#Jamaica: 10 Interesting Things About Montego Bay
‘Mo-bay’, is not only the second largest city in Jamaica but it is also the tourism capital of our island. Imagine living in a city full of history, bustling tourist attractions, warm, friendly people, and the ideal destination for hundreds of celebrities worldwide.
Montego Bay is known for being the capital of St. James, but here are a few other things you should know about the home of ‘Montegonians’.
1) Famous Italian, Christopher Columbus set out on a sojourn to the Indies and in 1494 dropped his anchor in “Gulfo de Bueno Tiempo” or the Gulf of Good Weather, now better known as Montego Bay.
2) Montego Bay got its name for one of two reasons. Some say English coloniser named it after Montego de Salmanaca who settled in that area. Others say it derived from the Spanish phrase “Bahia de Manteca” meaning Lard Bay, due to the large-scale export of pigs’ fat back in the 1600s. Whichever legend is true helps to give that city a name like no other.
3) In the 1960s the bay was dredged, and the Montego Bay Freeport was constructed. Just about 20 years later, on May 1, 1981, Montego Bay was declared a city by an act of parliament and became the second city after Kingston.
4) The Georgian architecture and plantations’ ruins transport you back in time. But Montego Bay was the stage for one of the most important slave uprisings in Jamaica’s history – the Baptist Rebellion, led by Sam Sharpe. This rebellion was the last of its kind in Jamaica, where slaves revolted against colonisers and demanded their freedom. After much bloodshed and setting plantations ablaze, the uprising ended in 1832 and Sharpe was hanged as an example to the other rebels.
5) The history does not stop there. Sam Sharpe, a Montego Bay resident, was declared a national hero in 1975 and the Sam Sharpe Square in the city’s heart was named in his honour.
6) Montego Bay has also been the backdrop for several movies, music videos and advertisements here and abroad. The James Bond film, “Live or Let Die” was shot in the bustling city along with “Cocktails” featuring Tom Cruise. The music video for “This is Jamaica” was also filmed in sunny Mo-Bay.
7) Famed for being the busiest airport in the English-Speaking Caribbean, the Sangster International Airport is the main terminal for tourists and citizens alike and is located, yup you guessed it, in Montego Bay. Named after the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Donald Sangster, this airport is the largest on the island.
8) Montego Bay is called the tourism capital of Jamaica, and so tourists are rampant in this city. On every corner and every beach, tourists are enjoying the warm people, the cool breeze or the soothing sounds of crashing waves. It is said that tourism boomed in the St. James capital back in the 1880s when Dr. Alexander G McCatty founded a sanitarium that he and his medical colleagues could enjoy. Years later it became Doctor’s Cave Beach and now is still a hub for attracting tourists to our beloved island.
9) One tourist attraction, Half Moon, continues to be a hotspot and destination for celebrities from all over the world. The staff are proud to say that their resort has housed, many actors, musicians, athletes and even monarchs. The 400-acre country club entertained the Queen of England in 2002 and has since then accommodated Prince Philip, Richard Branson and Whitney Houston!
10) Montego Bay is not only about fun and games though. It’s also the city to do business. The headquarters for the world-renowned beachfront resort, Sandals is situated there, and Montego Bay houses the only call centre for the American printing company, Vista Print – a project WIHCON had the privilege of joining and is now home to the first Starbucks Café in Jamaica.