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CrazyFruits » WELCOME TO CRAZY FRUITS BOOK CLUB » University Jamaica: History Of The West Indies University) At Mona Camp In Jamaica

University Jamaica: History Of The West Indies University) At Mona Camp In Jamaica

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The University of the West Indies UWI was founded at the unique Mona campus in 1939 and was first known as the Gibralta camp, because, The founding university in Jamaica was used by evacuated Gibraltarians during world war 11.
It is Situated at Mona, about five miles from Kingston, Jamaica,In the developing phase it was Modeled after the UOF during a  special relationship with the University of London.  The original campus was a branch of the University of London,It became a  prestigious research university, committed to quality in teaching, research, economic development and Caribbean culture. The UWI enrolled its first set of students in 1948; They were the first undergraduates of thirty three medical students from across the regions of several West Indies colonies.

Medicine was  introduced in 1949 and in 1950 Arts was added,eventually the university was teaching subjects of various degrees;the physical campus has faculties common to all campuses, such as Humanities,Law, Education and Social Sciences& Technology. It has fully developed into a modern Institute and The University of the West Indies as a degree-granting institution was passed. Today, The UWI is the region’s premier educational institution, with faculties offering a wide range of undergraduate, masters and doctoral programmes in Technology, Science and Agriculture, Engineering, Law, Medical Sciences and Social Sciences. It has 300 disciplines and makes educational opportunities more accessible to both traditional and professional students.

Historic Site

The campus was chosen for its fresh mountain air and green  location, a highland in the arms of the mountains on the outskirts of the city of Kingston, and also because it came with essential and usable accommodation built during World War II (1939 – 1945) when the site was a wartime camp. Gibraltar Camp as it was known, offered refuge to evacuees from the British island fortress of Gibraltar at the tip of Spain and, eventually, to Jewish refugees marooned in Spain and Portugal. There was even a civilian internment camp on the site in 1943. The barracks style buildings constructed to house these long-stay visitors became the university’s offices, lecture rooms, laboratories, halls of residence and recreational and other facilities, before the construction of new buildings started in the early 1950s.

At the end of the war in 1944, the refugees known as Gibraltarians, by then numbering close to 2,000, some of them departed on a ship Those who had married Jamaicans  took their wives with them.
Some of the Ashkenazi Jewish refugees have sad memories of the camp;Although they were welcomed they were expecting a bit more from the Jamaican Shepardic Jewish community. ­ This lack of interest may be as a result of the fact that the refugees were Ashkenazi Jews who did not speak English, and the Jamaican Jews were Sephardic,and Some of the Ashkenazi Jewish refugee  left for Cuba.

There were other internment camps in Jamaica during World War II. At Up Park Camp, for example, there was a prisoner of war (POW) camp where German and Italian POWs (mainly merchant seamen) were held.The Mona Rehabilitation Centre, located near to the UWI, and the Gibraltar Camp Bell, used to signal meals and gatherings and now part of the UWI's new Sculpture Park, are also reminders of a bygone age.

Following the end of the war 11 , the Colonial Office closed down the camp, and a part of it was used as an Ex-Servicemen's Training School until 1947, when the camp buildings and some 650 acres of the combined Papine and Mona estates were handed over to form the new University College of the West Indies.

Queen Elizabeth is welcomed to the Mona Campus, 1953, WIC, Mona Library

Early undergraduates in Jamaica

The University of the West Indies Mona, Gibraltar Camp Chemistry Laboratory.


The past remains visible across  the foundation site in Jamaica which is the Mona campus, A number of heritage signs and monuments call attention to the material remnants of the site’s varied history. These include cut stone Roman style aqueducts, an 18th century building re-purposed as a Chapel and much more.

The UWI Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms is a brown Pelican which can be found along the coasts of all Caribbean countries. It is a symbol of care for the young because of the belief that it is very nurturing.






The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shing.

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