August 6, 1962 – Jamaica becomes independent from the United Kingdom.
As World War II came to a close, a sweeping movement of decolonization overtook the world. British Government and local politicians began a long transition of Jamaica from a crown colony into an independent state. The political scene was dominated by PNP and JLP, with the houses of legislature switching hands between the two throughout the 1950s.
After Norman Manley was elected Chief Minister in 1955, he sped up the process of decolonization via several constitutional amendments. These amendments allowed for greater self-government and established a cabinet of ministers under a Prime Minister of Jamaica.
Under Manley, Jamaica entered the West Indies Federation, a political union of colonial Caribbean islands that, if it had survived, would have united ten British colonial territories into a single, independent state. Jamaican’s participation in the Federation was unpopular, and the results of the 1961 West Indies referendum held by Premier Manley cemented the colony’s withdrawal from the union in 1962. The West Indies Federation collapsed later that year following the departure of Trinidad and Tobago.
In the elections of 1962, the JLP defeated the PNP, resulting in the ascension of Alexander Bustamante to the premiership in April of that year. On July 19, 1962, the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed the Jamaica Independence Act, granting independence as of August 6th. On that day, the Union Jack was ceremoniously lowered and replaced by the Jamaican flag throughout the country. Princess Margaret opened the first session of the Parliament of Jamaica on behalf of her sister. The first Jamaica Independence Festival was held. (from Wikipedia)
The stamp pictured nearby (Scott No. 181), was one of many stamps issued by the Postal Corporation of Jamaica celebrating the country’s independence from the U.K.: