St Ann, Jamaica
St Ann is a parish in the northern section of Jamaica, roughly halfway between the island’s eastern and western ends. It is located in the country of Middlesex, bordered by the parish of St Mary to the east, Trelawny to the west, St Catherine and Clarendon to the south and the Caribbean Sea to the north.
Land Area: 1,210.25 sq km (467.3 sq mi)
Capital Town: St Ann’s Bay
St Ann was named after Ann Hyde, wife of James II, King of England and is recognized as the largest of all the parishes. It is known as ‘The Garden Parish’ for its bauxite, agriculture and livestock production and – perhaps most notably – its tourist attractions.
The parish is believed to be the earliest Taino/Arawak settlement. When Christopher Columbus first came to Jamaica in 1494, he named the actual spot at which he first landed Horseshoe Bay, because of the peculiar shape of the land. This was changed to Dry Harbour and eventually, a final, more appropriate, name change was made to Discovery Bay.
One of the most important archaeological sites – the site of the first Spanish settlement – and the islands first capital, can be found 1.6km, about a mile west of the town of St Ann’s, on the Seville property. This settlement was founded by Juan de Esquivel (the first Spanish Governor of Jamaica) in 1509 and named Seville Nueva – New Seville. “Sevilla Nueva” now simply called Seville, was the island’s first capital. It was established in 1509 by the Spaniards and had the distinction of being the third Spanish capital established in the New World. This capital was later found to be unhealthy and was subsequently abandoned.
Given the continuing influence of St Ann natives Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey worldwide, and with the lingering traces of the Spanish occupation and Taino settlement, St Ann is well known as a repository of Jamaican culture and history.