Spanish Town is an old town. As Jamaica’s capital for nearly 350 years and subsequently as a major urban centre, its streets and squares witnessed key political and social transitions. But although the once proud city has lost all its ancient glory, Spanish Town
has a rich and textured legacy.
Robertson guides the reader through the landmarks, identifying sites and scenes long lost and showing what is still there to be appreciated. His account of Spanish Town’s long history is firmly rooted in the streets and lanes of the town, its nooks and niches, sounds and smells. The urban landscape he presents is a peopled landscape, inhabited by rich
and poor, enslaved and free, notables and eccentrics, Africans and Europeans. He shows
convincingly that the colonial capital provided both a cultural and political counterpoise to the colony’s merchants and plantations and that its diverse inhabitants had created a ‘creole town’ as early as 1750 when they were still preparing to build Spanish Town’s splendid Georgian square in the midst of its multiplying yards.
The work is based on extensive research in scattered archives and is illustrated by a variety of rare and wonderful images.
- ‘St. Jago de la Vega, the ancient city’
- Location! Location! Location! Establishing a Spanish City, 1534–1655
- ‘A Town Improving Every Day’: An English Town on Spanish Foundations, 1655–1692
- ‘A mere scattered village’? Spanish Town, 1692–1754
- ‘The seat of the Government and the second town of the Island’: Spanish Town, 1758–c. 1780
- ‘The genteelest and handsomest town in the island’: Reorientations, 1780–1838
- ‘Lively bright days are dawning on Our Island’: Early Victorian Spanish Town, 1838–1866
- ‘Oh, the Ancient City!’: Local Repercussions of Crown Colony Government, 1866–c. 1880
- ‘Let that be your picture of heaven!’: Economic and social change in Spanish Town, c. 1880–1944
- Views from the Air, 1942–2000