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Black River - St. Elizabeth
For a real life slice of Jamaican history pay a visit to Black River. The town grew up on the banks of the Black River and is one of the oldest in Jamaica. Black River found much wealth during the logwood boom, a wealth which was lavishly displayed in the town's buildings. Great examples of Victorian and Georgian architecture have been preserved in the town, with many old buildings being continually used and maintained to the current day. The historic district of the town was declared a Protected National Heritage District in 1999. However, Black River is not without some natural wonders. Indeed, most visitors to Black River are oblivious to the town's illustrious history and head straight for the River and Great Morass which is teeming with wildlife, most notably in the form of Jamaican crocodiles!
The Black River
Tours of the Black River are available from a range of boat operators at the mouth of the river offering crocodile safaris. Most guides have worked the river for many years and know where the great crocodiles are hiding out. Crocodile sightings are virtually guaranteed but the number you see may vary - on a bad day just one or two but on a good day you may see many more. It is estimated that 300 crocodiles live in the river. The Black River itself takes its name from the dark colour of the peat river bed, the water itself is not actually this colour but the dark bed gives this impression. The Spanish used to call the river "Rio Caobana" (the Mahogany River) presumably named because of the dark appearance of the water. Most boats can only reach a few miles upstream due to a low bridge obstructing the way, however, some are able to sail under the bridge and explore further. If you are keen on doing some deep exploration ask your captain whether the boat can fit under the bridge before you set off! The river is the third longest river in Jamaica, measuring 33 miles from the source to the sea. A trip far up the river will take you in to the Black River Lower Morass.
History of Black River
The town of Black River was established in the late 17th century Black River became an important port, particularly for the thriving trade of exporting logwood and sugar. In 1773 the town became the capital of St. Elizabeth Parish and in the early 20th century it was the second most important town in Jamaica (after Kingston). Many prominent Jamaican's hail from Black River, including George William Gordon and Norman Washington Manley (national heroes of Jamaica) and Sir Donald Sangster (former Prime Minister). Black River was also the first town in Jamaica to receive electricity, the first to have a motor car and the first place to have a race track.
Places of interest in Black River
Waterloo Guest House Saint Elizabeth Parish Church Invercauld Great House
Court House The Black River Lower Morass The Farquharson Wharf
The Black River Spa
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