Do you ever wonder how much of our Jamaican history many of us just don’t know about? Save for our annual Festival celebrations, it sometimes seems that we are quickly becoming a nation which has forgotten its roots. However, there are many places around the island that showcase Jamaica’s rich history and can teach the younger generation a lot about the country’s colourful past. Here are 5 Jamaican historic sites that will give you a glimpse of the Jamaica that once existed in the time of our ancestors.
Devon House, located in the parish of St. Andrew, features a historic building with 19th century architecture. The former domestic mansion has been beautifully restored and is home to exquisitely designed rooms and a variety of Caribbean, English and French antique furniture. Presently, it is more than just a historic site but also a place of attraction and relaxation. A visit to the grounds of Devon House promises to help you discover Jamaica as well as provide an incomparable shopping experience with authentic Jamaican craft items and the world famous Devon House ice cream.
Morant Bay Courthouse
The Morant Bay Courthouse stands as an important reminder of one of the most poignant events in the country’s past. It was the scene of the infamous Morant Bay Rebellion and where National Hero, Paul Bogle, was subsequently hanged for his role in the uprising. Tragically, most of the main structure was destroyed by fire in 2007 leaving only the brick walls and a statue of Paul Bogle which stood at the front of the courthouse. Recently, the courthouse has been refurbished and stands as an historic site to help individuals understand the roles of Bogle and others in the rebellion.
National Heroes Park
The National Heroes Park in Kingston, popularly known for its shrine of monuments for Jamaica’s National Heroes, has a number of historical ties to the country. It was once one of the most popular areas in the country where people used to gather for entertainment such as cricket and cycle racing. It was also the site of grand celebrations that marked the beginning of apprenticeship in 1838 and, in recent times, has become the home of the Cenotaph which honours those who died in World Wars 1 and 11.
Rose Hall Great House
Situated on the hills of the Rose Hall Estate in Montego Bay, St. James is the infamous Rose Hall Great House, featuring a spectacular view of the Caribbean Sea. The Georgian style building gained renowned fame for the legend surrounding its former owner, the cruel slave master, Annie Palmer. A visit to the great house includes a tour of the building and Annie Palmer’s tomb, and the recounting of wild tales told by former guest who swear that Palmer’s ghost still roams the property today. Visitors are also welcomed to shop at the gift shops and snack counters.
Spanish Town Square
Originally called Villa de la Vega then later St. Jago de la Vega, Spanish Town was the first capital town of Jamaica. Developed by the English after they overthrew the original Spanish settlers, Spanish Town boasts the title of being the most exquisite example of Georgian architecture in the West Indies. A tour of the square reveals the historical relics of centuries past including the courthouse, the House of Assembly and King’s House, the official residence of the then Governor of the island.