St. Elizabeth is one of the oldest parishes in Jamaica. Originally including much of the western section on the island, it was split to form parts of Westmoreland and Manchester in 1703 and 1814 respectively. St. Elizabeth was named in honour of Lady Elizabeth Modyford, wife of Sir Thomas Modyford, Governor of Jamaica between 1664 and 1671. Early settlement in St. Elizabeth began in the Pedro Plains where the Tainos, the first known inhabitants of Jamaica, occupied the coastline and lead a simple life. When the Spanish were defeated in 1655, the slaves who did not manage to flee to Cuba, retreated to the impenetrable Cockpit Country, which included parts of St. Elizabeth. These fleeing slaves became known as the Maroons and, today, St. Elizabeth remains home to the Maroons of Accompong, one of the most famous Maroon towns in Jamaica. Black River, now the parish capital, boast its popularity in the 19th and early 20th centuries as a fishing spot, colourful balls and banquets – often held at ‘Court-house’ and its annual circus that attracted visitors from far and wide. Black River, among the oldest towns in the island, is reportedly the first to have received electricity. Though the social scenes of St. Elizabeth has changed significantly, the parish has forged ahead in agricultural production, providing the bulk of Jamaica’s vegetable and fruit provisions. The Black River supports an important shrimp and freshwater fishery. And best of all, St. Elizabeth’s diverse geographical patterns make for a landscape as rich and varied as the heritage of its people.