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Saint Elizabeth JAMAICA

  • St. Elizabeth, Jamaica's second-largest parish, is located in the southwest of the island, in the county of Cornwall. Its capital, Black River, is located at the mouth of the eponymous stream, the longest on the island.

  • Saint Elizabeth originally included most of the south-west part of the island, but in 1703 Westmoreland was taken from it and in 1814 a part of Manchester. The resulting areas were named after the wife of Sir Thomas Modyford, the first English Governor of Jamaica.

    St Elizabeth became a prosperous parish and Black River an important seaport. In addition to shipping sugar and molasses, Black River became the centre of the logging trade. Large quantities of logwood were exported to Europe to make a Prussian-blue dye which was very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    The northern and north eastern parts of the parish are mountainous. There are three mountain ranges ?the Nassau Mountains to the north-east, the Lacovia Mountains to the west of the Nassau Mountains, and the Santa Cruz Mountains which, running south, divide the wide plain to end in a precipitous drop of 1600 feet at Lovers' Leap. The central and southern sections form an extensive plain divided by the Santa Cruz Mountains. A large part of the lowlands is covered by morass, but it still provide grazing land for horses and mules.
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  • The distinct feature of this parish is that numerous ethnic groups can be found there; St Elizabeth probably has the greatest racial mixture in Jamaica. When the Miskito Indians came from Central America to help track the Maroons in the 18th century they were given land grants in this parish. In the 19th century Irish, Scots and Germans migrated to Saint Elizabeth, and this accounts for pockets of distinct racial mixtures in the parish notably in the southeast.

    Since the 1990s, the parish has become a significant tourist destination, with most visitors going to the Treasure Beach area. The Appleton rum distillery, near Balaclava in the north of the parish, is also a tourist destination. Ecological tourism along the Black and YS rivers, and in the Great Morass has been developed in recent years.

    The parish had an estimated population of 148,000 in 2001, 4000 of which live in the capital town.
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