• Lucie

The Pirate City of Port Royal

Recently I visited Port Royal with my friend Sue. The last time I visited this place was when I was a kid so my memory was a little fuzzy about this place. Never heard of Port Royal before? Surely you must have, especially if you watched the movie 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. Port Royal is now a historic site but years ago in the late 1600's it became a pirate paradise and had gained a reputation as the "Sodom of the New World", where most residents were pirates, cutthroats, or prostitutes.

Port Royal was founded 1518 by the Spanish and is a town located at the end of the Palisados in Kingston, Jamaica. It was once known as the largest city in the Caribbean and was the center of shipping and commerce in the latter half of the 17th century.

What Port Royal is really known for was the major earthquake and tsunami that destroyed this town in 1692. Another severe earthquake happened again in 1907. Proof of this devastation can be seen at the Giddy House which is permanently titled into the ground at about a 45 degree angle (guessing). When walking in this building you feel gravity pulling you down as you try to walk to the window.

Today, Port Royal is known to post-medieval archaeologists as the "City that Sank".It is probably the most important underwater archaeological site in the western hemisphere,with 16th and 17th century artifacts and many important treasures from indigenous peoples predating its 1588 founding. some from as far away as Guatemala. Several 17th and early 18th century pirate ships sank within Kingston Harbor and are being carefully harvested, under controlled conditions, by various teams of archaeologists. It is also known as a fishing village where you can get some of the best seafood dishes from the famous Gloria's Seafood Restaurant.

If you are into history and would love to learn more about the history of Port Royal it's only $700 JMD to enter the site. After your historic visit go down the road to Gloria's Seafood restaurant for a delicious lunch and overlook the view of the ocean. If you interested in staying a little longer, you can stay at the Port Royal and Marina Hotel where you'll be sure to have a lovely stay. You can also catch the boat for a small fee Lime Cay or Maiden Cay where you can chill and relax on the beach. This little town is also about 5 - 10 minutes away from the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

Have you visited Port Royal before? What's your favourite thing about it? Leave your comments below.

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