Spanish Town’s Legacy
Spanish Town, St. Catherine is not one of the ‘must see’ locations for visitors, though it has both historic significance and hosts important institutions. It was Jamaica’s first capital during Spanish colonization from 1534 to 1655 and later during British rule until 1872, when the capital was moved to Kingston.
Consequently, Spanish Town is a repository for the island’s heritage in several areas, not least of all in architecture. Over its four hundred years as capital several prominent buildings were demolished and reconstructed in line with the taste and requirements of the times.
Yet some of the earliest buildings are still standing, such as the St. Catherine Parish Cathedral. It was first a Catholic church, replaced with an Anglican Church by the British and later renovated in 1714 after a destructive hurricane in 1712.
The town square has several early colonial buildings, or at least their façades. Georgian style architecture was popular during the 1700s when the Old Kings House and Assembly House were reconstructed. An elaborate edifice was built in 1801 in honor of the celebrated British admiral Lord Rodney and is still in the square.
St. Jago High School (formerly Beckford & Smith) founded in 1744 is among the oldest, continuously operating schools in the Caribbean region.
In case you were wondering if there are any new institutions of importance, yes there are.
One worth mentioning is the J.C Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, which was established in 1980 and is the first of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean. This College is known for producing world class sports teachers and coaches.