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). The city stretches from Rose Hall at the eastern section to great river heading west which is located In Hanover.
Montego Bay Is the home of the Caribbean largest airport Sangster International and as such is the gateway to most of the Island's tourist visitors. Montego Bay is a tourist destination with duty-free shopping, a cruise line terminal and several beaches. The city is backed by low mountains.
History & Current Day:
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. 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.
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 is the White Witch's Rose Hall which now features a World-class golf course.
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 region. The Montego Bay Convention Centre, built on a large site near to the Rose Hall estate, was opened by then Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding on 7 January 2011. The city has also had it's eastern inbound/outbound link with Kingston called the North Coast Highway, upgraded with lighting as far as Liliput (One of the outer reaches of Montego Bay's Metropolitan Area) to the Sangster International Airport.