About Jamaican Parishes and Their History

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Jamaica, Her Parishes
and the Caribbean Sea

To help you get your bearings, here is a great map of the Caribbean islands in relation to Florida and South America. Jamaica is depicted in orange, and lies directly south of Cuba. It is the 3rd largest Caribbean island.
Map of Caribbean
Jamaican Parishes have been a feature of local administration in Jamaica ever since the island was captured by the British in 1655. Each parish has a capital town and serves as a unit of local government. The country is also divided into three counties - Cornwall, Middlesex and Surrey - but the counties have no adminstrative role. (For information about each parish, please select one from the drop-down menu at the top of the page.)

Throughout its history, Jamaica had more parishes, some of which no longer exist (having either been absorbed or divided between neighboring parishes). At the highest number in 1865, Jamaica had 22 parishes (the current 14 depicted on the following map, plus those listed beneath it).
Jamaica Parish Map
The former parishes were:
Metcalfe (now part of Saint Mary)
Port Royal (divided between Kingston and Saint Andrew)
Saint David (now part of Saint Thomas)
Saint Dorothy (now part of Saint Catherine)
Saint George (divided between Saint Mary and Portland)
Saint John (now part of Saint Catherine)
Saint Thomas-in-the-Vale* (now part of Saint Catherine)
Vere (now part of Clarendon)

*The current parish of Saint Thomas was originally named Saint Thomas-in-the-East.

One interesting note is that the parish of Kingston does not encompass all of the city of Kingston! Most of that city is in the parish of St. Andrew, whose capital is Halfway Tree.
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The total current population of the 14 parishes is approximately 2.6 million people, the majority of which (652,000 or 25%) reside in the parishes of Kingston and St. Andrew.


To inspire you to get off the beaten path in Jamaica, absorb the culture, enjoy the people, and learn something, the Travel Channel's Sam Brown gives you some tips:


You may also like:

B&Bs and Hotels in Mandeville Jamaica (Manchester Parish)
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Beaches & Fun Things to Do in St Catherine Jamaica
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  1. i would like to look up for a map of jamaica,parishes,capital that th reach

  2. But one thing I can’t find is: why “parishes” as opposed to states or provinces? I’m told this is an Anglican church thing to do with the slave trade—is that true?

  3. The country is divided in three counties. NOT the Parishes.

  4. Yes, that’s what I meant for it to say… I corrected the sentence. Sorry for the typo.

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