1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Jamaica (New York)
JAMAICA, formerly a village of Queens county, Long Island, New York, U.S.A., but after the 1st of January 1898 a part of the borough of Queens, New York City. Pop. (1890) 5361. It is served by the Long Island railroad, the lines of which from Brooklyn and Manhattan meet here and then separate to serve the different regions of the island. King’s Park (about 10 acres) comprises the estate of John Alsop King (1788-1867), governor of New York in 1857-1859, from whose heirs in 1897 the land was purchased by the village trustees. In South Jamaica there is a race track, at which meetings are held in the spring and autumn. The headquarters of the Queens Borough Department of Public Works and Police are in the Jamaica town-hall, and Jamaica is the seat of a city training school for teachers (until 1905 one of the New York State normal schools). For two guns, a coat, and a quantity of powder and lead, several New Englanders obtained from the Indians a deed for a tract of land here in September 1655. In March 1657 they received permission from Governor Stuyvesant to found a town, which was chartered in 1660 and was named Rustdorp by Stuyvesant, but the English called it Jamaica; it was rechartered in 1666, 1686 and 1788. The village was incorporated in 1814 and reincorporated in 1855. In 1665 it was made the seat of justice of the north riding; in 1683-1788 it was the shire town of Queens county. With Hempstead, Gravesend, Newtown and Flushing, also towns of New England origin and type, Jamaica was early disaffected towards the provincial government of New York. In 1669 these towns complained that they had no representation in a popular assembly, and in 1670 they protested against taxation without representation. The founders of Jamaica were mostly Presbyterians, and they organized one of the first Presbyterian churches in America. At the beginning of the War of Independence Jamaica was under the control of Loyalists; after the defeat of the Americans in the battle of Long Island (27th August 1776) it was occupied by the British; and until the end of the war it was the headquarters of General Oliver Delancey, who had command of all Long Island.
- In June 1908 the subway lines of the interborough system of New York City were extended to the Flatbush (Brooklyn) station of the Long Island railroad, thus bringing Jamaica into direct connexion with Manhattan borough by way of the East river tunnel, completed in the same year.