The history of the Spanish in the Caribbean dates back to more than 500 years. Their arrival changed the course of Jamaica’s history irrevocably. Today, Jamaica’s reminders of this historical period are in the names of places dotted all over the island, such as Ocho Rios, Santa Cruz, Rio Cobre, Rio Bueno, Port Antonio, and of particular importance, Spanish Town.
Previously known as St. Jago de la Vega, Spanish Town became the centre of Jamaican life and history as the city capital and the hub of trade and commerce between 1534 and 1655.
The Spanish introduced many staple crops such as sugar cane, bananas and citrus. They also introduced most of the domesticated animals found on the island. These includes pigs, horses, cows, goats, dogs, and cats, as well as chickens.
Source: Xaymaca – Life in Spanish Jamaica – 1494-1655
IOJ Exhibition Catalogue 2009,
Scotiabank, Jamaica calendar 2010
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