St. Elizabeth-Location and Geography

St. Elizabeth lies to the southwest end of Jamaica, bordered on the north by St. James and Trelawny, on the south by the Caribbean Sea, on the east by the parish of Westmoreland and on the west by Manchester.  The parish covers 1,212.4 square kilometers (468.1 square miles) of the Jamaican land mass.

The northern and northeastern sections of the parish are mountainous, while an extensive plain occupies the central and southern districts. Running through this plain from north to south is the Santa Cruz range of mountains, which terminates at the southern extreme with a 1,600-foot precipice.

Much of the land in the parish consists of dry grasslands called savannahs, marsh and swamp, forest and scrub woodlands. The predominant use of land is for agriculture, which includes the production of sugar cane, mixed farming and citrus.

The parish has an extensive area of alluvium from the boundary with Manchester to the one with Westmoreland.  In the northeast of the parish there is also an extensive flat area called the Nassau Valley. The rest of the parish is white limestone with some brown patches of yellow limestone. The plains of the savannahs are mud-caked brown wastes in the dry weather but which is very fertile when it rains.

Outside of the rainy season, the parish is dry for the rest of the year.

Main Elevations

  • Santa Cruz Mountains reaches a height of 457.2 to 914.4 metres (1,500 to 3,000 feet)
  • Nassau Mountains 182 to 475 metres (600 to 1,500 feet)
  • Malvern 724 metres (2,375 feet)

Main Rivers

St. Elizabeth is physically dominated by the Black River, which, with its many tributaries is considered one of the finest and longest rivers in Jamaica. It begins as a stream in the hills of neighbouring Manchester before it disappears underground for several miles, to rise again near Balaclava in the north of the parish. The river carves its way across St. Elizabeth for 53.4 kilometres (33 miles). It is navigable for about 40 kilometres (25 miles) and has traditionally been used as a conveyor of goods into the interior of the parish. At its source in the mountains, it tumbles down gorges, then fed by its many tributaries, flows across a large plain, known as the Savannah, before it creeps sluggishly through morass lands and empties into the sea.  Some of the main tributaries feeding the Black River include the Y.S., Borad, Grass and Horse Savannah.