Once known as the ‘richest and wickedest city in the world’, Port Royal in Kingston, Jamaica, has enjoyed a rich history.
Centuries ago, it was merely a fishing camp for the Tainos, but it eventually gained a reputation for being a popular spot for pirates. After being hit by numerous disasters, Port Royal lost its place as a premier economic centre. It would later become the location for a British Naval Station. These days, however, Port Royal is mainly seen as a quiet fishing village.
Here are five interesting facts about Port Royal.
- During the 17th century, Port Royal was the virtual capital of Jamaica, and also a popular spot for buccaneers and pirates.
- Port Royal was destroyed by an earthquake in June 1692. A large portion of the town sank into the sea, while about two-fifth of the population died, either in the earthquake or in the plagues and pestilences that followed.
- In 1703, a fire destroyed the entire town. This was followed by hurricanes in 1712, 1722 and 1726.
- Fort Charles, built in 1656, is the oldest fort in Jamaica. Originally named Fort Cromwell, it was renamed in 1662 to honour Charles II, restored King of England.
- The ‘Giddy House’ in Port Royal was built in 1888. It was the old Royal Artillery Store for the Victoria Battery. The Earthquake of 1907 shifted it to its present 45-degree angle. On entering the building, people often feel a strange sensation of being giddy or off-balance, caused by the building’s tilt. Hence, its name – the Giddy House.