FIRST BAPTIST WAR

BY: Natasha Gregg 

So, every Black History Month, I usually post about significant people throughout our history. This year I’ve elected to do something different. I’ve decided to post about significant rebellions in our history. First up: THE BAPTIST WAR

The Baptist War began peacefully enough on December 25, 1831, when approximately one fifth of Jamaica’s slaves, motivated by the abolitionist movements sweeping across Great Britain, went on a general strike. It was led by Baptist preacher and slave Samuel Sharpe, who demanded that they were to be given basic freedoms and wages before they return to work. The strike turned into an outright rebellion when word spread that the plantocracy’s militia and British forces planned to use force to halt the strike. By the time the rebellion was put down ten days after it began, over one million dollars in property damage was caused when the slaves burned and looted plantations As much as 300 slaves and 14 colonists were killed and Samuel Sharpe and roughly three hundred more slaves were hanged for their involvement in the revolt. Jamaica’s Baptist War would become the largest slave revolt in British West Indian history, with its effects reverberating throughout Great Britain. The British Parliament then held two inquiries after the revolt, and the inquiries’ results were a great contributing factor to Parliament voting to abolish slavery in its colonies via the Slavery Abolition Act in 1833.

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