Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

The largest of the British West Indian islands, is situated in the Caribbean Sea, between latitude 17 deg. 43 min. and 18 deg. 32 min. N., and longitude 76 deg. 11 min. and 78 deg. 30 min. W. It is 90 miles south of Cuba, 100 west of Haiti, and 554 miles from Colon. The nearest point of the continent of America is about 400 miles southwest of the island. The name Jamaica is said to be derived from Arawak words denoting water and wood, signifying a fertile land. The island is 144 miles long, and from 21.5 to 49 miles broad. Its area is 4207.5 square miles, of which about 646 are flat, consisting of alluvium, marl, and swamp. There are some mineral deposits in the island, the most abundant being copper. The surface of the island is very mountainous, almost 2000 square miles of it being above an altitude of 1000 feet. The culminating point, Blue Mountain Peak, is 7360 feet high.

FLORA AND FAUNA

There are over two thousand distinct species of flowering plants and some four hundred and seventy varieties of ferns in Jamaica. The economic woods include: logwood, lignum-vitae, cedar, mahogany, mahoe, fustic, bullet-wood, yacca satin-wood, and cashaw. The medicinal woods and plants are quassia, cinchona, gamboge, sarsaparilla, senna, belladonna, castor-oil, ginger, tamarind, and tobacco. Dietetic: coffee, cocoa, arrow-root, pimento, cane, plantain, yam, and sweet potato. Among the fruit trees, all the citrus family abound, mango, star-apple, bread-fruit, banana, cocoa-nut, custard-apple, avocado pear, pineapple, etc.

TOPOGRAPHY

The island is divided into three counties: Surrey, Middlesex, and Cornwall, and each into five parishes: Portland, St. Thomas, St. Andrew, Kingston, Port Royal; St. Mary, St. Ann, St. Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester; Hanover, St. James Trelawny, St. Elizabeth, Westmoreland.

POPULATION AND VITAL STATISTICS

The first recorded attempt at enumerating the population of Jamaica was in 1660, when "the relicts of the army" were stated to be 2200, and the planters, merchants, and others about the same number. In 1775, there were 13,737 whites, free coloured 4093, slaves 192,787. In 1834 — the year of negro emancipation — it was computed that there were 15,000 whites, 5000 free blacks, 40,000 coloured, 311,070 slaves, making a total of 371,070. In June, 1844, the census gave whites 13,816, coloured 81,074, and blacks 346,374; total 441,264. The population in 1891 was 639,493 of whom 14,692 were white, 121,755 were coloured, 486,624 black, 10,116 coolies (East Indians), 481 Chinamen, and 3623 not described. The total estimated population in 1907 was 830,261. The Registrar-General's statistics show that upwards of 65 per cent of births were those of illegitimate children. Many of these are the offspring of consistent or permanent concubinage rather than of promiscuity. In this connection it must not be forgotten that the ancestors of the majority of this people some two generations ago were permitted and encouraged to breed like cattle, and were denied admission to the marriage state. In 1881 there were over 10,000 Catholics in Jamaica; in 1891 there were 12,000, and at the present date (1908) about 14.000. The average annual birthrate for ten years 1896-7 to 1906-7, was 36.5 per 1000 of the estimated mean population. For the same period the mean average death-rate of population per 1000 was 23.2. The population of Kingston is some 50,000, Spanish Town 5690, Montego Bay 4760, Port Antonio 2500, Falmouth 3100, Mandeville 1500.

CLIMATE AND METEOROLOGY

Intimately associated with vital statistics comes the question of climate. Jamaica, being a tropical island, was formerly looked on as injurious as a residence to the inhabitants of northern latitudes. This theory has been completely refuted, and for many years past the invalid and tourist is resorting in increasing numbers to this "Riviera of the West," which is an ideal sojourn for the health-seeker. The diversity of surface, from the plains to the plateaux and mountain slopes, affords a variety of climate suitable to any requirement. The table of 1899 given in the next column will illustrate this fact, at varying altitudes and localities.

Meteorological records are wanting for Manchester and St. Elizabeth highlands, which are much drier than other hill districts of the island. There are many mineral springs valuable for the cure of acute and chronic diseases, especially gout and rheumatism. Two of them possess very remarkable curative properties: the hot sulphurous springs of Bath, and the warm saline spring at Milk River.

Locality Temperature Humidity Rainfall Mean Mean Mean Annual Total Annual Annual Annual (%) (inches) (deg. F) Range 7 a.m. 3 p.m. (F deg.) Kingston, Public Gardens, elev. 60 ft. 79.4 16.2 81 63 46.78 Hope Gardens, elev. 700 ft. 77.3 20.9 87 67 62.39 Cinchona Gardens elev. 4900 ft. 62.9 12.2 83 84 90.08

HISTORY

Jamaica was discovered by Columbus on 3 May, 1494. He landed probably at or near St. Ann's Bay, called by him Sancta Gloria, owing to the great beauty of the environs. Nine years later his caravels were wrecked at Puerto Bueno — the present Dry Harbour. He gave the name Santiago to the island, which was but partially colonized by the Spaniards, and was never popular with them. They first introduced horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, and domestic poultry. To the Spaniards Jamaica is also indebted for the orange, lemon, lime, and other fruit trees; the coffee tree is due however to British initiative about the year 1721. From the constituents of the shell mounds throughout the island and the absence therefrom of all objects of a European character, it would appear that these accumulations represent the kitchen middens of the pre-Columban aboriginal inhabitants. These remains found principally in caves, comprise: (a) crania and other bones (human), (b) stone implements (celts, etc.), (c) objects of pottery (various), (d) ornamental beads (chalcedony), kitchen middens containing shells (principally marine), broken pottery, fish and coney bones, stone implements, and ashes. Their cottages were built on stockade posts set vertically side by side in a trench. For animal food they depended principally on the sea, and on their festivals or barbecues the entire village went out on marine or river excursions. Their gardens yielded arrow-root, beans, cassava, cucumbers, melons, maize, and yams; for fruit they cultivated the guava, mammee, papaw and star-apple. They cultivated cotton and wound it for cordage and twisted it into yarn for making garments. The only domestic animals were probably the muysea duck and the alca, a small dog. The aborigines were most probably a tribe of the Arawak Indians , and not Caribs, who were cannibals. The Arawaks were a gentle and inoffensive people as their name (meal-eaters) signifies. They believed in a Supreme Being (Jocahuna), in a future state, and had a tradition about a deluge. Their form of government was patriarchal. They smoked tobacco and played a football game called bato , in which both men and women joined.

Spanish Occupation

A review of the period of Spanish occupation is one which reflects very little credit on Spanish colonial administration in those days. Their treatment of the aboriginal inhabitants, whom they are accused of having practically exterminated, is a grave charge, and if true, cannot be condoned on the plea that such conduct was characteristic of the age, and that as bad or worse was perpetrated by other nations even in later years. In the few places where the Spaniards settled, they invariably built a church, sometimes a monastery, and occasionally a theatre. Sevilla-Nueva (or Sevilla d'Oro) was the capital of the island from 1510 till 1520, when Diego Columbo founded a new capital, Santiago de la Vega, which is now known as Spanish Town. In 1521 orders were received from Spain to cease from making the native Indians slaves. Las Casas , deservedly called "Protector-General of the Indians," was instrumental in inducing the pope to issue a Bull in 1542, restoring the Indians to freedom. Unhappily this concession came too late for the aboriginal inhabitants of the island. Soon after, Africans were imported into Jamaica as slaves. The discreditable failure to capture San Domingo by the expedition under Admiral Penn — father of the founder of Pennsylvania — and General Venables, described by Carlyle as "the unsuccessfulest enterprise Oliver Cromwell had concern with," ended in a successful descent on Jamaica, which was captured in May, 1655.

English Occupation

"To signalise the capture of St. Iago" by the English "a small leaven of Puritan feeling and a large amount of ruffianism led the troops into a display of energy. . . . The abbey and the two churches were demolished and the bells melted down for shot" (Gardner). The poet Milton, secretary to Cromwell, justified this invasion of the West Indies on the ground of "the most noble opportunities of promoting the Glory of God, and enlarging the bounds of the Kingdom of Christ, which we do not doubt will appear to be the chief end of our late expedition to the West Indies." The advent of the English adventurer gave a considerable impetus to trade with the outside world. The chief seaport of the island, now Port Royal, soon became "a nest of iniquity and a centre of rude luxury, the emporium of the loot of the buccaneer. . . . no form of vice was wanting, no indulgence too extravagant for its lawless population." But it paid the penalty of its lawlessness, being wiped out by an earthquake on 7 June, 1692, after which event Kingston, the present capital, was established. As a means of repeopling the island, which was being decimated by fever, a large number of Royalists in Ireland were seized and sent out as slaves by the English. "As a result of Cromwell's Irish policy one thousand young women and the same number of young men were by order of the Council of State arrested in Ireland and shipped to Jamaica, while the sheriffs of several counties of Scotland were instructed to apprehend all known idle, masterless robbers and vagabonds, male and female, and transport them to the island" (Ellis). In 1660 the population of Jamaica was about 4500 whites and some 1500 negroes. Jamaica was ceded to England by the treaty of Madrid in 1670. On the accession of James II, the Duke of Albemarle (a Catholic ), son of General Monk, was appointed governor of Jamaica. One of his suite was Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum.

Slavery

The war with the American colonies met with little sympathy in Jamaica. The assembly petitioned George III to grant more political autonomy to the struggling colonists. In 1778 France, which had recognized the independence of the new republic, was forced into war by England, and Jamaica, like the rest of the West Indies, suffered accordingly. Seven years later the maroons, or half-breed negroes, rose in rebellion, repulsed both the colonial militia and the regular troops, devastated large tracts of country, and were not finally overpowered till 1790. Some 600 of them, men, women, and children were deported to Nova Scotia, and subsequently to Sierra Leone. In the eighteenth century 700,000 negro slaves were landed in Jamaica. When, in 1807, the slave trade was abolished in the British colonies, there were some 320,000 slaves in Jamaica. Slavery was destined to continue there for more than another quarter of a century. The local Government, which consisted almost entirely of slave holders and sympathizers with slavery, was a negrophobic plutocracy, and the Anglican, or Episcopalian, clergy were in sympathy with the assembly, as they were dependent on it for their stipends. Ministers of other Protestant denominations were working for the education and enlightenment of the negroes, only to be reviled, hindered, and persecuted by the dominant party. A serious outbreak among the slaves occurred in 1831, property to the value of $3,500,000 being destroyed. The law emancipating the slaves passed by the British Parliament was accepted by the Jamaica Assembly in 1833 under strong protests, and on 1 August, 1834, slavery was abolished in the island. The number of slaves for whom compensation was paid by the British Government was 225,290, the amount awarded having been $29,269,875. As an immediate result of the emancipation of the negroes, the want of labourers was soon experienced. In 1844 immigration of hill- coolies from Hindustan was sanctioned by the Legislative Council. During the past sixty years, some 30,000 Hindu agricultural labourers have been imported into the island, of whom over 10,000 have, during the last twenty years, returned to India, taking back with them more than $350,000 in government bills of exchange.

Catholic Revival

From the time of the expulsion of the Spaniards in 1655, and especially after the adoption of the Toleration Act of 1688, which "afforded liberty of conscience to all persons except papists" (Gardner), Catholic revival in the island was debarred. It was not until 1792 that the first instalment of freedom of worship was granted to them. Dr. Douglas, Vicar Apostolic of the London District, and ecclesiastical superior of the Catholics in the British West Indies, sent out an Irish Franciscan, Father Quigley, in 1798, who did pioneer work for seven years, and died in 1805. He was succeeded by Fathers Rodriguez d'Arango and Campos Benito, both Franciscans. By a Brief of Gregory XVI dated 10 January, 1837, the British West Indies were divided into three vicariates Apostolic : the Windward Islands, British Guiana and Jamaica. Father Benito was appointed first Vicar Apostolic of this island in 1837. The same year two Jesuits, Fathers Cotham, an Englishman, and Dupeyron, a Frenchman, arrived. They, with the Vicar Apostolic and Father Duquesnay, the first native of Jamaica raised to the priesthood, formed the whole ecclesiastical body. Asiatic cholera broke out in Jamaica in October, 1850, claiming over 30,000 victims; the Catholic clergy won the highest praise for their self-sacrifice and heroism during the plague. In 1835 the Vicar Apostolic, Benito, died and was succeeded by Father Dupeyron, S.J., the first Jesuit to act as Vicar Apostolic of Jamaica.

Jesuit Administration

We have now to deal with the mature development of the mission in the nineteenth century. Numerically it was small, but it had attracted public attention by its philanthropic and religious work. With the accession of Father Dupeyron the Jamaica mission came formally under the control of the Society of Jesus, and has remained so ever since. The new Vicar Apostolic, hampered like his predecessors by a paucity of labourers and scantiness of resources, could continue only to watch over and safeguard that which had already been effected.

In 1857 four Sisters of the Third Order Regular of St. Francis arrived in Jamaica from Glasgow, to instruct the coloured children. In a short time they opened a poor school and subsequently a high school for young ladies, both destined to do excellent work. In 1866 Father Joseph Sidney Woollett, S.J., of the English province, received sub-delegate powers of Vicar Apostolic. The following year Father Hathaway, S.J., arrived from England. He was a distinguished graduate of the University of Oxford, and had been a Fellow of Worcester College, and subsequently dean and bursar. In 1849 he accepted the incumbency of Shadwell, near Leeds. Becoming a Catholic in 1851, he joined the Society of Jesus at the age of thirty-eight. He was a most zealous, self-denying, hardworking priest, an eloquent and persuasive preacher, and a cultured scholar; yet for years he taught the poor school for boys (St. Joseph's), until his health broke down. He died in 1891. The number of Catholics in Jamaica in 1872 did not exceed 6000; the greater portion of them lived in Kingston, where there were two churches. Seven chapels supplied the wants of the sparsely scattered rural Catholic population. There were about 400 children, boys and girls, attending the convent schools and St. Joseph's in the capital. In August, 1880, a cyclone passed over the east end of the island, destroying nearly all the wharves in Kingston. The Catholic churches and schools were wrecked, but were soon replaced through the generosity of the faithful in England and the United States, and the efforts of Father Thomas Porter, S.J., Vicar Apostolic from 1877 till 1888. After some forty consecutive years of priestly labour, Father Joseph Dupont, S.J., died in 1887. To perpetuate his memory, the citizens of Kingston, irrespective of creed or class, erected a marble statue in the Parade Square of the city. The statue was overturned and broken by the earthquake of 1907.

Bishop Gordon

Before his arrival in Jamaica, the Right Reverend Charles Cordon, S.J., D.D., who succeeded Father Porter as Vicar Apostolic, had been consecrated Bishop of Thyatira in partibus infidelium . He set about supplying the most pressing needs of the mission. Efficient elementary schools were started. In 1891 Holy Trinity church was improved, a tower, the Lady chapel, a sacristy, and baptistery being added at a cost of $12,500. Finally a hall to afford recreation and instruction for Catholic men, and for the meetings of the church guilds and sodalities, was completed in 1905 and named "Gordon Hall" after its founder. The hall and the church were both destroyed by the earthquake of 1907. Dr. Gordon also brought the Salesians into Jamaica, placing at their disposal a large property, Reading Pen, near Montego Bay, to be used for an agricultural college. In 1894 the care of the Jamaica mission was transferred to the Maryland-New York province of the Society, from the English province which had served it from the year 1855. In 1905 Father John Joseph Collins, S.J., was appointed administrator Apostolic of the vicariate, and in 1907 he was raised to the episcopacy as Bishop of Antiphellos in partibus infidelium and Vicar Apostolic of Jamaica.

Education

One of the first subjects to which the friends of emancipation turned their attention after the abolition of slavery was the education of the predial population of the West Indies. In Jamaica, however, there had been very little progress. The grant which had been made by the imperial Parliament was discontinued in 1844, and all that was done for elementary education in Jamaica was the grant of $15,000 per annum by the legislature for the next twenty years. A training college for educating teachers was established in 1870. In 1850 some Spanish Jesuits, who had been banished from New Granada by the Liberal revolutionary party, arrived at Kingston and opened what was called the Spanish College and what is now St. George's College, a school of higher education for boys of the middle and upper classes. Most of the refugee priests left Jamaica shortly afterwards for Guatemala, but the work they inaugurated was carried on by Father Simond, S.J. The college was closed about 1865, and opened again in 1868. Many prominent men in the island of all denominations have been educated there. In 1870 it ceased to be a boarding establishment. On the coming of the American Jesuits, the college was transferred to Winchester Park, in the suburbs of Kingston.

Elementary education for Catholics had been left very much in abeyance up to Bishop Gordon's arrival in 1889. The convent primary school had not more than 150 children, St. Joseph's school for boys not as many, and some half-dozen schools in various parts of the island, with a fluctuating attendance of under one hundred, were all that represented Catholic elementary education in Jamaica. The advent of the Sisters of Mercy from the parent-house, Bermondsey, London, in December, 1890, soon gave an additional impetus to Catholic education. Fifteen years later there were in all some two thousand children attending the various schools of the Sisters of St. Francis, and considerably over one thousand in the schools of the Sisters of Mercy. In addition, there are two orphanages at the Convent of Mercy, as well as two industrial schools (under Government), and a high school for girls. A house of mercy has also been established for the protection of young women.

Recent Events

The history of the colony from 1850 till 1865 might be described as a political tempest in a teapot. The Assembly and the Executive were at a dead-lock. Trouble was brewing in the country. During 1864 a severe drought had greatly impoverished the people, and the American Civil War had increased the price of imported bread-stuffs. Agitators had called on the coloured population to assert themselves, and the cry of "colour for colour and blood for blood" was raised. A partial rebellion, limited to the parish of St. Thomas, broke out among the black population in 1865. Some magistrates and officials were butchered at the beginning of the outbreak, but martial law was proclaimed, and the rebellion was quickly suppressed by methods which a Royal Commission pronounced later to have been unnecessarily severe. The chief agitators were hanged, after which Governor Eyre was recalled by the British authorities and was succeeded by Sir John Peter Grant, during whose term of office (1865-74) a number of important reforms were introduced. He brought an order in council abolishing the Legislative Assembly and establishing Crown government. The new legislature was designated the "Legislative Council of Jamaica" consisting of the Governor, six official members, and three non-official members. A privy council was also provided; a new revenue system was established; the police were organized; and other useful departments — judicial, public works, and banks — were re-arranged or founded. In 1871 the State, or Anglican, Church in Jamaica was disestablished. The seat of the civil government was transferred from Spanish Town to Kingston during the same year. The Rio Cobre irrigation works completed at a cost of $650,000 have in recent years converted the lowlands of the parish of St. Catherine into a huge banana plantation. In 1868 the cultivation of cinchona as an economic industry was started by Government; and the rapidly increase in banana trade between Port Antonio and the United States has been the salvation of the island financially during the last twenty-five years.

In Nov., 1875, a cyclone occurred, followed by another in Aug., 1880. The advent of Sir Henry Norman as governor to the colony in Dec., 1883, was signalized by the establishment of a revised constitution ( promulgated by an order in council of Queen Victoria ), consisting of a governor, a privy council, and a legislative council. The first is appointed by the sovereign for five years, and holds office during the sovereign's pleasure. The privy council consists of the senior military officer (not being below the rank of lieutenant-colonel), the colonial secretary, the attorney-general; and such other persons, not to exceed eight, provisionally appointed by the governor subject to the approval of the sovereign. The legislative council consists of the president (the governor), five ex-officio members, ten nominated members, and fourteen elected members (one for each of the fourteen parishes ).

In 1890 the Jamaica Government Railway was sold to an American syndicate for $500,000 in cash, and $3,500,000 in second mortgage debentures. An international exhibition was opened (27 Jan., 1891), by the then Prince George of Wales. The guarantee fund was $120,000, total visitors, 302,830. Sir Henry Blake was then administering the affairs of the colony as governor.

In 1893 a board of education was formed. The abolition of fees in elementary schools was provided for by a house tax. In 1896 a scheme for the sale of Crown lands to small settlers was instituted. In 1898 direct cable service between Jamaica and England was established. The Imperial Direct Line of steamers was inaugurated with $200,000 annual subsidy — half from Jamaica, and half from the Imperial Government. Port Royal was created a separate parish in the same year.

AGRICULTURE AND COMMERCE

There is an agricultural society with some fifty affiliated branches in the various parishes of the island. Lectures and practical demonstrations have been organized by the society. Of the 2,500,000 acres of land in Jamaica, 1,310,000 are in wood and ruinate, and 775,000 under cultivation, 360,000 grazing land, and 215,000 under tillage). There are 143,000 acres of government or Crown land unoccupied. The following table shows the area under cultivation the last year of each of the three decades:

Year Canes Coffee Cocoa Ginger Corn Tobacco Bananas 1885 40,500 19,650 415 148 925 86 ? 1895 30,970 23,640 1,687 84 384 230 18,850 1905 24,420 21,480 6,532 184 86 378 32,675

In 1902-3 over 14,000,000 bunches of bananas valued at $5,673,750 were exported. Over 95 per cent of these went to America. It was officially estimated that the loss to the island by the cyclone the following year, through destruction and damage to crops and buildings and loss of trade, was $12,500,000. The estimated number of cattle, horses, etc. in the island in 1904-5 was: horned stock, 107,695; horses, 57,908; asses, 18,500.

Shipping

Number and tonnage of vessels that entered in the ports of the island for the year 1907:

Type Nationality Number Tonnage Sail British 182 15,974 Sail Foreign 49 28,441 Steam British 312 506,683 Steam Foreign 932 968,189

Quantity and value of the chief exports in 1907:

Commodity Quantity Value Sugar 15,499 hhds. $592,710 Rum 14,630 puns. 670,570 Coffee 54,861 cwts. 442,320 Pimento 85,294 cwts. 394,480 Dyewood 34,004 tons 417,560 Fruit 5,053,020 Tobacco 134,425 Minor products 1,675,590

Thus the relative importance of the island's exports that year was: sugar 6.3, rum 7.1, coffee 4.7, dyewood 4.4, pimento 4.2, fruit 53.8, tobacco 1.4, minor products 17.8. Of the exports, 57.2 per cent in value went to the United States of America , and 29.8 per cent to the United Kingdom.

Currency

Gold and silver coins current in Great Britain and Ireland are legal tender to any extent, and local nickel pennies, half pennies, and farthings are legal tender to the extent of twelve pence (one shilling) in one payment. Paper money consists of the notes of the Colonial Bank, and of the Bank of Nova Scotia, of 1 to 5 pounds sterling and upwards. The other coins here are American gold coins. English weights and measures are in use in the colony. There are three daily newspapers published at Kingston and twelve others (six weekly, four monthly, and two quarterly) at Kingston and other parts of the island.

Means of Communication

The whole length of main roads on the island aggregates close on 2000 miles; they are sufficiently broad almost everywhere for a double line of traffic, and are generally maintained in excellent condition. The first railway in Jamaica was opened between Kingston and Spanish Town in 1845. It was extended to Old Harbour in 1867, and from there to Porus in 1885, as well as the branch line to Ewarton from Spanish Town in the same year. In 1890 American capitalists extended the line to Montego Bay, a distance of 113 miles, and to Port Antonio, a distance of 54 miles. An electric tram line, some 24 miles in extent, serves Kingston and its suburbs. The first steamship communication between Jamaica (Kingston) and the United States (New York) was begun in 1860. Jamaica joined the Universal Postal Union in 1877. There is a fortnightly mail service to and from England direct, also one via New York, a weekly service to the United States . There are 160 post and 64 telegraph offices in the island — and two lines of cables connect Jamaica with America.

THE EARTHQUAKE OF 1907

A shock of earthquake of great severity occurred about 3:30 p.m. on Monday, 14 January, 1907. It lasted for upwards of twenty seconds; its greatest intensity was experienced along the foreshore of Kingston harbour. A large proportion of the buildings of the capital were either destroyed or badly damaged. The injuries to the submarine cables indicated that the gravamen of the shock was experienced at a depth of about a mile. The greater part of the business area of the city was destroyed, most of it by fire. The loss of life and property was estimated at about 800 persons and about $10,050,000 (Handbook of Jamaica, 1909). Almost of the churches in the city were either completely wrecked or damaged beyond repair, and the majority of the public buildings, institutions, and the two convents, and their schools suffered equally. The cataclysm was one of the most calamitous events which has occurred in the history of the colony. Generous offers of pecuniary aid were made by most of the large cities of the United States , but were declined by the local Government. Some of the ships of the United States Atlantic fleet landed a party of medical officers, and equipment for the temporary field hospital at the Jesuits' college at Winchester Park. These surgeons did excellent work. A body of American marines was landed at the request of the authorities to quell an uprising among the prisoners at the general penitentiary. This action was subsequently taken exception to by the governor, and consequently the American admiral had no alternative but to withdraw his squadron, leaving, however, supplies, medicines, etc. for the use of the sufferers. Subsequently the Imperial Government expressed regret at the action of its representative, who shortly afterwards resigned. A Mansion House (London) fund to relieve the distress was promptly started, and realized some $277,000. A free grant was made by the Imperial Parliament of $750,000 and a temporary loan of $4,000,000 at 3 per cent. The funds subscribed from all sources were distributed by a relief committee. Up to 31 Dec., 1908, loans to the value of $1,317,150 had been made. Thanks to the energy of Dr. Collins, the Vicar Apostolic, most of the damaged Catholic schools were repaired or rebuilt in a few months. A new Catholic church dedicated to the Holy Trinity is being erected near Winchester Park in place of the former one which was ruined by the earthquake.

DEPENDENCIES

The Turks and Caicos Islands, which geographically form part of the Bahama group, are dependencies of Jamaica. They have an area of 162.5 square miles and a population of some 5300. The exports are salt and sponges. The seat of government is at Grand Turk, the town containing 1750 inhabitants. The Cayman Islands, having an area of about 225 square miles, are situated some 180 miles to the W.N.W. of Negril Point, Jamaica. They were discovered by Christopher Columbus and named by him Las Tortugas, on account of the turtles with which the coast swarmed. The estimated population of the three islands, Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman, is 5000 for the largest island, and about 1000 between the two smaller islands. The exports are coco-nuts, turtles, phosphates, ropes, cordage, etc., made from the palm-thatch which grows in abundance. Shipbuilding to a limited extent goes on; sloops and schooners of from 40 to 70 tons register are built from native woods, mahogany, cedar, calabash, cashaw, etc., and sold in Cuba. The Cayman group has an administrator and local justices and forms a dependency under the jurisdiction of Jamaica.


More Encyclopedia

The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.

Catholic Encyclopedia

Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.

No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.

Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912

Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 18:1-2, 21-23; 19:1-3, 9
1 After this, I saw another angel come down from ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:2, 3, 4, 5
2 serve Yahweh with gladness, come into his presence ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:20-28
20 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 27th, 2014 Image

St. James Intercisus
November 27: James was a favorite of King Yezdigerd I of Persia and a ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter