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Introduction

According to the oxford students dictionary Integral is forming an essential part, necessary to make something complete WHILE Dismantling is putting an end to an act or something. 1 The 1831 Christmas Rebellion, Jamaica took place in the parish St. James. Baptiste war as it was also called, started in St.James and spread throughout the entire island. The rebellion began on December 28 and lasted for eight (8) days. The event started when the Kensington Estate Great House was burnt down, and over the following days, more estates were burnt down, crops destroyed, and a number of whites were killed. The retribution that followed was swift; up to 500 slaves were executed after trial. Sam Sharpe named as the instigator, was eventually captured and hung at parade in Montego Bay, now renamed Sam Sharpes square. His plan of passive resistance, where the slaves would refuse to work on Christmas day unless their grievances about their working conditions were acknowledge by the plantation owners, accelerated into a full scale rebellion. The Christmas Rebellion of 1831 was a key event in the fight for the abolition of slavery. Just a few years later, the beginning of Sam Sharpes dream would be realized, when 1834 slavery would be abolished, and the system of Apprenticeship thereby granting full freedom to the slaves. I strongly believe that the 1831 Christmas Rebellion in St. James, Jamaica led to the end of slavery because emancipation was granted approximately three (3) years later (1834). The researcher chose this topic (the 1831 Christmas rebellion) because one of Jamaicas National Heroes, Samuel Sharpe, featured prominently in this insurrection and one wants to find

out the depth of his role as well as to ascertain if Samuel Sharpes role in the Christmas Rebellion was enough to award him the status of national hero.

The Christmas Rebellion was devastating to the system of slavery as it led to a reduction in the production of sugar. The 1831 Christmas Rebellion was a major cause that helped in lowering the output of sugar which eventually led to the end of slavery, (black 1965). The mismanagement of the product (sugar) and the 1831 Christmas Rebellion also caused the price of sugar to increase rapidly. It is even free to utter that slavery was no longer considered that great significance since the chief source of income was pressured. The table below validates this point.

Sugar Production
Before 1831 Revolt After 1831 Revolt

Some 70,000 tons of sugar.

Less than 40,000 tons of sugar.

Table 1: Comparison of Sugar Production before and after the 1831 Rebellion in Jamaica. Source: [National Library]

The fury of the slaves in the 1831 Rebellion was evident in the destruction that ensued and the planters got the message. The damages that was done to the Kensington Estate House been burnt down, over the following days, more estates were burnt, crops destroyed and a number of whites were killed. The death toll was immense and it led to fear and tension especially among the whites.

Belligerents Strength Casualties

Whites settlers

unknown

14 killed

Rebel slaves

60,000

207 killed

Table 2: Statistics on number of death. Source: [National Library]

One does not believed that the planters/ whites did not perceive that the blacks could behave in such a barbaric manner. They knew the blacks had it in them but had become complacent or had been fooled into thinking that their years of psychological and other forms of control had led to almost complete subset on the part of the slaves.

The uprising in Jamaica was the largest in terms of enslaved person involved demonstrate that slavery could no longer be sustained in the colony. According to Jamaica Information Service the 1831 strike grew into one of the largest slave rebellions ever experienced in Jamaica and proven to be the last. Surely, slaves in Jamaica had rebelled before but not to the extent described in the 1831 rebellion. In my opinion, the one main factor that fuelled this revolt was the talk of emancipation. Slaves had not reacted like this before because emancipation had appeared hard, almost impossible to attain but then legal charges were to being made and the slaves knew this. They wanted freedom this time more than anything else because emancipation was one of the greatest dreams of the slaves. They wanted to be free from the planters and they did. The slaves were freed in 1834.

The 1831 rebellion took place due to the fact that there was a constant state of tension in the Caribbean between enslaved workers and those who governed the island. According to the Caribbean History for CSEC these people were severely and barbarously treated by their masters, who.. Beat them inhumanely, as may be seen by the scabs and wounds on the bodies of them when sold to us. They scarcely allow them the least rags to cover their nakedness. 2 The British Law (police law) directly addressed issues of punishment for slaves and masters responsibilities. Did the planters and other whites abide by the codes? There is some evidence to substantiate claims of abuse the high death rate cannot just be attributed to overwork. In my opinion, the main factor that triggered the revolt was the desire for freedom and the planters unwillingness to recognize that the time had come to free their slaves. By the time the rebellion was over, however, the reality was even more starking that slavery could not go on indefinitely.

The Non- Conformist missionaries were blamed for the revolt as planters believed that they were the ones responsible for the rebellion of the slaves. Baptist, Wesleyans, Moravians Methodist and other Christian denominations attempted to preach the equality of man. Whites planters and the enslaved populations distrusted them. The whites felt they preached a message of rebellion. The enslaved Africans never heard whites speak on their behalf in such a manner. The Non- Conformist missionaries now made various reports to their control bodies in England. These reports indicated the extremely repressive conditions of the enslaved populations drew to sympathy for the plight of the blacks. A warning was revealed from the kings office in form of a letter. It was to let the slaves know that what they were doing was condemned and the slaves involved would be punished. They suggested that they should surrender because they were misled by the missionaries, and if they failed to do so they would be put to death. But this did not stop brave man like Sam Sharpe who believed that if the fight for freedom meant death, they were willing to die. 3