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LOST PORT ROYAL - Jamaica

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Author Topic: LOST PORT ROYAL - Jamaica  (Read 4406 times)
Bianca
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« on: May 14, 2009, 10:36:26 am »










                                           


                                              John Taylor.


                                              Port Royal. 1688.

                                              National Library of Jamaica, NLJ ms 105.

                                              This is one of only a handful of eyewitness
                                              drawings of Port Royal before the 1692
                                              earthquake.

                                              Note Fort Charles at the southwest of the town.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 10:53:57 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2009, 10:37:32 am »



An illustration of pre-1692 Port Royal



www.wikimedia.org
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2009, 10:38:34 am »








                                                         H I S T O R Y




Port Royal was the centre of shipping commerce in Jamaica in the 17th century. During this time, it gained a reputation as both the "richest and wickedest city in the world". It was notorious for its gaudy displays of wealth and loose morals, and was a popular place for pirates and privateers to bring and spend their treasure. During the 17th century, the British actively encouraged and even paid buccaneers based at Port Royal to attack Spanish and French shipping.

An earthquake on June 7, 1692, largely destroyed Port Royal, causing two thirds of the city to sink into the Caribbean Sea such that today it is covered by a minimum of 25 ft (8 m) of water.

Known today to 16th–18th-century focused archaeologists as the "City that Sank", it is considered the most important underwater archaeological site in the western hemisphere, yielding 16th–17th-century artifacts by the ton and many important treasures from indigenous peoples predating the 1588 founding from as far away as Guatemala.

Pirates from around the world congregated at Port Royal coming from waters as far away as Madagascar on the far side of Africa. Several 17th and early 18th century pirate ships are sunk within the harbor and being carefully harvested under controlled conditions by different teams of archaeologists. Other "digs" are staked out along various quarters and streets by different teams.

After this disaster, its commercial role was taken over by the city of Kingston. Current development in progress will redevelop the small resultant fishing town into a tourist destination by 2015-16, serviced by Cruise ships as early as 2008, with the archaeological findings the heart of the attractions, which will include a combination underwater museum-aquarium and restaurant with underwater dioramas and the ability to see the native tropical sealife.
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2009, 10:40:38 am »









Colonization of Port Royal


 
Situated at the western end of the Palisadoes sand spit that protects Kingston Harbour, Port Royal was well-positioned as a harbor. Originally claimed by the Spanish, England acquired it in 1655. By 1659, two hundred houses, shops, and warehouses surrounded the fort.

For much of the period between the English conquest of Jamaica and the earthquake, Port Royal served as the capital of Jamaica; after the 1692 earthquake, Spanish Town overtook this role, later followed by Kingston.





Piracy in Port Royal



Port Royal, located along the shipping lanes to and from Spain and Panama, provided a safe harbor for pirates. Buccaneers found Port Royal appealing for several reasons. Its proximity to trade routes allowed them easy access to prey. The harbour was large enough to accommodate their ships and provided a place to careen and repair these vessels. It was also ideally situated for launching raids on Spanish settlements. From Port Royal, Henry Morgan attacked Panama, Portobello, and Maracaibo. Roche Brasiliano, John Davis (buccaneer), and Edward Mansveldt (Mansfield) also came to Port Royal.

Since the English lacked sufficient troops to prevent either the Spanish or French from seizing it, the Jamaican governors eventually turned to the pirates to defend the city.

By the 1660s, the city had gained a reputation as the Sodom of the New World where most residents were pirates, cutthroats, or prostitutes. When Charles Leslie wrote his history of Jamaica, he included a description of the pirates of Port Royal:

Wine and women drained their wealth to such a degree that… some of them became reduced to beggary. They have been known to spend 2 or 3,000 pieces of eight in one night; and one gave a strumpet 500 to see her naked. They used to buy a pipe of wine, place it in the street, and oblige everyone that passed to drink.

Port Royal grew to be one of the two largest towns and the most economically important port in the English colonies. At the height of its popularity, the city had one drinking house for every ten residents. In July 1661 alone, forty new licenses were granted to taverns. During a twenty-year period that ended in 1692, nearly 6,500 people lived in Port Royal. In addition to prostitutes and buccaneers, there were four goldsmiths, forty-four tavern keepers, and a variety of artisans and merchants who lived in 200 buildings crammed into 51 acres (206,000 m˛) of real estate. 213 ships visited the seaport in 1688. The city’s wealth was so great that coins were preferred for payment rather than the more common system of bartering goods for services.

Following Henry Morgan’s appointment as lieutenant governor, Port Royal began to change. Pirates no longer needed to defend the city. The selling of slaves took on greater importance. Upstanding citizens disliked the reputation the city had acquired. In 1687, Jamaica passed anti-piracy laws. Instead of being a safe haven for pirates, Port Royal became noted as their place of execution. Gallows Point welcomed many to their death, including Charles Vane and Calico Jack, who were hanged in 1720. Two years later, forty-one pirates met their death in one month.
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2009, 10:41:46 am »







Earthquake of 1692 and its aftermath



On June 7, 1692, a devastating earthquake hit the city causing the sand on which it was built to liquefy and flow out into Kingston Harbour. The water table was generally only two feet down prior to the impact. The effects of three tidal waves caused by the earthquake further eroded the sand, and soon the main part of the city lay permanently underwater, though intact enough that archaeologists have managed to uncover some well-preserved sites. The earthquake and tsunami killed between 1,000 and 3,000 people combined, over half the city's population. Disease ran rampant in the next several months, claiming an estimated 2,000 additional lives.

After the earthquake on June 7, 1692, many believed the destruction to be an act of God because of the city's sinful reputation.

Some attempts were made to rebuild the city, starting with the one third of the city that was not submerged, but these met with mixed success and numerous disasters. An initial attempt at rebuilding was again destroyed in 1703, this time by fire. Subsequent rebuilding was hampered by several hurricanes in the first half of the 18th century, and soon Kingston eclipsed Port Royal in importance.





Recent history



A final devastating earthquake on January 14, 1907 again liquefied the sand spit, destroying nearly all of the rebuilt city and submerging additional portions.

Today the area is a shadow of its former self with a population of less than 2,000 and has little to no commercial or political importance. The area is frequented by tourists, but is in a state of disrepair. The Jamaican government has recently resolved to further develop the area for its historic and tourist value.

Port Royal has been featured as a location within Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean film series.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Royal
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2009, 10:43:14 am »




                                            Principal Investigator: Dr. Donny L. Hamilton








Once known as the 'Wickedest City on Earth,' Port Royal on the island of Jamaica was one of the largest towns in the English colonies during the late 17th century.  It was a haven for privateers and pirates, such as the famed Sir Henry Morgan, due to its excellent geographic location in the middle of the Caribbean.  From Port Royal, these buccaneers preyed upon and plundered the heavily laden treasure fleets departing from the Spanish Main.

After 1670, the importance of Port Royal and Jamaica to England was increasingly due to trade in slaves, sugar, and raw materials.  It soon became the mercantile center of the Caribbean area, with vast amounts of goods flowing in and out of the port through an expansive trade network.
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2009, 10:44:59 am »








Unfortunately, the glory of Port Royal was short-lived.  On the morning of June 7th, 1692, a massive earthquake hit Jamaica.  The tremors rocked the sandy peninsula on which the town was built, causing buildings to slide and disappear beneath the sea.  An estimated 2000 Port Royalists were killed immediately in the disaster.  Many more perished from injuries and disease in the following days.

From 1981 to 1990, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, in cooperation with the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust, began underwater archaeological investigations of the submerged portion of Port Royal.  The following pages highlight what we have found so far.
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« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2009, 10:46:23 am »








ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS


   
 
In 1981, the Nautical Archaeology Program of Texas A&M University, in cooperation with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), began underwater archaeological investigations of the submerged portion of the 17th-century town of Port Royal, Jamaica.  Present evidence indicates that while the areas of Port Royal that lay along the edge of the harbor slid and jumbled as they sank, destroying most of the archaeological context, the area investigated by TAMU / INA, located some distance from the harbor, sank vertically, with minimal horizontal disturbance.







In contrast to many archaeological sites, the investigation of Port Royal yielded much more than simply trash and discarded items.  An unusually large amount of perishable, organic artifacts were recovered, preserved in the oxygen-depleted underwater environment.

Together with the vast treasury of complimentary historical documents, the underwater excavations of Port Royal have allowed for a detailed reconstruction of everyday life in an English colonial port city of the late 17th century. 
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2009, 10:48:04 am »

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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2009, 10:51:50 am »

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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2009, 10:53:32 am »








Each of the five fully investigated buildings has a compliment of records that pertain, in some way, either to the owners, occupants, or the makers of the associated artifacts:

BUILDING 1 -  A well-built brick building that consists of two construction phases and which has six ground-floor rooms divided into three separate two-room combinations.  These rooms were used as a probable pipe shop, a tavern, and a combination wood turner/cobbler's shop.

BUILDING 2 - A poorly preserved, frame building to the west of Building 1.  It has a plaster floor.


BUILDING 3 -This building, with its raised sills on a mortar foundation and interrupted floor sills at the corners and at major intersections, lies east of Building 1.  Its front rooms have plastered floors, and one room has a sand floor.
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2009, 10:55:19 am »

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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2009, 10:59:33 am »










BUILDING 4/5 - This, the final building that has been excavated thus far, is a large, rambling complex consisting of at least six rooms and three back yards.  The complex is approximately 65 ft. wide and over 40 ft. long and represents at least two, and possibly three, different houses or combination houses/shops.

This well-preserved brick building complex has plastered walls, brick floors, and wooden door sills.  The initial construction phase consisted of Rooms 1 and 2 and the sidewalk at the front of Building 5.  Room 1, the large room to the west, has a plaster floor, while the smaller Room 2 has a herringbone brick floor and a stairwell.  Rooms 3 and 4, which were added in a later construction phase, are tacked to the south of Room 2.  Their purpose may have been to join an exterior kitchen to the building, represented by Room 4.  Both back rooms have common bond brick floors, and Room 4 contains a large hearth and oven.



Building 4, which consists of at least two rooms, is located to the east of Building 5. It also has a hearth. The presence of half-brick-wide interior walls dividing Rooms 1 and 3 of Building 4 indicate a much less substantial, one-story building addition.  Horizontal displacements, seen most readily at the east end, in Room 3, have skewed the floor and walls several feet. 

click on the thumbnail for a larger picture
 


Building 4/5 has produced more in situ artifacts than any building thus far excavated.  To the front of the building, in what would have been a part of Lime Street, a large section of a fallen wall was discovered.  This wall may have fallen out from Building 5 or from a building to the north.  It was in this area of the fallen exterior wall that we found the wooden frame of a four-partition window with leaded glass panes within a wrought-iron frame. 

Numerous other artifacts were found in association with the building, including two sets of 28 Chinese porcelain Fo Dogs and a minimum of 28 Chinese porcelain cups and bowls.  Pewter plates, candlesticks, a brass mortar, an English tin-glazed vase, a decorated Dutch Delft plate, a gold ring, a pearl with a gold attachment, silver forks and spoons, and many encrusted metal objects that are awaiting identification, conservation, and analysis were found in the same area.

The remains of a young child was uncovered from under the bricks of the fallen front wall just outside of the two adjacent front doorways.  The remains of two more children were found in Rooms 3 and 4.  The remains of a ship, which ripped through the front walls and tore through the floors of the four rooms on the east side of the building complex, have also been identified. 
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2009, 11:02:18 am »



E X C A V A T E D   B U I L D I N G S
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 11:12:33 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2009, 11:03:58 am »




P O R T   R O Y A L   A R C H I V E S


This town plan of Port Royal just before the 1692 earthquake was drawn by Oliver Cox, (Pawson & Buisseret, 2000) an architect in London, England


http://nautarch.tamu.edu/portroyal/index.htm
« Last Edit: May 14, 2009, 11:13:41 am by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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