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Sir Alexander Bustamante

Bustamante, Sir Alexander (bŭsˌtəmănˈtē) [key], 1884–1977, prime minister of Jamaica (1962–67). Born William Alexander Clarke, the son of an Irish father and a Jamaican mother, he was adopted and taken to Spain as a child. He joined the Spanish army, then traveled extensively, working at a wide variety of jobs. Returning to Jamaica in 1932, he became active in the labor movement, gaining prominence with his flaming oratory, and founded the country's largest trade union. After being jailed (1941–42) as a rabble-rouser, he formed (1943) the Jamaica Labour party, a relatively conservative group that attracted right-wing support. He was chief minister (1953–55) and became prime minister in Apr., 1962; independence within the Commonwealth of Nations was achieved that August. A flamboyant leader, he maintained close relations with the United States and launched an ambitious five-year program of public works and land reform. Illness led him to retire from politics in 1967. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1955.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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