Jamaica's history begins here

Published: Thursday | June 4, 2009

This monument, entitled 'La Sania Maria', was erected in honour of Christopher Columbus who discovered Jamaica May 5, 1494.

St Ann's Bay, the capital of St Ann, is of tremendous historical significance to Jamaica.

It was in St Ann's Bay that Christopher Columbus is assumed to have landed when he first 'discovered' Jamaica in 1494. Columbus named the spot he landed Santa Gloria, claiming that the land was the most beautiful he had ever laid eyes on.

It is disputed whether it was St Ann's Bay or Discovery Bay that Christopher Columbus spoke of when he first arrived in Jamaica. However, it is a fact that when Columbus returned to Jamaica in 1503 he was marooned in St Ann's Bay for a year, which led to the beginning of Spanish influence in that region. A statue of Christopher Columbus stands in his memory today, west of the town.

New seville

In 1509, the first Spanish settlement was established at Seville, or Sevilla Nueva, west of the modern town of St Ann's Bay. That site became Jamaica's first capital and is said to have been the third capital city established by the Spanish throughout the Americas. Today, the Seville Heritage Park is an official Jamaican historical site attracting tourists from across the world.

St Ann's Bay is also known for producing one of Jamaica's most famous sons, and its first national hero. Marcus Mosiah Garvey was born in St Ann's Bay on August 17, 1887. A statue of Garvey stands today at the St Ann's Bay library, while not far away, the Marcus Garvey Technical High School was also erected in his honour.

The parish capital was also known historically for its vibrant shipping port. Though all shipping activities in St Ann's Bay have ceased, there are still remaining structures of old warehouses and wharves to be seen.