Spanish Names of Places in Jamaica
spanish names of places
Places in Jamaica with Spanish names
Can you tell me some places in Jamaica with Spanish names - and there meanings?
Feb-28-2009 by Wellesley Gayle
The following Spanish place names have been found with short notes on each place.
These were taken from Frank Cundall’s text "Jamaica Place Names" (pages 4-7) published in 1909.
Thanks to Burnadette and Nicole at the National Library.
Some of the place names are:
Aura, air or breeze. Cabeza, head or high
land. (This is now Oracabessa in St. Mary. Others derive it from Oro Cabeza, the golden head.)
- Alta Mela.
Deep Gap (Alta MEla Savanna, St. James.)
- Agua Alta Bahia.
Deep Water Bay, corruptly Wag Water. Still known as Wag Water, probably the name is Arawak,
- Los Angelos.
The Angels. (Angels in St. Catherine was the first terminus of the railway.)
- Rio Bonito.
The Pretty River.
- Cabo Bonito.
The Pretty Cape. (In St. Catherine.)
- Cabarita Punta
Kid or goat point. (In Westmoreland, where there is a river of the same name: there is another
Cabarita point in Old Harbour Bay, and a Cabarita Island in Port Maria Harbour.)
- Rio de Camarones.
Perhaps from Gambaro, a crab, from the abundance of black crabs hereabouts.
- Cobre Rio.
Copper River or Cobra Port, Snake River. (Still known as Rio Cobre.)
Quasi Caba Arido, the dry or withered cape. Part of Healthshire highlands.
- Carvil or Caravel Bahia.
Carvela signifies a light round kind of a ship fornmerly used by the Spaniards.
- Diablo Monte.
Devil’s Mount. Now called Mount Diablo.
- Flora Ria.
- Fortaleza Punta.
- Gallina Punta.
Hen Point. Galina Point St. Mary.
- Guada Bocco.
Guada- brook of water, bocca- mouth.
- Hoja Rio.
River of leaves, now corruptly called Rio Hoe.
- Jarisse Punta.
Cross-bow or arrow, probably refers to some action with the Indians.
- Lacovia. Quasi Lago-Via, or the way by the lake? (A village in St. Elizabeth.)
Lia-white-guana, the name of an animal, probably one
frequent in that part of the island. (That
part of Lower St. Andrew, bordered by the Long Mountain, St. Andrew Mountains and the Red Hills.)
- Moneque, or Monesca Savannah.
Savannah of monkeys. (Now confined to the village of Moneague. This word is Arawak but was perhaps brought by the Spaniards from Cuba where manique’ still means ‘thicket’.
Spanish documents have ‘manegua’ for 'Moneague’.)
- Mario bona.
Maria-buena, Mary the good. (Maria Buena Bay is in Trelawny.)
- Mantica Bahia.
Butter (now Montego Bay.)
- Ocho Rios
Oor ‘Tehi Rios’, said to mean eight rivers.
(In St. Ann, it was more commonly called Chareira. As late as 1841 William Rob wrote "Ocho
Rios, called to this day by the old inhabitants ‘Cheireras’ its early and appropriate name ‘the Bay of Waterfalls’, but has now gone back to Ocho Rios".
- Perexil Insula.
Samphire Island, now known as Tower Isle.
- Sombro Rio.
Shady River. (Now called the Sambre.)
Frosts (whence, perhaps corruptly, Yallahs) the high white cliffs having the appearance of a
frosty covering. (Now called Yallahs.)
Perhaps from Luzida; gay, fine or from Lluvias rains? (Lluidas Vale is in St. Catherine.)
- Martha Brea.
Martha- a woman’s name; Brea, tar; perhaps a nickname of some Spanish sailor’s Dulcinea like
the English vulgar appellation of Jack Tar. (Martha Brea Village and river are in Trelawny.)
- Bog Walk is supposed to be the Spanish Boca de Agua, for which there is no early authority.
The old English name was Sixteen Mile Walk and the Walk of Bog Walk must have been suggested by
the older Spanish name which may have been bogua and the same name as Bogue.
...is probably called after some well sunk there, or from the porus nature of the soul "pitted with holes".
By the way, the Spaniards called the Black River, el Caovana, meaning the Mahogany River.
I hope that helped. Stay in touch Denny
Related Pages: Famous Places in JamaicaThe Colonial History of JamaicaThe Jamaican Maroons