Papine-Mona Aqueduct, University of the West Indies
It likely wouldn’t rank on any world’s most awesome aqueducts list. In the Caribbean, though, this structure has carried great significance for many West Indians over the past 70+ years. The Papine-Mona Aqueduct is located in Kingston, Jamaica. It’s wholly ornamental these days, but when it was constructed in the 1750’s it served a critical role.
Papine-Mona Aqueduct History
Two sugar estates were based here at the time – Mona and Papine. The stone cut aqueduct carried water from the Hope River to power sugar mills at both. It also served the Hope Estate located further north.
It’s rather meaningful, then, that the land upon which you can find the Papine-Mona Aqueduct today is now the home of University of the West Indies (UWI). The venerable institution of higher education founded in 1948 has its Mona Campus here.
Mona, once a place of suffering and misery for earlier generations of Jamaicans, became a symbol of West Indian unity and nationhood.
Celebrated West Indian scholars Philip Sherlock and Rex Nettleford noted this in The University of the West Indies: a Caribbean Response to the Challenge of Change (1990).
Many thousands of Africans toiled, suffered, and died here. Now, their descendants are rising to new heights of academic excellence in the shadow of the same aqueducts born of slavery.