Sligoville was founded in 1835 as Jamaica’s first free village. It takes its name from Howe Browne’s title as 2nd Marquess of Sligo and is located in the northern portion of St. Catherine. He is claimed to have supported the liberation of Africans in Jamaica.
Sligo was continually arguing with his colleagues in the House Assembly to abolish the apprentice system. Sligoville is the field test for the Free Villages System.
Plantation owners intended to rent out their land to freed slaves rather than sell it. They sought to extend the apprenticeship system as long as possible, even if it would cease in 1840. Black folks got around this by having the Quakers buy the land for them. Following their freedom, the Black Jamaicans started about populating the town.
More land in Sligoville would be purchased for colonization by Jamaican religious leaders. Former slaves quickly purchase land with the intention of creating schools, churches, and dwellings in time for Emancipation. Reverend James Phillipo was in charge of the civic layout and property acquisition.
Sligo was dealing with peers in the House Assembly on the political front. Sligo resigned from his job and returned to Ireland in 1836, unable to deal with the incessant fighting.
Reverend Phillipo communicated apprenticeship system data to Sligo, who relayed them to the House of Lords. As a result, Emancipation occurs two years earlier on August 1, 1838. The effect is an increase in population as emancipated Blacks move into settlements. Sligoville is a success, and several new Free Villages will spring up soon. The town is still in existence today.