Montego Bay

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For the song, see Montego Bay (song).
Montego Bay
View of Montego Bay from the hillside.
View of Montego Bay from the hillside.
Montego Bay is located in Jamaica
Montego Bay
Montego Bay
Coordinates: 18°28′N 77°55′W / 18.467°N 77.917°W / 18.467; -77.917Coordinates: 18°28′N 77°55′W / 18.467°N 77.917°W / 18.467; -77.917
Country Jamaica Jamaica
County Cornwall
Parish St. James
Proclaimed city by act of Parliament 1980
Government
 • Mayor Glendon Harris
Population (2001)
 • Total 96,488
 • St. James 175,127
Time zone EST (UTC-5)

Montego Bay is the capital of the parish of St. James and the second largest city in Jamaica by area and the fourth by population (after Kingston, Spanish Town and Portmore).

It is a tourist destination with duty-free shopping, a cruise line terminal and several beaches. The city is backed by low mountains.

History[edit]

Montego Bay c. 1820

When Christopher Columbus for the first time visited the island in 1494, he named the bay Golfo de Buen Tiempo ("Fair Weather Gulf"). The name "Montego Bay" is believed to have originated as a corruption of the Spanish word manteca ("lard"), allegedly because during the Spanish period it was the port where lard, leather, and beef were exported.[citation needed] Jamaica was a colony of Spain from 1511 until 1655, when Oliver Cromwell's Caribbean expedition, the Western Design, drove the Spanish from the island.

"Montego Bay, Jamaica" early 20th century

During the epoch of slavery, from the mid-17th century until 1834, and well into the 20th century, the town functioned primarily as a sugar port. The island's last major slave revolt, the Christmas Rebellion or Baptist War (1831–1832) took place in the area around Montego Bay; the leader of the revolt, Samuel Sharpe, was hanged there in 1832. In 1975, Sharpe was proclaimed a national hero of Jamaica, and the main square of the town was renamed in his honor.

In 1980, Montego Bay was proclaimed a city by act of parliament, but this has not meant that it has acquired any form of autonomy as it continues to be an integral part of the parish of St. James.

Today, Montego Bay is known for its large regional hospital (Cornwall Regional Hospital), port facilities, second homes for numerous upper class Jamaicans from Kingston as well as North Americans and Europeans, fine restaurants, and shopping opportunities. The coastland near Montego Bay is occupied by numerous tourist resorts, most newly built, some occupying the grounds of old sugar cane plantations with some of the original buildings and mill-works still standing. The most famous of these are the White Witch's Rose Hall and Tryall, both of which now feature world-class golf courses.

The infrastructure of the city is going through a series of explosive modernizations which once completed, aims to keep Montego Bay as a top destination in the Caribbean and the world. The Montego Bay Convention Centre, built on a large site near to the Rose Hall estate, was opened by Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding on 7 January 2011.[1]

Transportation[edit]

Roads[edit]

Montego Bay is on the main A1 (Kingston to Lucea) road and the B15 (Montego Bay to Falmouth) road.[2] It is well served by buses, mini buses and taxis, which operate from the Montego Bay Transport Centre.[3]

Rail[edit]

The now disused Montego Bay railway station served the Kingston to Montego Bay main line. The station opened c1894[4] and closed in October 1992 when all passenger traffic on Jamaica's railways abruptly ceased.[5]

Air[edit]

Montego Bay is served by Jamaica's largest airport, the Sir Donald Sangster International Airport.

Air Jamaica and several North American and European airlines run their Caribbean hub in "MoBay" (Sangster International Airport) connecting the island with the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada. The southern U.S. city of Miami can be reached within 70 minutes. The southern U.S. cities of Charlotte, Houston, Atlanta, and Tampa can be reached by nonstop flights in less than three hours. Other locations like Philadelphia, New York City, Toronto, Washington D.C., and Montreal can be reached in under four hours.

Port[edit]

There is a free port and cruise line terminal on a man-made peninsula jutting into the bay.

In popular culture[edit]

The city was the subject of the namesake song by Bobby Bloom in 1970, later covered by Jon Stevens ten years later, and was revived by Amazulu who became a minor hit in the U.S. in September 1986.

Several scenes from the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die (in which Roger Moore appeared as Bond for the first time) were filmed around Montego Bay.[6]

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Montego Bay
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 29
(84)
29
(84)
30
(86)
30
(86)
30
(86)
31
(88)
32
(90)
32
(90)
31
(88)
31
(88)
30
(86)
30
(86)
30.4
(86.8)
Average low °C (°F) 20
(68)
20
(68)
21
(70)
22
(72)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
23
(73)
22
(72)
21
(70)
22
(71.5)
Rainfall mm (inches) 81
(3.19)
74
(2.91)
80
(3.15)
153
(6.02)
255
(10.04)
204
(8.03)
169
(6.65)
209
(8.23)
229
(9.02)
261
(10.28)
140
(5.51)
87
(3.43)
1,942
(76.46)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 217 232 248 240 217 210 248 248 210 186 210 217 2,683
Source: [7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]