role in Jamaican life. In all of her official duties relating to Jamaica, The Queen speaks and acts as Queen of Jamaica, quite distinct from her role in the UK.  Over the years there have been various moves to make Jamaica a republic, but to date this has not happened. Kingston: Kingston is the capital city and chief port, sprawling along the south-eastern coast of the island, backed by the Blue Mountains.  It is famous for its fine natural harbour, which is protected by the Palisadoes, a narrow peninsula which has been developed as a recreational and tourist resort.  It was founded in 1692 after Port Royal, at the mouth of the harbour, was destroyed by an earthquake.  The core of the old city is a consciously planned rectangle with streets in a grid pattern.  In 1703 the city became the commercial capital, and in 1872 the political capital.  On several occasions it was almost destroyed by fire, and in January 1907 it suffered a violent earthquake.  In the main streets, modern buildings contrast sharply with the decaying architectural relics of former centuries.

3.1 miles / 5 kilometres

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What to see

  • Photograph of Princess Margaret in Jamaica February 1955
  • Photograph of PM with her great aunt Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone

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