• The Jamaica Archives and Records Department
  • The Jamaica Archives and Records Department
  • The Jamaica Archives and Records Department


The Jamaica Archives and Records Department is a Department of the Office of the Prime Minister, and is governed by the Archives Act, 1982 and the Archives (Official Records) Regulations, 1988.  The Department consists of the:

Archives Unit
Audiovisual Archives Unit
Government Records Centre
Office of the Government Archivist


History of the Department

The Jamaica Archives and Records Department had its beginnings in the Island Secretary’s Office (ISO) established in 1659 as the administrative and record keeping arm of the Colonial Government.  The Island Secretary’s Office was dismantled in 1879 and some of its functions transferred to the Island Records Office (IRO) in Spanish Town under the Records Law of that year.  As a Government Department, the Jamaica Archives began in 1955 with the establishment of an Archives Section in the Island Records Office and the appointment of Clinton Black as government archivist, the first such appointment in the Commonwealth Caribbean.  Some of the records transferred to IRO in 1879 became the holdings of the Archives Section and in 1962 were amalgamated with the historical records of the law courts to form the Jamaica Archives.  During that year the records in the Archives Section was moved to the new building specifically erected to house them at the corner of King and Manchester Streets, Spanish Town. 



Headed by the Government Archivist, the Department operates from three (3) Units – the Archives Unit, the Audiovisual Unit and the Government Records Centre, each playing a separate role to fulfill the Mission of the Department.

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  • Last modified:October 22, 2013
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