During the eighteenth century, the production of food for local consumption took place in gardens attached to plantation great houses and workers' houses, in provision grounds located within the plantation boundaries, and in separate units of land called mountains because they were commonly situated in hill backlands. Compare the modern Jamaican equivalents of "yard", "ground" and "bush".
The drawing is adapted from Higman, 1988, Jamaica Surveyed and shows how various mountains in Cockpit Country were related to different estates.
From Taino times to the present, Cockpit Country has been a place of refuge:
- for the Tainos escaping the warlike Caribs (and subsequently the Spaniards)
- for the Leeward Maroons, during their struggle against the British
- today, Cockpit Country is a last refuge for many of Jamaica’s endemic plants and animals.
Estates and mountains form part of the rich cultural background to present-day Jamaica. We all recognise “yard”, “ground” and “bush” as different categories of ownership.
Hiking trails around Cockpit Country will inevitably pass by “Mountains” and “Grounds”.