I stand corrected; they were privateers, not pirates!

I believe it was in January that I posted Arr! Beware of Pirates. At that point, I had only experienced the ‘contrived’ version and was eager to get to the real deal! Months later – that moment came!

Over and out … to the lonely Island

After missing two JUTC buses – Route 98 – headed to our destination (On account of our photo taking session), we finally hopped on the third, now more excited that our adventure was about to begin. It however seemed to take forever to load in comparison to the others. Just my luck! I vividly recall the drive that took us out of Kingston and soon over a narrow strip of land (Palisadoes) – and might I add the only road leading into what was once known as the richest and wickedest city in the world – Port Royal {Giddy with glee that I actually made it there}. Upon arrival, my first thought was how isolated and deserted the place felt. Indeed it was a ghost town save for a few persons who didn’t see to notice our presence.

Cue Fanfare, we have Arrived!

We guided ourselves to the museum and were later greeted by a rather lively blue-eyed descendant who eagerly shared information about the rise and fall of the great city. He engaged and amused but left us all with valuable information about this sleepy town which now stands as one of the few relics of its time.

Kev (Left) pointing out something on the map while Dan (right) listens.

And now for the History Lesson – Focus! 

Originally called Fort Cromwell, Fort Charles was  built in the mid sixteenth century; perhaps after the British captured the island and was the first of six to be erected in Port Royal and guarded the entrance to the Kingston Harbour. As the town developed, not only was it used as a military and naval base, it became one of the most significant commercial centres in the English colonies. Though its location made it ideal for trade, undoubtedly too, it made them an easy target. Thus the arrival of Henry Morgan, a privateer and admiral of the royal navy, and was notably one of the most successful and ruthless of all times.

Today, many of the original canons remain and remnants of this time have been well preserved (about 3000 artefacts) in the museum that is open for public viewing (for a small fee of-course). These include items made of puter; a mixture of tin and lead, which was  known to be quite expensive.

Panorama shot by KeVaughn Harding (many thanks)

So much for a happy ending :O

Alas, a terror filled the air as the town was devastated by the Earthquake of June 7, 1962. Fort Charles sank about a metre and a large portion of the city was lost to  the sea.

The story is told of Louis Galdy, a pirate who was sucked into the earth but was miraculously thrown back. He was among the fifth of the population who survived. Was it luck or fate – we’ll never know however Galdy became religious and went on to build the St. Peter’s Anglican church (which has also suffered much over the years), where he was later buried:

Natural deposition occurred over a 200 year period and naturally expanded the land known as Port Royal. Incidentally the newly formed land resulted in the city becoming larger than it originally was. Subsequently additional fortification was built:

Artist’s impression – R. N. Nicholson

The high hopes of a come-back were dashed as a fire in 1703 and a devastating hurricane in 1722 hastened the decline.  The 1907 earthquake sealed the deal as even more of the town was destroyed.

One significant building that survived to tell the tale is the 1888 Royal Artillery Store, now known as the ‘Giddy House’. Through a process called Liquefaction .. water rose  and binded with the sand thus forming something similar to quick sand. Instead of breaking apart the artillery story simply sank and now tilts 45 degrees.

Indeed one cannot shake the ‘giddy’ sensation felt  upon entering the room!

Gone but not forgotten

Rumour has it that the city lays perfectly preserved at the bottom of the sea. Hmnnn .. If you or anyone you know have a couple billions of dollars to assist in the creation of an underwater museum, kindly contact the blue-eyed tour guide who seems more than willing to make it a reality.

At one point Jamaica had 22 parishes! Yes, that definitely was new to me. In retrospect, I think I should have known about this already. Blame the ol’ brain! :O

Why do all good things come to an end?

Unfortunately, huge drops of water began to descend, signalling a pre-mature end to the trip. As much as we would have loved to grin and bear it in order to continue our walk through the rest of the old city, we had other engagements that could not be postponed – well not before one more act of idleness on my part 😀 -> This anchor is approximately 3 Toyas in length!



5 thoughts on “I stand corrected; they were privateers, not pirates!

  1. Pingback: Has it really been 1 YEAR? « Welcome to my world...

    • Thank you! Yes I can only imagine! Hope I’d have been one of the well off people who everyone was afraid to steal from though!

      No worries .. took me 23 years but I made it .. you will too!

  2. Great photos, as always! I love Port Royal, it has a great atmosphere – you would never think you were anywhere near Kingston. Did you go inside the church? I think it’s kept locked. It has beautiful marble monuments and mahogany wood everywhere… Also, the old prison is great. A friend of ours used to live there! Not sure if it’s open any more but you didn’t mention it.

    • On that day (was independence) it had a very eery felt very desolate but then I didn’t get very far so I guess I may be wrong.

      The gates were closed and yes we considered jumping over lol

      Didn’t get to the prison (time constraints and weather) but I read about it on-line … was there then to Grand Gala and we left out late 😦 Hope to go back though .. much more to see!

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