The Killing Time

The Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica

  • Author(s): Heuman, Gad
  • Series:
  • Imprint: Univ Tennessee Press
  • Publication Date: 1995-01-20
  • Status: Active
  • Available in Paper: Price $25.95 | Buy Now

The Killing Time is the first full-length study of the Morant Bay Rebellion in Jamaica—an event that transformed the political system of the island and marked a watershed in Caribbean history.

On October 11, 1865, several hundred black people marched into the town of Morant Bay, capital of the sugar-growing parish of St. Thomas. They pillaged the police station for weapons and confronted the local militia. In the fighting that followed, the crowd killed eighteen and wounded thirty-one; seven of its own members also died. Over the next few days, additional disturbances spread throughout the parish. The brutal suppression of the rebellion led to the deaths of nearly five hundred, the recall and attempted trial of the governor in England, and the drastic reorganization of the island’s system of government.
For this meticulously detailed work, Gad Heuman draws on a variety of sources, including the massive evidence collected by the Jamaican Royal Commission, colonial office correspondence, missionary reports, and contemporary accounts. He explores in depth the political, social, and economic injustices that sparked the rebellion as well as the historical implications of the far-reaching changes it effected. The result is a book that will prove invaluable for those studying post-emancipation trends, the dynamics of colonial rule, and the nature of popular revolt.

Gad Heuman teaches in the Department of the History and is a member of the Centre for Caribbean Studies at the University of Warwick in England. He is the author of Between Black and White: Race, Politics, and the Free Coloureds in Jamaica and co-editor of Labour in the Caribbean: From Emancipation to Independence.