This week, we conclude our Parish Facts series by venturing east to the county of Surrey, to cover Portland, St Thomas, Kingston and St Andrew.
- Originally created in 1723, the parish was named for the Duke of Portland, then the Governor of Jamaica.
- Portland experiences the highest average rainfall on the island and is accordingly lush.
- Parish capital Port Antonio is Jamaica’s third largest port, a shipping point for both bananas and coconuts.
- The modern international banana trade has its roots in the parish of Portland, as does the local tourism industry.
- Portland has been featured in many famous Hollywood films such as Club Paradise, Cocktail, Lord of the Flies, and most recently, Knight and Day.
- Speaking of movies, the parish was once home to silver screen legend Errol Flynn, who called Port Antonio heaven on earth and once owned nearby Navy Island after winning it in a game.
- One of the oldest parishes, St Thomas was established in 1662 and named for Thomas, Lord Windsor.
- Parish capital Morant Bay was the site of the largest civil unrest in Jamaican history. The Morant Bay Rebillion of 1865, saw local workers rebel against cruel slavery-like conditions on the various estates in the parish.
- The Bath Botanical Gardens, the first of its kind established in Jamaica in 1779. The first plant of several imported species including breadfruit, otaheite apple, cinnamon and croton were said to have come from one of its nurseries.
- The peak of the world famous Blue Mountain range is located on the St Thomas-Portland border.
- The 1692 earthquake that destroyed most of Port Royal also sunk a huge chunk of one mountainside in Llandewy, St. Thomas, burying an entire plantation and the owner who, according to legend, was an evil man. No wonder the geographical wonder is called Judgement Cliff!
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