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Lakes at Moneague, Jamaica

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early references

 

 

The existence of lakes or ponds in the Moneague area had been recorded from the early years of the British presence in Jamaica, although it must be assumed that both the Spaniards, and earlier the Tainos had also been aware of their existence.  Stanley’s map of 1678 indicates a "Tortois pond" and other maps up to the end of the 18th century also indicate a pond or ponds, and specifically a Turtle Pond or Ponds.  Sir Hans Sloane in his History of 1707 refers to "'Lagunas', or great Ponds" and Edward Long's History of 1774 speaks of "a large Lake of immense depth".  In a letter to the Gleaner in January 1917 Oscar Plummer wrote:

 

"It may further interest your readers to know that in 1723, Mr. Job Williams, of St. Mary and St. Ann, writing to his friend, Mr. George Balch of Bristol, invited him to come and recoup his health in the the Garden of the Western Paradise, where he would gather new lungs by inhaling the healing perfume of aromatic plants wafted o’er the Monesca of the Indians from whence could be seen the placid waters of an inland lake, 'a smile of the Great Spirit.' Moneague is said to be the 'Monesca' or 'Monkey Hill' of the Indians."

 

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The name

 

That explanation of the name Moneague was challenged by three other explanations given in the Gleaner in 1934: A. S. Byles said that it was probably a corruption of two Spanish words "monte" and "agua", therefore meaning mountain water, which explanation was slightly modified by G. R Machado who suggested that it came from the Spanish word "Managua" meaning a place where there is water; J. L. Peietersz thought that it probably came from the word "manigua" commonly used by the Spanish in Cuba for bush or jungle. Plummer also referred to the lake appearing in 1780 "after the great storm'', tantalizingly deciding to give no further information, but this appearance of the lake was also mentioned by H. E. Henderson-Davies in 1934.

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. . . the "Joy and Sorrow" lakes

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