refuge for those making their living by the sword on the high seas. It was designated a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1999 and is often considered the Pompeii of the sea. Founded in 1494 by the Spanish, it was once the largest city in the Caribbean, functioning as the centre of shipping and commerce in the Caribbean Sea by the latter half of the 17th century. Thousands died and their bodies polluted the water. The houses of Port Royal, in a folly straight out of the gospel, had been built on sand. Indeed, from then on, Port Royal belonged to the British in name alone: in truth, the land belonged to the pirates. The earth opened and swallowed many people, before my face, and the sea I saw came mounting in over the wall, upon which I concluded it impossible to escape. It was also ideally situated for launching raids on Spanish settlements. But by 1692, Port Royal had also become the most corrupt. The city’s trademark drink was Kill Devil Rum. As our time on the beautiful island of Jamaica drew to a close, we decided to do some exploring of the history of the island. From 1494 to 1655, it was nothing more than a minor Spanish port, largely undeveloped because the Spanish didn’t see much gain in keeping hold of it. Jamaica is hoping to gain special status for the spectacular ruins of Port Royal. As the people panicked, a great tidal wave crashed through the docks and over the city walls and consequently brought down what still stood. It was hit with an earthquake and tsunami and the whole city sank into the ocean. There was a tolerance for various religions that was unusual in 17th century English colonies - Jews, Anglicans, Quakers, Presbyterians all had a presence in the city. Port Royal had been all but deserted. Stock Photos from Photos.com, iStockPhotos.com, 123rf. Port Royal is a town on the southern coast of Jamaica. It was destroyed by an earthquake on 7 June 1692, which had an accompanying tsunami. it the most important underwater archaeological site in the western hemisphere, yielding 16th–and-17th-century artefacts. In September 2014 it was renamed The Grand Port Royal Marina & Spa. In the mid- 1600s Jamaica was a British colony surrounded by Spanish and Portuguese property. So-called civil society, including citizens' groups in Port Royal, should also make their voices heard. Port Royal wasn’t given the name of Jamaica’s wickedest city lightly. Just a few years later in 1703 the city became engulfed in flames. The city had become the infamous home of pirates, prostitutes and drunken Englishmen on the prowl as they made their riches and did dealings in the slave trade. But in the eyes of many around the world, the destruction of Port Royal was no tragedy. Today it is a small local village that is located in the mouth of Kingston Harbor. Because of its excellent natural harbor and critical position, Port Royal quickly became a significant haven for pirates and buccaneers, who were made welcome because of the need for defenders. On June 7, 1692, Port Royal, Jamaica, experienced a powerful earthquake and a tsunami. The English took control of the city in 1655 and realizing the port was surrounded by a Spanish fleet, invited a coalition of pirates and privateers to protect the port. He tried to crack down on the pirateering, but his efforts proved useless. A watch discovered in 1969 showed that it had been stopped at 11:43 a.m. A 7.5 magnitude hit the city just before noon on June 7, 1692. The English took control of the city in 1655 and realizing the port was surrounded by a Spanish fleet, invited a coalition of pirates and privateers to protect the port. Just like that, the population of one of the largest — and most raucous — cities on earth had been cut in half. But hopefully, this time, with less crime. Jamaica Grande – After a takeover by Sunset Resorts, the resort was renamed Sunset Jamaica Grande and operated for several years. In the days to follow, as the bodies of the dead rotted under the sun and were devoured by animals and insects as they polluted the city streets, disease spread through the city. Howard Pyle / Wikimedia CommonsPirates drinking in a pub, as drawn by Howard Pyle in 1894. By 1692 Port Royal had become an important economic centre, but on June 7, of that year, it was destroyed by an earthquake. • Captain Crocket (1692), A true and perfect relation of that most sad and terrible earthquake, at Port-Royal in Jamaica, which happened on Tuesday the 7th. Howard Pyle / Wikimedia CommonsPirate Captain Henry Morgan taunts a Spanish prisoner, as drawn by Howard Pyle in 1888. We have reviews of the best places to see in Port Royal. The Port Royal Cay. Find what to do today, this weekend, or in November. Port Royal had become a literal port of call that had protected some of the biggest names from the age of piracy, including Captain Morgan, Anne Bonny, Mary Read, Calico Jack, and Blackbeard himself. Port Royal, a peninsula on the very tip of an 18-mile long sandbar known as the Palisadoes, 15 miles from the center of Kingston, Jamaica, hadn’t always been a refuge for revelry and rebellion. As drawn by Alexandre-Olivier Oexmelin in 1678. The docks of old Port Royal, drawn in 1906. He died at Port Royal in 1688. One of the oldest and most historic regions of the country, Port Royal has maintained much of its independence as well as its heritage. Many of the buildings where the 6,500 … The earthquake was followed by a tsunami. Port Royal Historic Caribbean Harbour One of the most iconic harbours in the Caribbean – Port Royal on the south coast of Jamaica near Kingston – is a historic site that includes a sunken city dating back to 1692. Book your tickets online for the top things to do in Port Royal, Caribbean on Tripadvisor: See 99 traveler reviews and photos of Port Royal tourist attractions. Boston Puritan Cotton Mather, 1706 ON JUNE 7, 1692, after winding up his morning prayer service, Dr. Emmanuel Heath, the Anglican rector in Port Royal, left St. Paul's Church and walked to a nearby tavern. Even before the earth stopped shaking, locals reported that the looting began, one writing: Immediately upon the cessation of the extremity of the earthquake, your heart would abhorr to hear of the depredations, robberies and violences that were in an instant com… Wikimedia CommonsThe docks of old Port Royal, drawn in 1906. Port Royal, pre-1692. Within a few weeks, another 3,000 died. On June 7, 1692, Port Royal, Jamaica, the pirate-haven that had been hailed “the wickedest city on Earth”, was engulfed in a tidal wave. With a drink burning in their bellies, the pirates became deadly. The underwater roads of what was once Port Royal, Jamaica. Four of the five forts the British built had been crushed. Join our newsletter to get the latest articles, news, & videos. His pockets would be overflowing with plundered gold. Port Royal was located in what is now Kingston Harbor in Jamaica. From Port Royal, Christopher Myngs sacked Campeche and Henry Morgan attacked Panama, Portobello, and Maracaibo. Morgan was later knighted and made Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica. To have a city so full of wickedness and evil be sucked into the water seemed, to most, like something straight out of the Old Testament, and the orgy of looting and violence that followed seemed like hard proof that these people deserved what God had given them. This happened in the 1907 earthquake. During the 19 th century Port Royal was the main base for the British. Locals, therefore, hope that a revitalization of the ruins will inspire eco-tourism and an increase in the small city’s revenue — perhaps restoring it to the wealthy glory it once knew in the 17th-century. Another severe earthquake occurred in 1907. As drawn by Howard Pyle in 1887. One survivor wrote that as soon as the earthquake had ended the town went mad: “Immediately upon the cessation of the extremity of the earthquake, your heart would abhor to hear of the depredations, robberies and violences that were in an instant committed upon the place by the vilest and basest of the people; no man could call anything his own, for they that were the strongest and most wicked seized what they pleased….”. YouTubeRuins of Port Royal beneath the sea. The ruins of Nelson’s Quarters, one of the few buildings that survived the 1692 earthquake, photographed in 1914. Situated on the western end of Palisadoes in Jamaica, the town of Port Royal was governed by Weatherby Swann, and despite its sizable naval presence, it became a popular place for pirates to bring and spend their treasure. Wikimedia CommonsHenry Morgan recruits new pirates for the Brethren of the Coast. The brothels were collapsed and a great tidal wave rose up over the city walls. Port Royal had a population of around 6,500 people before the earthquake. Once the enclave of pirates and other outlaws, there is still a strong seafaring tradition. Privacy Policy & Terms of use. Jamaican Jeanine McIntosh becomes first black female... On this day in Jamaican history: Lisa Hanna was... WATCH: Former Hospital Security Guard Returns As Rotating Medical Student Who Is Becoming a Doctor | NBC Nightly News, WATCH: How To Make Jamaican Curried Shrimp | Hawt Chef. But on that fateful June day, the very earth beneath the sin city began to shake. 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