Discovering the Spanish Town

Former capital of Jamaica till the 19th century, the Spanish Town called Villa de la Vega (city of the plains) in the past should definitely be put on your traveling list as it reveals an interesting mixture of old and modern architectural styles. Discovering the Spanish Town invites you to a journey in pursuit of the most important historical sites of Jamaica, representative for the present development of the island.

Historical facts

We can speak about Villa de la Vega from 1534 when Governor Francisco de Garay established it as the capital of the island, becoming the most important economical and political center of Jamaica. During the English occupation in 1665, the city was renamed as the Spanish Town and kept as a capital till the 19th century. In 1872, the capital was moved thirteen miles from the Spanish Town to Kingstone. This was the moment when the Spanish Town started struggling with a major economical and social set back that affected the entire Jamaican society.

Cultural life

This rich and glorious history shaped by the English and Spanish Empires left an everlasting mark on the Jamaican culture that can still be admired and appreciated at its true value in the impressive architectural monuments of Spanish Town. Though many of the sites were destroyed during the English conquest in the 17th century, one can still observe displays of significant architectural wonders of that period. The oldest iron bridge of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, designed by Thomas Wilson in 1801 is definitely one of them. If you decide to visit the Spanish Town in Jamaica then I advise you to pass by the Spanish Town Cathedral (The Anglican Cathedral) or maybe go to Phillipo Baptist Church. Built in 1525, the Anglican Cathedral represents one of the first edifices of this kind in the world. Just by walking on the streets you will discover outstanding examples of 18 and 19th century architecture. Therefore do not miss especially the Emancipation Square and the town square. Old King’s House is another important building for the history of this city as it used to be the residence of the governors until the capital was moved to Kingstone.

Practical advises

Unfortunately the beautiful history and valorous monuments of the Spanish Town are overshadowed by the violent manifestations of different criminal groups that disturb the quiet of this place. Therefore, it is best to be accompanied by an authorized guide while discovering the Spanish Town so that any unpleased events are avoided.

Though very little known to many tourists, the Spanish Town in Jamaica has its own unique place in history, a history full of battles and different conquerors but at the same time full of valuable cultural displays that make it even more interesting and appealing to the tourists.

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