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The History Of Negril
10 Surprising Historical Facts 

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By Wellesley Gayle

You and I know it today as the Capital Of Casual in Jamaica.

And for good reason!

It is the dream of every tourist in Jamaica to experience the allure, fun, adventure, unparalleled hospitality and the captivating 7 mile beach of Negril!

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But Negril has another side? And old colonial past that might shock you! Here are some interesting, worth-knowing, facts about Negril, Jamaica.

  1. Whales were butchered in the Negril Harbour, hence it's former name, Bloody Bay.

  2. It was also in Negril bay that British ships assembled in convoys to travel under the protection of men of war to England. 

  3. British ships were also in the habit of lying in wait in the mangrove swamps here to attack any Spanish ships that strayed too far off course on their way to Havana, Cuba. 

  4. Negril is associated with certain notable battles, including the Battle of New Orleans during the American War of Independence.

    It was in Negril harbour that a fleet of 50 British warships and over 6,000 men secretly assembled in 1814 under the leadership of Sir Edward Packenham with the objective of seizing Louisiana.

    The outcome was the Battle of New Orleans where the British were routed by Andrew Jackson and their leader slain. There is a local tradition that the American general was alerted about the attack by an American trader in Kingston.

    Among the soldiers on this engagement were 1,000 men from the First and Fourth West India Regiments. 

  5. It was on Negril beach too that the famous British Admiral Benbow assembled his squadron for his engagement against the French Admiral Du Casse in 1702. 

  6. Negril was the 'playground' for the notorious pirate Jack Rackham (aka Calico Jack) who haunted Jamaican waters in the early 18th century.

    After his capture it was discovered that two of his most bloodthirsty crew were women disguised as men, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. He was actually captured while enjoying a Rum Punch Party in Negril in November, 1720,

  7. The Negril Point Lighthouse. elevated 30m above sea level, was build in 1894 by the French engineering company of Bertier and Bernard.

    The lighthouse has an automatic white light that flashes every two seconds.

  8. The term Negril, which was originally used by colonizers in 1494, is actually a contraction of Negrillo, which translates to "little black ones" in English. Some people believe that the name Negrillo refers to the cliffs with a darker tint that are to the south of the town's core. According to another account, the Spanish named the region Negro Eels, which was later abbreviated to Negrillo and then Negril, since there had been a sizable population of black eels along Negril's seacoast.

  9. Budget travelers and hippy "flower children" first popularized Negril as a tourist destination in the 1960s.

  10. The first significant resort, Negril Beach Village, opened its doors to those somewhat rich travelers seeking an unrestricted Club Med-style escape in 1977. Negril Beach Village was later be renamed Hedonism II.

So you see, perhaps Negril was also famous in the past, at least the colonial past, as it is today, but certainly for different reasons.

But there is much more that will intrigue you about this top tourist destination in Jamaica, be sure to read more about Negril in this article.

Map Of Negril, Jamaica

Below is a map of Negril, courtesy of Google Maps. Feel free to zoom in an out to explore Negril in virtual reality :-)

Watch Video!

What is Negril also known for? some of the most beautiful sunsets. Get glimpse in this video.

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Return to Negril Jamaica from Jamaican Sorrel 
Return to My Island Jamaica Homepage from History of Negril

References & Sources For History of Negril

  1. "Negril The Essence Of Relaxation", https://www.visitjamaica.com/plan-your-trip/explore-the-island/negril/
  2. Senior, Olive, History Of Jamaican Heritage, 2003
  3. "Negril", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negril
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