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On This Day In 1962: Jamaica Accepts Motto ‘Out Of Many, One People’

By Leah Freeman-Haskin

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On this day, April 3, 1962, Jamaica took the motto ‘out of many, one people’ in celebration of their impending independence. The act replaced the previous Latin motto ‘Indus uterque serviet uni’ which means ‘the Indians twain shall serve one Lord.’ The country felt that motto no longer served modern Jamaica.

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According to jamaicaobserver.com the motto reflects the diversity of the Jamaican people, a mix of different races, cultures and religions.

RELATED: The Cultural Significance Of Buju Banton In Jamaica And Beyond

The new motto was inscribed on the Coat of Arms which also shows a male and female member of the Taino tribe standing on either side of a shield which bears a red cross with five golden pineapples. The crest shows a Jamaican crocodile mounted on the Royal Helmet of the British Monarchy and mantling.

jis.gov.jm

Four months after the new motto was accepted by the Premier and Cabinet Leader of the Opposition, at midnight on August 5, 1962, the British flag was lowered and the Jamaican flag was raised, symbolizing the new independent nation of Jamaica. The following day, August 6, has become a public holiday and the national day of celebration of the country’s independence from 1962 onward.

Though the motto still stands today, some outlets dispute whether its significance still rings true, arguing that the current level of violence and discrimination among classes and neighborhoods contradicts the sense of unity that the motto implies. Nonetheless, Jamaica’s independence and new motto marked a monumental moment in the country’s rich and turbulent history. 

RELATED: Jamaica On A Budget: Local Restaurants, Clubs, & Must-Visit Shops

For more information, check out this timeline for a look at Jamaica’s long fight toward independence.

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