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image of watershed
IKONOS image courtesy of GEOEYE and Forestry Department

According to Knibb Sibley, Martha Brae river has given its name to the town near its mouth and to the watershed which it drains. It has its source at Windsor and flows into the sea at Rock after passing the village of the same name. The name appears to be a corruption of the Spanish Rio Para Matar Tiberon shown on a Spanish map dated 1680. It was a main artery in Trelawny and links many of the sugar plantations, in particular those belonging to John Tharpe.
The Spanish connection actually originates in the early days of Spanish Occupation, when, according to Phillippo it was known as Melilla/Manilla, one of the first three towns in Jamaica. This may be incorrect, as Annotto Bay may have been the Melilla in question.

The present Martha Brae town was created by Henry Cunliffe in 1762 out of the eastern portion of his sugar estate, Holland. He named the town Lyttelton, after the then-Governor of Jamaica, William Lyttelton, but this name was gradually lost and the town reverted to the older name of the nearby river.

Martha Brae watershed is one of Water Resources Authority's administrative units and is shown in the above image.