Saint Ann then and now

Saint Ann is about 1212 km square with a population of approximately 173,000.00 (JIS) and is one of the largest, most beautiful and historic parishes of Jamaica. It was named Santa Ana by the spaniards. It's is also known as “The garden Parish” . This is because of its natural beauty. It’s in this Parish that Christopher Columbus first set foot on Jamaican soil. Columbus spent a whole year on this coast. This was the longest time and in one place on any of his voyages to the new world. The first capital of Jamaica Sevilla La Nueva, was built in Saint Ann. It was one of the earliest European settlements in the Americas. The first enslaved Africans to come to Jamaica also landed in this Parish. They were body servants to the Spaniards.Saint Ann is one of the places where the famous pimento or allspice grows. It  is also one of the principal areas of bauxite mining in the world and contains the important tourist resort town of Ocho Rios. In the earlier times there was a great deal of traffic between Saint Ann and the south coast of Cuba. Animals were transported in small vessels.These included cattle and mules.

The Old Fort in Saint Ann’s Bay was constructed in 1750 with stones taken from Seville. This fort was declared useless in 1795 because of encroachment from the sea. A new fort was built at Windsor Point on the opposite side of the bay. The Old Fort was adapted as a jail and a house of correction for the enslaved africans. The jail had solitary cells, a thread mill, a room for lunatics, a room for debtors, a hospital and a jailor’s quarters. A traveler visited the island in 1850 and he found that the jail had been closed for 6 months for lack of patronage. At that time he reported that there was no burglary, brigandage or highway robbery, in even the most unsettled parts of the island [Clander, 1850, wright and white 1969]. The bay was originally call Santa Gloria by Columbus. Cotter’s wharf at the end of Bravo Street was used in the filming of the famous James Bond Dr. No

The courthouse was erected in 1860. Previously, the courthouse and the church shared the same building.This was the time when there was a close alliance between church and state. Religious conflict reached its height in the parish in the 19th century. At the center of the controversy was the Reverend George Wilson Bridges, Anglican Rector of Saint Ann from 1823 to 1837 who was violently opposed to the emancipation of the enslaved africans and became a leading Light in anti-missionary organization called Colonial Church Union. In Saint Ann, Bridges lived first at Tydenham some miles out of the town and there he bought a property called Cloisters on the Windsor Hill, overlooking the bay. In a strange twist of fate The Cloisters ended up as the property of the Wesleyans, one of the missions was attacked  and shot up by an armed mob in the anti-missionary riot.

National hero Marcus Garvey spent much of his childhood next door to The Cloisters at Windsor Hill. His father was mason and a member of the Wesleyan Church. There is a statue of Marcus Garvey in front of the Saint Ann Parish Library. Some of the major towns in St Ann are:  St Ann's Bay, Ocho Rios, Runaway Bay, Brown’s Town, Moneague, Claremont, Alexandria and Discovery Bay. The parish is a huge tourists destination. The population of Ocho Rios is over 16,600 (Population Census 2011). There are many attractions, entertainment and hotels/guest houses in the parish. These attractions include Dunn's River Falls, Dolphin Cove, Mystic Mountain,Konoko falls, H’Evans Scent among others. The guest houses and hotels include Riu MammeeBay,  Sandals Ocho rios,  Moon Palace Jamaica Grande, Jewels Dunn’s River, Shaw Park Beach Hotel, Grande Bahia Principe Runaway Bay and many more.

Some of the places for entertainment include, Island Village( there is a theatre ), Ocean eleven, John Crow’s Tavern, Turtle River Park,Bobsled at Mystic Mountain, Ocho Rios Jerk Center and many more. All the hotels provide a wide range of entertainment.

Some of the places to dine in Ocho Rios are Evita’s, Miss T’s Kitchen, SanMar, My Favourite Place, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut, Domino Pizza, Mongoose Restaurant, Sakura, Juicy Patty, Mothers, Island Grill and many more.

Places of worship are everywhere. Many of the churches in the town of Ocho Rios are on Plazas. The established churches are also there. Some of these churches include, Baptist, Anglican, Methodist, Pentecostals, Adventist, Mormons, Orthodox and many more.  

My channel

Saint Ann is a wonderful place to be. It has a long, colourful and rich history. From the Taino to the Spanish to the British and now to the Africans. Bye the was Bob Marley and Burning Spear are from this parish. One Love. [parts are excerpts from the Encyclopedia of Jamaica Heritage, Oliver Senior]

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