Spanish Town, Jamaica

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Spanish Town, Jamaica

Region: Saint Catherine

Geographic Coordinates: 17.995900, -76.955100
Temperature Range: 20.0°C to 35.0°C (68°F to 95°F)
Population: 131056
Language: English

Spanish Town, Located in the parish of St. Catherine, Is the former capital of Jamaica and just a short drive from Kingston. Founded by Spanish colonizers in 1534, It was originally known as Villa de la Vega which means town on the plain. With its rich history dating back to colonial times, Spanish Town played an important role in Jamaica’s struggle for independence. One of the most significant landmarks in Spanish Town is the Old Courthouse built-in 1819 which served as both a courthouse and prison during its time.

Many famous Jamaicans were tried there including Paul Bogle who led a rebellion against British rule. Today, It serves as a museum where visitors can learn about Jamaica’s legal system during colonial times. St. Jago de la Vega Cathedral is another must-see attraction that dates back to 1523 when it was built by Spanish colonizers. The cathedral has undergone several renovations over the years but still retains much of its original architecture including its bell tower that stands tall over the town.

Spanish Town boasts several other historic sites such as Rodney Memorial Square where there are monuments dedicated to Admiral Lord Rodney who defeated French forces during the Battle of Saintes in 1782. For those interested in learning more about Jamaican culture, Visiting Emancipation Square should be on their itinerary. This square was once used for slave auctions but now serves as an open-air museum showcasing artifacts from slavery days including shackles and other items used to restrain slaves.

Visitors can also enjoy some delicious Jamaican cuisine while exploring Spanish Town such as jerk chicken or fish served with rice and peas or festival (a fried dough). There are also plenty of street vendors selling fresh fruits like mangoes or coconuts that make for refreshing snacks on hot days. Overall, Spanish Town offers visitors an opportunity to explore Jamaica’s fascinating history while enjoying some delicious food along with beautiful architecture and monuments making it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Jamaican culture and history.

Important Landmarks

  1. St. Catherine Parish Church
  2. Emancipation Square
  3. Rodney Memorial
  4. Spanish Town Courthouse
  5. Old King’s House
  6. St Jago de la Vega Cathedral
  7. The White Witch of Rose Hall Great House and Gardens
  8. Bob Marley Museum
  9. Devon House Heritage Site
  10. Dunn’s River Falls & Park

Primary Industries

  1. Agriculture – farming of crops such as sugar cane, bananas, and coffee.
  2. Manufacturing – production of textiles, furniture, and food products.
  3. Tourism – Spanish Town is home to several historical sites such as the Spanish Town Square and St. Catherine Parish Church.
  4. Retail – there are numerous shops and markets selling goods ranging from clothing to electronics.
  5. Services – financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies operate in the town.
  6. Transportation – Spanish Town has a bus terminal that serves routes throughout Jamaica.
  7. Construction – due to development projects taking place around the area, construction has become an important industry for many residents in recent years.

Noteable History

  1. Spanish Town was the capital of Jamaica during the island’s colonial period from 1534 to 1872.
  2. The town was named after the Spanish who founded it in 1534, and it served as a major center for trade and commerce during this time.
  3. One of the most significant events in Spanish Town’s history was the Morant Bay Rebellion of 1865, which led to widespread violence and ultimately resulted in changes to Jamaica’s political system.
  4. Notable people associated with Spanish Town include Marcus Garvey, who was born there in 1887 and went on to become a prominent black nationalist leader; reggae musician Dennis Brown; and Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, who attended school there as a child.
  5. Other important historical landmarks in Spanish Town include St Jago de la Vega Cathedral, which dates back to the early 18th century; Rodney Memorial Square, which commemorates Admiral George Rodney’s victory over French forces at nearby Battle of Les Saintes in April 1782; and Old King’s House, which served as the residence for Jamaica’s governors from colonial times until independence in August 1962.

Museums and Things To See

  1. St Jago de la Vega Cathedral – a historic cathedral built in the 16th century.
  2. Spanish Town Square – a vibrant public space with local vendors and street performers.
  3. National Gallery West – an art center showcasing contemporary Jamaican art.
  4. Emancipation Square – a historic site where slaves were freed in 1838, now home to several monuments and museums.
  5. The Old Courthouse – a restored colonial-era courthouse that now houses the St Catherine Parish Council offices and museum.
  6. Rodney Memorial – a monument dedicated to Admiral George Brydges Rodney, who defended Jamaica against French invasion in 1782.
  7. The Port of Kingston – the largest natural harbor in the Caribbean, offering stunning views of the city skyline.
  8. The Bob Marley Museum- located just outside Spanish Town, this museum celebrates the life and legacy of reggae legend Bob Marley.
  9. Hellshire Beach- A popular beach for locals and tourists alike known for its white sand beach and delicious seafood cuisine.
  10. Devon House- A beautiful mansion turned heritage site which offers tours of its grounds as well as tastings at its world-famous ice cream parlor.

Sports Teams

  1. St. Catherine FC: This football club was founded in 1945 and is based in Spanish Town. They have won the National Premier League twice and the JFF Champions Cup once.
  2. West Indies United FC: This football club was founded in 2014 and is also based in Spanish Town. They play in the Jamaican Football Federation’s Super League.
  3. Spanish Town Spartans: This basketball team was founded in 2008 and competes in the Jamaica Basketball Association league.
  4. St Catherine Racers: This netball team was established in 2009 and plays its home games at GC Foster College for Physical Education & Sport.
  5. Central Titans Rugby Club: The rugby team from Central High School has been competing since 2013, playing against other high schools across the island as well as international touring teams from England, Canada, USA & South Africa.

Cultural Events

  1. Emancipation Day Celebration: On August 1st every year, Jamaicans celebrate their emancipation from slavery with parades, music, and cultural performances.
  2. Independence Day Celebrations: On August 6th every year, Jamaicans celebrate their independence from British rule with parades, fireworks displays and cultural performances.
  3. Reggae Month: February is celebrated as Reggae Month in Jamaica to honor the birth of Bob Marley and the influence of reggae music on Jamaican culture.
  4. Spanish Town Jerk Festival: This annual food festival takes place in October and features a variety of spicy jerk dishes along with live music and entertainment.
  5. National Heroes Day Celebration: On October 21st every year, Jamaicans honor their national heroes with parades, wreath-laying ceremonies and other cultural activities.
  6. Christmas Celebrations: The Christmas season is celebrated throughout Jamaica with parties, caroling, gift-giving and other festive activities that reflect the country’s rich cultural traditions.


  1. Hellshire Beach – famous for its seafood, especially the fried fish.
  2. Juici Patties – a chain of fast-food restaurants that serve Jamaican patties, jerk chicken, and other local dishes.
  3. Devon House I-Scream – known for its delicious ice cream flavors made from local fruits such as mango and soursop.
  4. Gloria’s Seafood Restaurant – a popular spot for seafood lovers with fresh lobster, shrimp, and fish dishes on the menu.
  5. Tastee Patties – another chain of fast-food restaurants that serve Jamaican patties along with other local favorites like rice and peas.
  6. The Sugar Mill Restaurant at Half Moon Resort- serves traditional Jamaican cuisine with an upscale twist in a beautiful setting.
  7. M10 Bar & Grill- offers authentic Jamaican food like jerk chicken, curry goat, oxtail stew among others.
  8. The Liguanea Club- serves international cuisine alongside traditional Jamaican dishes in an elegant atmosphere.
  9. Scotchies Jerk Center- offers some of the best jerk chicken on the island along with other grilled meats like pork and fish.
  10. The Reggae Pot Rastarant & Juice Bar- serves vegan/vegetarian options as well as traditional Caribbean dishes such as ackee & saltfish or curry vegetables amongst others.

Parks and Recreation

Public Parks and Recreational Activities in Spanish Town, Jamaica

  1. Emancipation Square – a historic square that was once used for slave auctions but now serves as a popular gathering place for both locals and tourists.
  2. St. Jago Park – a large park with picnic areas and playgrounds as well as sports facilities such as basketball courts, football/soccer fields and tennis courts.
  3. Independence Park – an extensive green space that offers walking trails along with sporting facilities such as cricket fields.
  4. Spanish Town Pool – an outdoor swimming pool located at the Spanish Town Sports Complex.
  5. The Rio Cobre River – provides opportunities for rafting or tubing excursions along its scenic waterways.
  6. Hellshire Beach – located just outside of town, it is a popular spot for swimming and enjoying seafood cuisine from local vendors.
  7. Caymanas Golf Course – a world-class golf course located on the outskirts of Spanish Town.
  8. Spanish Bridge – a historic bridge over the Rio Cobre River known for its unique architecture.
  9. Treasure Beach – a beautiful beach area on Jamaica’s south coast offering activities like snorkeling or kayaking.


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