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Westmoreland Parish

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Westmoreland
Jamaica-Westmoreland.png
Location 18°14′N 78°09′W / 18.233°N 78.150°W / 18.233; -78.150Coordinates: 18°14′N 78°09′W / 18.233°N 78.150°W / 18.233; -78.150{{#coordinates:18|14|N|78|09|W|region:JM_type:adm1st_source:GNS-enwiki primary name=

}}

Capital Town Savanna-la-Mar
County Cornwall
Official language English
Recognised parish language Spanish
Area 807 square km
Rank Jamaica's eighth largest parish
Population 141,000 in 2001
Commerce Tourism, Agriculture
Manufacturing

Westmoreland is the westernmost parish in Jamaica, located on the south side of the island. It is situated to the south of Hanover, the southwest of Saint James, and the northwest of Saint Elizabeth, in the county of Cornwall. The chief town and capital is Savanna-la-Mar. Negril, a famous tourist destination, is also situated in the parish.

Brief history

The earliest inhabitants of Westmoreland were the Arawak and Ciboney Indians. [1] The Ciboney were first to arrive from the coast of South America around 500 B.C.[2] They were also known as “cave dwellers” and lived along the cliffs of Negril. The labyrinth of caves and passageways beneath what is now the Xtabi Hotel in Negril are one of the first known settlements of Ciboney Indians in Jamaica.

Christopher Columbus stopped at Westmoreland on his second voyage when he landed in Jamaica. One of the first Spanish settlements was also built at what is now Bluefields in this parish.

The parish was named Westmoreland in 1703, because it was the most westerly point in the island. Savanna-la-Mar, a town by the coast, replaced Banbury as the capital in 1730.

In 1938, riots at the Frome sugar estate, changed the course of Jamaica's history. The changes that came in the wake of these riots led to universal adult suffrage in 1944, as well as a new constitution, which put Jamaica on the road to self government and eventually independence. The two national heroes, Sir Alexander Bustamante and Norman Washington Manley, emerged as political leaders during this time.

Geography

Westmoreland has an area of 807 square kilometres (311 square miles), making it Jamaica's eighth largest parish. Westmoreland's population of 141,000 is made up of a large percentage of Indians, who are the descendants of Indentured Laborers who came to Jamaica from India to work after slavery. The descendants are known locally in the parish as "Indie Royals" because of their mixed East-Indian and African heritage.

There are over 10,000 acres (40 km²) of morass land, the largest part of which is called the Great Morass. This contains plant and animal material collected over centuries. The morass can be mined as peat, an excellent source of energy, and it also serves as a natural sanctuary for Jamaican wildlife. The remaining area consists of several hills of moderate elevation, and alluvial plains along the coast.

There are numerous rivers in the parish. The Cabaritta River, which is 39.7 kilometres long, drains the George's Plain and can accommodate boats weighing up to eight tons. Other rivers include the Negril River, New Savanna, Morgan's, Gut, Smithfield, Bowens, Bluefields, Robins, Roaring, Great and Dean.

The westernmost tip of the island, Negril Point, is home to Negril Lighthouse.

Commerce

As a result of the fertile plains, the parish thrives on agriculture, mainly sugarcane, which offers direct employment. Other agricultural products include bananas, coffee, ginger, cocoa, pimento, honey, rice, and breadfruit. Pastoralism is also practised; the rearing of cattle, horses, and mules, as well as fishing —there are 19 fishing beaches with over 90 boats engaged in the industry. Manufacturing is the third largest sector. Manufactured items include food and drink, tobacco, animal feeds, textile and textile products.

Negril is one of the main tourist destinations in Jamaica. Since the 1950s, tourism has been the single fastest growing sector. The major hotels are Couples Swept Away, Couples Negril, Sandals Negril, Poinciana Beach Resort, Grand Lido, Hedonism II, and Negril Beach Club. However, besides these resorts there are another 200+ resorts and also 200+ bars and restaurants available for the tourist trade.

Places in Westmoreland

References

  1. Article on History of Jamaica
  2. History of Ciboney Indians

External links


de:Westmoreland Parish

es:Parroquia de Westmoreland eu:Westmoreland fr:Paroisse de Westmoreland it:Parrocchia di Westmoreland nl:Westmoreland (Jamaica) ja:ウェストモアランド教区 no:Westmoreland Parish pl:Westmoreland (region Jamajki) pt:Westmoreland (paróquia)

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