National Heroes’ Day of Jamaica which takes place every third Monday of October, is a public holiday that honors some of the greatest names of the nation. This year, it takes place on October 17. Every country has extraordinary citizens who stand out as an inspiration, and Jamaica has seven such names that serve as ideals for the youth even today. This includes scholars, businessmen, leaders, and other individuals that aided in the progress and freedom of Jamaica. Find out more about the seven national heroes and pay them the tribute they deserve.
History of National Heroes' Day of Jamaica
Every nation has heroes of its own that are remembered for their excellent service in the healthcare sector, the army, or education. Some figures are remembered for their political activity or humanitarian services. Then some are exemplary musicians, artists, or athletes that performed remarkably in their field.
The National Heroes Day of Jamaica is an amalgamation of many such individuals. The celebration of the day first started in 1969 in the honor of these great individuals among which was Sir Alexander Bustamante, Jamaica’s first prime minister. From there on, the people of the nation conferred this award to six more individuals who were considered the national heroes of the region and would be remembered for years to come.
The list includes Paul Bogle, a Baptist who brought forward the teachings of the Bible and preached the message of peace over violence. He was also a leader who educated the people and led many rebellions in the search of freedom. Samuel Sharpe also became famous for the 1832 Baptist War slave rebellion he led in Jamaica.
Then there was Marcus Garvey, a man who had gained international recognition for seeking the rights of all Blacks. He established the Universal Negro Improvement Association and spoke out against cultural and economic exploitation of the Black community.
Likewise, a businessman George William Gordon made the list for his role in politics, and the education, health, local government, banking, and infrastructure reforms he pushed the British government for. Though a businessman, his execution by the then Jamaican Governor, Edward Eyre led to a huge dispute in Britain.
The last two additions to the list of seven national heroes are Queen Nanny, a woman who was the leader of the Jamaican Maroons. She was declared a national hero by the Jamaican government in 1975 to honor her success as a strategist, military tactician, and leader. Her image is placed on the Jamaican $500 note.
Norman Washington Manley, a scholar, and famous Jamaican lawyer. He was also an advocate of universal suffrage and was appointed as the first premier of Jamaica on August 14, 1959.
National Heroes' Day of Jamaica timeline
Jamaica is captured by the British alongside expelling the Spanish.
Riots begin against the British racial policies and wealth inequalities.
Jamaica becomes independent within the British Commonwealth on August 6, 1962
Andrew Holness made history by accomplishing a second consecutive win for the Jamaica Labour Party.
National Heroes' Day of Jamaica FAQs
Who is the oldest National Hero of Jamaica?
George William Gordon (1820-1865).
How are national heroes selected in Jamaica?
The Order of National Hero is given only to Jamaican citizens for “services of the most distinguished nature” to the nation.
Is Bob Marley a National Hero?
He never led any physical or violent rebellions like the national heroes but he was a reggae pioneer.
How to Observe National Heroes' Day of Jamaica
Research about the heroes
Who were the national heroes before they started fighting for Jamaica’s independence? How did they lead their lives and what motivated them to fight for the country? Find out all that you can and share it with your peers.
Take the kids to a museum
To celebrate the day, take the kids to a museum that focuses on the history of Jamaica. See how the nation gained independence and the struggles of the national heroes.
Print colorful and creative shirts with photos of the national heroes on them. You can either distribute them for free or sell them at a cheap cost.
5 Captivating Facts About Jamaica
Home of the Olympic Champions
Jamaica is home to some of the fastest sprinters in the world.
Reggae stars from Jamaica
Celebrities like Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Shaggy, and Sean Paul hail from Jamaica.
World's rarest coffee
Jamaica has one of the world’s rarest and most expensive coffees known as Blue Mountain coffee.
About 326 bird species are found in Jamaica.
Jamaica and butterflies
The country is home to one of the largest butterflies in the world.
Why National Heroes' Day of Jamaica is Important
A glimpse of history
Celebrating this day gives an insight into the history of Jamaica and how these brave heroes fought and sacrificed for their beloved country. It’s always enlightening to take a look back and learn about the heroes.
It is inspirational
The day is important because it talks about the sacrifices some heroes made to help Jamaica achieve independence. Some of these heroes led comfortable lives, but they chose to be a part of a rebellion and reformation.
Honors those who deserve it
We love the day because it honors the seven heroes that contributed to real change in Jamaica. Without their efforts, fearlessness, and courage, freedom may have been impossible.
National Heroes' Day of Jamaica dates