Jamaicans are very matter-of-fact when naming towns and communities. If the community is on the side of a hill, it may be called Hillside such as in St. Thomas– the community with the beautiful Reggae Falls. There are several districts across Jamaica named Lookout, all providing panoramic views of the valleys below. Cooperage is so-called because it was the workshop of coopers in the 1800s, and these Irish coopers lived further up the road in– you guessed it– Irish Town. Many of the towns and rivers in Jamaica bear Spanish names because the Spanish were the first Europeans to colonize Jamaica: Ocho Rios, Port Maria, Port Antonio, Rio Grande and Santa Cruz, to name a few. Other towns got their names from British people and places such as Mandeville, Roxborough, Blenheim, Warsop, Devon and Maidstone. However, some Jamaican place names are much more interesting. Here are ten funny and interesting Jamaican place names which I’m sure you won’t hear anywhere else across the world.
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Gimme-Me-Bit is a quiet rural village located in south Clarendon near to the historic Milk River Spa. I couldn’t find any information online to explain this village’s name but it’s certainly a funny community name in Jamaica. Cattle farming is the main economic activity of Gimme-Me-Bit.
Wait-A-Bit is located in rural Trelawny. This Jamaican community earned its name from the wait-a-bit thorn, known locally as “makka.” This prickly bush is notorious for leaving horrible scratches or getting caught in clothing. I’m not sure who thought this would make a good community name but it’s certainly amusing.
Me-No-Sen-You-No-Come is a village in St. Elizabeth, located deep in the Cockpit Country of western Jamaica. This interesting place name in Jamaica literally translates to “If I don’t send for you, don’t come.” This village was founded by 12 men and a few women who ran away from sugar plantations in nearby Trelawny. This unofficial Maroon community grew into a large village with established houses and nearly two hundred acres of farmland. The colonizers tried to destroy this village with little success. Today, Me-No-Sen-You-No-Come has been incorporated into the community of Quickstep. Quickstep often serves as the base for ongoing Cockpit Country research because it is located at the end of a long road which penetrates deep into the Cockpit Country.
Half-Way-Tree is the capital of the Saint Andrew parish. This interesting Jamaican place name is derived from a large cotton tree which was located at the junction of four roads. In the 1800s, this tree was the half way mark between a British soldier camp in the Blue Mountains and a fort near Spanish Town. The soldiers would rest under this tree before proceeding to the fort, and over time it became a popular meeting spot and place of rest. The name Half-Way-Tree lives on even though the cotton tree is long gone.
5. See Me No More
See Me No More is located in Portland, Jamaica’s most beautiful parish. The community contains a deep valley and before the road was built, anyone crossing it could not be seen from the other side, hence the name.
St. Elizabeth is known as the Breadbasket Parish of Jamaica because it grows most of the nation’s produce, but believe it or not, this parish lies in the island’s rain shadow. However, this particular district of Labour-In-Vain is perhaps the part of St. Elizabeth where crops are the most difficult to grow. The lack of rain in that area has made farming extremely difficult and explains this interesting Jamaican place name.
7. Harry Watch
Harry Watch is located in north Manchester. This rural district was formed from six English colonists’ properties, and received its unique name from a man named Harry who guarded a great house in the area during slavery. The tiny farming district boasts its own school, playing field, clinic, post office and churches, which are vital to the Harry Watch residents and their neighbours in adjoining districts.
8. Corn Puss Gap
Found in St. Thomas, Corn Puss Gap got its name from a legend where a lost hiker caught, ‘corned’ and ate a cat to avoid dying of starvation. There may be zero truth to this story, but it sure led to a funny Jamaican place name.
9. Time and Patience
Time and Patience is located in Trelawny, and was one of Jamaica’s free villages established after the abolition of slavery in 1838. The persons to whom land was granted in this community chose the name, declaring that time and patience work wonders.
No one seems to agree on how this interesting place in St. Elizabeth got its name. One source says that Flagaman got its name from a British admiral who settled in Pedro Plains and named the area after his ship, The Flagaman Escania. The rest suggest that the name is a corruption of the words “flog a man.” Who was getting flogged might you ask? Flagaman residents of yesteryear who were flogged by residents of an adjoining community during a dispute, or a young man from another district who got flogged each time he came to visit a sweetheart of the Flagaman community. Which explanation sounds more plausible?
Jamaicans are hilarious, truly. Which Jamaican place name was the funniest? Which other community should have made the list? This post deserves a part two, I think. Subscribe in order not to miss it!
‘Til next time.