When Manchester was established in the early nineteenth century there was no debate as to where the capital should be located. What came to be known as Mandeville, was the natural choice because of its centrality.
Mandeville was a popular place of settlement for British expatriates who enjoyed its temperate climate. The town was often described with fondness as a “typical English village”. Once referred to as a small rural capital, Mandeville is now one of the largest and most affluent urban areas in Jamaica.
Mandeville sits atop a range of mountains which reach as far as 2000 feet above sea level, providing spectacular views of the surrounding areas. The high altitudes are responsible for its cool climate. On average the temperature is 70 degrees F, a stark contrast to other geographic locations in the tropical island.
The topography is also excellent for drainage. Consequently, there are few adverse effects from the estimated 2000 inches of rainfall which the town experiences on an annual basis.
Today, however the so-called typical English village is said to be losing its European character. With a rapidly moderinising landscape, dotted with several popular fast food franchises, the town is now being likened to a North American suburb.
Now called Christiana, a Latin word which means Christian woman, this town was previously refered to as Barracks, because it was a favoured spot among British soldiers who went there seeking refuge from the heat of the lowlands.
Christiana is the second largest town in Manchester and is probably most famous for its two main agricultural products – bananas and Irish Potatoes. Although Mandeville is the business centre of Manchester, Christiana holds its own as a site for commercial and social activity.
Located on the eastern border of Manchester, close to the parish of Clarendon, Porus is another thriving business centre. The town’s largest industry is agriculture with coconuts, coffee, citrus and other fruits being the main crops. Porus is also the gateway to Manchester from Kingston.
Home to some of the best pasture lands in the parish, Mile Gully is a prime location for cattle farming. Situated in north western Manchester, the rural community is the birthplace of the Jamaica Black and the Jamaica Red cattle. It is also the location of the country’s largest livestock breeding research station. Mile Gully is also the place where the legendary campaign for the new parish began.