The Parish of Manchester is located in west-central Jamaica, in the county of Middlesex. Its capital, Mandeville, is a major business centre, and the only parish capital not located on the coast or on a major river.
Mandeville, the parish capital is located at latitude 17°51'N, longitude 77°38'W. Manchester is bordered by St. Elizabeth in the west, Clarendon in the east and by Trelawny in the north. Manchester covers an area of 830 km², making it Jamaica's sixth largest parish. It has three mountain ranges — the Carpenters Mountains, the May Day Mountains and the Don Figuerero Mountains. The highest point is 2,770 feet (840 m) above sea level in the Carpenters Mountains.
Over 90% of the parish's surface is limestone so there is an abundance of cockpits, sinkholes, caves and underground passages. Gourie Cave, near Christiana, is the longest of the over 100 caves in the parish, as well as the longest known cave in Jamaica (3505m). Smokey Hole Cave, in Cross Keys, is the deepest known cave on the island (194m). Oxford Cave, near Auchtembeddie, in the NW part of the parish, is another of the major speleological sites found in Manchester, and was once noted as a roosting site for the now possibly extinct bat species, Phyllonycteris aphylla. Manchester also has large bauxite deposits, with parts of the parish having been strip-mined as a result, notably in William's Field, Hope and Blue Mountain.
The parish offers a variety of climate, vegetation and scenery. The capital, Mandeville, is situated at an elevation of 626 m (2,054 ft). The town is noted for its natural beauty and salubrious climate as temperatures range from a low of 12.7 °C (55 °F) in December and January, to a high of 33 °C (91 °F) in July and August. There are very few rivers in the parish, and the existing ones are rather small; Alligator Hole River, Alligator Pond River, Gut River, Hector's River, Two Rivers and Swift River. Hector's River runs along the border of Manchester and Trelawny, sinks at Troy where it flows underground for approximately six kilometres and rises below Oxford Cave as One Eye River. Despite this, water supply is generally scarce; the southern districts often suffer drought.
The population of Manchester is 190,812. Mandeville, the capital and chief town of the parish, has a Mayor, Brenda Ramsay and a deputy mayor, Irving Facey. It has a population of over 30,485.
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