Manchester was formed in 1814, by an Act of the House of Assembly, making it one of the newest parishes
of Jamaica. It was formed as a result of the amalgamation of the parishes St. Elizabeth, Clarendon and Vere.
The amalgamation was done in response to a petition from the inhabitants of Mile Gully,
May Pen and Carpenters Mountain who complained that they were too far away from an administrative centre.
Manchester was named in honour of the Duke of Manchester, the then Governor of Jamaica.
He was governor for 19 years, setting the record as the longest serving Governor of the island.
The capital town, Mandeville, established in 1816, was named after his eldest son, Lord Mandeville
No sugar estates can be found in the parish; slaves worked on coffee plantations. After emancipation, the ex-slaves became independent coffee farmers. The irish potato was first introduced to Jamaica at Bethany, a town in the parish. Citrus also became an important crop, as in 1920, the citrus fruit ortanique, a cross between the orange and tangerine, was developed by Charles Jackson.
The growth of the town was given a substantial stimulus when Alcan Bauxite Company opened operations there. It built houses for its then mostly expatriate staff. The relatively high wages lured many educated Jamaicans there.
There is no large-scale cultivation of crops as the area is generally mountainous.
Crops such as sugar cane require large tracts of flat land. Bananas, coffee and pimento, annatto, ginger are grown,
and the parish is noted for its citrus; oranges, ortaniques and grapefruit, all of which are exported.
Christiana, 28 km (14 miles) north of Mandeville, is the second largest town of the parish. The Christiana Land Authority assists agricultural development in the region. Irish potato is grown considerably in the Christiana area and it is the centre of a large banana and ginger-growing district.
The population of Manchester is 190,000. Mandeville, the capital and chief town of the parish, now has a Mayor. It has a population of over 30,485.