World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Alexander Bustamante


Alexander Bustamante

The Right Excellent
Sir Alexander Bustamante
1st Prime Minister of Jamaica
In office
29 April 1962 – 23 February 1967
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor-General Sir Kenneth Blackburne
Sir Clifford Campbell
Succeeded by Sir Donald Sangster
1st Chief Minister of Jamaica
In office
5 May 1953 – 2 February 1955
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor Sir Hugh Foot
Succeeded by Norman Manley
Personal details
Born William Alexander Clarke
(1884-02-24)24 February 1884
Hanover, Jamaica
Died 6 August 1977(1977-08-06) (aged 93)
Irish Town, Jamaica
Nationality Jamaican
Political party Jamaica Labour Party
Spouse(s) Gladys Longbridge (1962–1977; his death)
Religion Roman Catholic

Sir William Alexander Clarke Bustamante, GBE (24 February 1884 – 6 August 1977) was a Jamaican politician and labour leader who became the first prime minister of Jamaica. Bustamante is honoured in Jamaica with the title National Hero of Jamaica in recognition of his achievements.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Marriage and famiily 2
  • Entry into politics 3
  • Bustamante backbone 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and education

He was born as William Alexander Clarke to Mary (née Wilson), of mixed race, and her husband Constantine Clarke, an Irish Roman Catholic planter, in Hanover, Jamaica.[1] He said that he took the surname Bustamante to honour a Spanish sea captain who befriended him in his youth.[2]

After travelling the world, including working as a policeman in Cuba and as a dietician in a New York City hospital, Bustamante returned to Jamaica in 1932.

Marriage and famiily

Bustamante married Gladys Longbridge on 7 September 1962.

Entry into politics

He became a leader in activism against colonial rule. He gained recognition by writing frequent letters on the issues to the Daily Gleaner newspaper. In 1937 he was elected as treasurer of the Jamaica Workers' Union (JWU), which had been founded by labour activist Allan G.S. Coombs. During the 1938 labour rebellion, he quickly became identified as the spokesman for striking workers, who were mostly of African and mixed-race descent. Coombs' JWU became the Bustamante Industrial Trade Union (BITU) after the revolt, and Bustamante became known as "The Chief".

In 1940, he was imprisoned on charges of subversive activities. The widespread anti-colonial activism finally resulted in Parliament's granting universal suffrage in 1944 to Jamaica. Released from prison in 1943, Bustamente founded the Jamaica Labour Party the same year. Previously he had belonged to the People's National Party (founded in 1938 by his cousin Norman Manley). Bustamante's party won 22 of 32 seats in the first House of Representatives elected by universal suffrage. He became the unofficial government leader, representing his party as Minister for Communications, until the position of Chief Minister was created in 1953. He held this position until the JLP was defeated in 1955. In 1947 and 1948, he was elected as mayor of Kingston.

Though initially a supporter of the Federation of the West Indies, during the 1950s, Bustamente gradually opposed the union. He agitated for Jamaica to become independent of Great Britain. He said that the JLP would not contest a by-election to the federal parliament. His rival and cousin, Premier Norman Manley, called a referendum on the issue in 1961; Jamaicans voted for the nation's withdrawal from the Federation.

After Jamaica was granted independence in 1962, Bustamante served as the first Prime Minister until 1967. In 1965, after suffering a stroke, he withdrew from active participation in public life, and the true power was held by his deputy, Donald Sangster.[3]

In 1969, Bustamante was proclaimed a "National Hero of Jamaica", along with Norman Manley, the black liberationist

Government offices
Preceded by
None (New Position) or British Governors of Jamaica
Chief Minister of Jamaica
Succeeded by
Norman Manley
Preceded by
Norman Manley
Prime Minister of Jamaica
Succeeded by
Sir Donald Sangster
  • Alexander Bustamante's biography

External links

  1. ^ "Bustamente's Rise to Prominence", Jamaica , 2 February 2006 Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^
  3. ^ Harris M. Lentz (ed.), "Jamaica: Heads of Government", Heads of States and Governments Since 1945, Routledge, 2013, p. 450.
  4. ^ "Jamaica's National Heroes: Their Legacy 50 Years Later",
  5. ^ "Heritage: Jamaica's National Heroes", Island Buzz Jamaica, 17 October 2011.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Rebecca Tortello "Sweet & dandy - The history of Jamaican sweets", The Gleaner (Jamaica), 7 February 2009
  8. ^ Dictionary of Jamaican EnglishFrederic Gomes Cassidy, Robert Brock Le Page.


A Jamaican candy, the Bustamante backbone, is named for him.[7] It is a hard, grated coconut and sugar confection "which is said to represent his firmness of character." Bustamante was considered a "buster", "a champion of the common man and tough article."[8] Gizzada is a similar sweet.

Bustamante backbone

Bustamante died in 1977 and was buried in the National Heroes Park in Kingston.[6]

coin. Jamaican dollar His portrait graces the $1 [5][4]

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.