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Westmoreland Parish

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Westmoreland is the westernmost parish in Jamaica, located on the south side of the island. It is situated to the south of Hanover, the southwest of Saint James, and the northwest of Saint Elizabeth, in the county of Cornwall. The chief town and capital is Savanna-la-Mar. Negril, a famous tourist destination, is also situated in the parish.Brief historyThe earliest inhabitants of Westmoreland were the Arawak and Ciboney Indians. The Ciboney were first to arrive from the coast of South America around 500 B.C. Known as "cave dwellers," they lived along the cliffs of Negril. The labyrinth of caves and passageways beneath what is now the Xtabi Hotel in Negril are one of the first known settlements of Ciboney Indians in Jamaica.Christopher Columbus stopped at what became Westmoreland on his second voyage when he landed in Jamaica. One of the first Spanish settlements was also built at present-day Bluefields in this parish.The English took over the island from Spanish rule in 1665. Colonists named the parish Westmoreland in 1703, as it was the most westerly point of the island. In 1730, Savanna-la-Mar, a coastal port, was designated to replace Banbury as the capital of the parish. A fort was built in the 1700s to defend the port against pirates. Today it is one of the historic sites of the parish.
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