Montego Bay -


chief city of the Parish of St. James and second largest city in Jamaica, 85 mi (137 km) northwest of Kingston. It lies on the site of an Arawak village visited by Columbus in 1494. Its original Spanish name, Bahia de Manteca (Butter Bay), probably recalls its early function as a lard ("hog's butter") centre. The Spanish, ousted by the British after 150 years, destroyed most of the original buildings.

Montego Bay is now a crowded, modernized tourist resort stretching 20 mi along the coast. It is a commercial centre and port, with a large export trade in fruit and other produce. It has an international airport and is noted for its white sand beaches, especially Doctor's Cave on the north shore. Buildings include the cruciform St. James Church (1775); the Town Hall (1804-08); and the Cage (dating from the early 1800s), a former runaway slave detention point and now a dispensary. Seven miles to the east is the infamous Rose Hall Great House, said to be haunted by a former mistress, the "White Witch," who tortured and murdered slaves and lovers.