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‘The paradise of the world’: conflict and society in the Caribbean

Roads and railways

A railway line under constructionAlong the railway, from: Edgar Mayhew Bacon and Eugene Murray Aaron. The new Jamaica. New York: Walbridge & Co; Kingston [Jamaica]: Aston W Gardner & Co, 1890 [FCO Historical Collection F1871 BAC]Aimed explicitly at ‘the tourist and the health seeker’, this American guidebook was published to coincide with the Jamaican international industrial exhibition, which was to open its doors in Kingston (since 1870 the capital of Jamaica) on 27 January 1891.

Containing displays of manufactured goods, agricultural produce and works of art from all over the world, the exhibition was a telling indication of Jamaica’s growing prosperity.

Banana production was increasing all the time, around 700,000 acres of the island were now under agricultural cultivation and the abolition, after the Morant Bay revolt, of the local legislative assembly and its replacement by the direct rule of a London-appointed governor (the Crown colony system) had led to bold schemes of public investment in roads and railways. Bacon and Aaron speak in their introduction of ‘the present life and promise of a new Jamaica.’

The sketch on display shows a railway line under construction between Ewarton and Port Antonio.

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