Seville Great House

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Seville Great House

Seville Great House, St. Ann  

Seville Great House, St. Ann Seville Great House - Between Ocho Rios and St. Ann's Bay, St. Ann
Tel - (1 876) 972-2191

The Seville Great House is one of Jamaica's most diverse and informative cultural attractions. The site has well preserved relics from the Taino, Spanish, British and African communities in Jamaica. The Seville site contains a restored great house from the British era, the ruins of the Spanish Governor's castle, ruins of a Spanish church (the Peter Martyr church), a water wheel, the ruins of a Spanish sugar mill and replicas of Taino and African slave villages.

History

In the beginning

The original inhabitants of Seville (of "Maima" as it was originally known) were the indigenous Taino population. Artefacts from this era have been excavated from the Seville site and are displayed in the museum.

Spanish occupation

The Spanish discovered Jamaica in 5 May 1494 when Christopher Columbus landed on the north coast. The exact location of Christopher Columbus's arrival is somewhat uncertain but it is believed to be close to Seville. In 1508, the island of Jamaica was gifted to the Columbus family by Spain and Columbus's son was appointed the governor of the Indies. One year later, Juan de Esquivel (Columbus's Lieutenant in Jamaica) arrived on the island with a group of settlers and began construction of Seville la Nueva ("New Seville"), the first European settlement in Jamaica and Jamaica's first capital. In 1518 the town was relocated to higher ground, away from the mangrove swamps, for health reason and was renamed Sevilla. 16 years later, in 1534, the capital was moved once more to Villa de la Vega (now called "Spanish Town")

Seville Great House, St. Ann British occupation

In 1655, the British fought the Spanish for Jamaica in an historic battle at Rio Nuevo. As a reward for his role in the battle, in 1670, Captain Samuel Hemmings was awarded 2,500 acres of land in Jamaica, including the sites of Seville la Nueva and Sevilla. Hemming's grandson constructed a 2-story great house at this site along with a slave village and established a successful sugar works. The great house was severely damaged by a hurricane in 1898 and was subsequently rebuilt as a single storey building.

Post emancipation

After emancipation in 1834, part of the estate was purchased by the protestant reformers to establish "The Priory", a free settlement for former slaves. The workforce was then supplemented by labourers from East India who established their own village on the site.

Modern times

Today, many of the staff at the Seville Great House are descendants of the slaves who used to work on the estate centuries ago.

© 2013 Jamaica Travel and Culture .com

Seville Great House, St. Ann Seville Great House, St. Ann


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