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Montego Bay History, Jamaica

Montego Bay is the second city of Jamaica, and the capital of the parish of St. James. This city has a long history, which started with the settlement of the Spanish to Montego Bay after 1510.

The reason the Spanish had named the city ‘Bahia de Mantega’ was because of the huge quantities of pig fat they found here, and which they had started exploring the South American and West Indian colonies. It was after the British occupation of Jamaica in 1655 that St. James was included in the second group of Parishes that was started in 1671.

Diversification of land

Basically, Montego Bay remained a small town till the first half of the 18th century. Taxes were exempted here till 1788. It was a little after 1720 that a captain named Jonathan Barnett had divided a part of his sugar cane fields to create Charles Town, Barnett Town and Charles or the Sam Sharpe Square of today. With this diversification of land in Montego Bay, the town started expanding rapidly.

Fort Montego was built on a small cliff, half a mile from Montego Bay, above the then Meager Bay and River Bay. These two bays are no more today as they have been filled for provision of construction of highways and for the expansion of the town. Similarly, numerous forts were constructed along this coast to provide protection from possible invasion from French and Spanish forces, and pirates of the Caribbean Sea.

Renovation of Fort Montego

This Fort Montego was in bad condition in 1752 which is why extensive renovations were carried out on the fort in 1779. With this, the paving, terrace, barrier wall and the powder repository were constructed in the fort.

However, despite all this protection, Montego Bay was never actually invaded, as there was not much of a threat from pirates here. The cannons here are more often fired during the King’s birthday celebrations, or when the Governor visits the town.

Montego Bay, the world’s favorite tourist destination

It was in the 1920s that tourists had started coming to Montego Bay in search of the Garden of Eden located near a sapphire sea. Another lure for tourists was the curative powers of the waters found in Doctor’s Cave Beach. These lures, the many tourist attractions and activities offered in Montego Bay have all made Montego Bay the world’s most sought after tourist destination.

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  • AnonymousVilla Sol de Caribbean
    review by Anonymous posted more then 30 days ago
    Please stay away from Sol de Caribbean Villa in Montego Bay, Jamaica. All our party got food poisoning at villa. The tv, fridge, air conditioner, dishwasher did not work. Bad food preparation which cause a lot of vomitting and diarrhoea during our week stay. Owner did not care and refuse to...
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