Sam Sharpe Square
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Sam Sharpe Square - Downtown Montego Bay
The centrepiece of downtown Montego Bay is Sam Sharpe Square. This cobblestone town square gives visitors a snapshot of Montego Bay's history. The square is lined with Georgian buildings side by side with modern structures as well as monuments commemorating the history of the square. There is always a lot of activity in this busy square and the side streets are teeming with vendors selling a wide range of products.
Sights of interest on the square include:-
- The Montego Bay Civic Centre - this is a reconstruction of the original Montego Bay courthouse which was built in 1803 then destroyed by a fire in 1968. The building was reconstructed between 1999 and 2001 and now houses the Montego Bay museum,
- The Cage - an old overnight jail for drunks, vagrants and runaways,
- The fountain - a cast iron fountain in the middle of the square's roundabout. The fountain was donated by Captain J Kerr, a banana baron.
Be careful around the cobblestone area immediately surrounding the fountain as it is actually a roundabout and the traffic has the right of way.
The square was previously called Charles Square and the Parade.
Who was Sam Sharpe
The square is named after Sam Sharpe, one of Jamaica's national heroes. He was a Baptist minister who studied the writings of the abolitionists and encouraged non-violent protest as a means to emancipation.
He became instrumental in the Christmas Rebellions of 1831 by urging slaves not to work on Christmas Day. The demonstrations turned violent with several farms being burned and tens of colonialists killed. In response hundreds of slaves were killed for their roles in the protests. Sam Sharpe was one of these. He was tried in the Montego Bay courthouse and hanged in Charles Square on 23 May 1832.
The Christmas Rebellions were instrumental in bringing slavery to an end in Jamaica - slavery was abolished on 1 August 1834.© 2009 Jamaica Travel and Culture .com