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Spanish Town and St. Catherine
With over a million people, the parish of St. Catherine has the largest share of Jamaica’s population. Spanish Town, the sedate parish capital, was Jamaica’s center of government until the British bureaucrats relocated to Kingston in 1872. Known simply as Spain or St. Jago in street lingo, the city has a rich heritage but has been largely left to decay. Its central square is more a bend along the road than a center of activity. Still, it has impressive facades and is home to Jamaica’s national archives. The oldest Anglican Church outside of England is within a five-minute walk.
Spanish Town and surrounding communities like Old Harbour and Freetown have grown rapidly with housing schemes that respond to a demand for low-income housing from first-time home buyers. Most activity in Spanish Town today revolves around the two malls and bus park along Burke Road. Mandela Highway has heavy traffic into Kingston from Spanish Town during weekday rush hours (between 7 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and back out in the evenings between 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.).
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