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Many towns and villages with interesting names span the island of Jamaica. There are some that are quite unusual and then there are those that are humourous. Each place name has a story behind it and it is quite interesting to learn how some of these names originated.

Guthrie’s Defile

This town in St. Elizabeth was named after an officer of the Jamaica Militia, Colonel Guthrie. He was instrumental in formulating the Peace Treaty with the Maroons in the 18th. century.

Hell Below

This is the name given to a dangerous corner near Dunn’s River where there is a deep fall into the sea.


This town is located in the parish of Trelawny. Its name refers to the rich colour of the soil found in this area.

Shoe Myself Gate

It is said that usually when, persons in this town who were not accustomed to wearing shoes, acquired a new pair, they would carry the shoes over their shoulders until they reached their destination. At the gate, they would “shoe themselves”. This town is located in the parish of St. Elizabeth.

Bull Bay

This area acquired its name during the time of the buccaneers or “cow killers”.

Putogether Corner

This is a spot near Mandeville where it is said that the market women would stop and put their goods and themselves together before reaching into the town.


Refers to an area in St. Elizabeth where the rain seldom falls. This results in crops of poor quality being reaped, if any at all.

Nun’s Pen

There was once a rich planter who had two daughters he was grooming to “marry well”, so they could increase the family’s wealth. However, both daughters later announced that they were going to become nuns. This frustrated the father who eventually gave the land away to the church and renamed the area Nun’s Pen.


Located in St. Elizabeth, was named during the time of the Maroons. It is said that during the early years, the Maroons did not have a very positive attitude towards unexpected visitors. Therefore, if they did not sanction someone’s entrance, he was led through the most torturous routes in the hope that this would lessen his curiousity.


Found in Trelawny, encourages travellers to stop and observe the view from there.

Save Rent

This is a town in Westmoreland, its name being a corruption of that of a French colonist, M. Saverent.


This town is located at the foot of Spur Tree Hill in St. Elizabeth. It is said that when there is a heavy downpour, water flows through the town from three directions making it almost impassable.

There are many other towns and districts that have very interesting names with an equally interesting history. Quite a few of them got their names from the time of the Arawaks, the name of the island included. Others came about during the time the Spaniards ruled including Ocho Rios and Savanna La Mar. Many of the rivers here still maintain their Spanish names as well, such as, the Rios Cobre, Grande, Minho, Bueno, Magno and Pedro. When the English took over, they too had their influence on some of the place names in Jamaica. Many of the places were named in honour of their Governors including Lawes, Heywood and Beckford Streets in Downtown, Kingston.

There are also those places that derived their names from natural features, such as, Blue Mountains, Dry Harbour and Green Island.

Isn’t Jamaica an interesting place to live?


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