Named for Lady Elizabeth Modyford, wife of Jamaican Governor Sir Thomas Modyford
St. Elizabeth is one of the Jamaica’s largest parishes and is known, familiarly, as ‘the bread basket’ of the nation.
There are three mountain ranges - the Nassau Mountains to the north-east, the Santa Cruz Mountains which, running south, divide the wide plain to end in a precipitous drop of 1600 feet at Lovers' Leap, and the Lacovia Mountains to the west of the Nassau Mountains. The Black River is the main river supported by many tributary rivers including Y.S., Broad, Grass and Horse Savannah.
Like other parishes its limestone formation have created waterfalls and numerous caves, including Mexico, the longest in the island, Yardley Chase Caves near the foot of Lovers' Leap, Wallingford Caves near Balaclava, famous for the fossil remains of large extinct rodents and Peru Cave near Goshen with its impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
Much of the land in the parish is dry grassland called savannahs, wetlands, forests and scrub woodlands. The land is used mainly for agriculture for growing sugar cane and for pasture. There is still one sugar factory on Appleton Estate which is noted for its fine blends of rum. Fishing, food processing, craft industry, and tourism are important economic activities. Attractions like bamboo Avenue, YS Falls, Front Hill Wild Life Sanctuary, and Pond Side Lake are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
Mineral deposits include bauxite, antimony, white limestone, clay, peat and silica sand. Silica sand is used to manufacture glass.
Black River is the parish capital. Other important towns are Santa Cruz, Malvern, Junction and Balaclava.
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