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AI generated illustration of Port Royal's Sunken City. Source: Declan Hillman/Adobe Stock

Pirates and the Earthquake that Destroyed Port Royal (Video)

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Port Royal, once a den of pirates, faced divine retribution 325 years ago. The infamous city, labeled the 'Sodom of the West,' met its demise on June 7, 1692, at 11:43 a.m., when a powerful earthquake struck Jamaica. The irony of a haven for cutthroats being obliterated by the Hand of God was not lost on contemporaries. The quake, with shocks measuring up to 7.5 on the Richter scale, liquefied the ground beneath Port Royal, causing two-thirds of the city to sink below sea level in just two minutes. The ensuing tsunami and collapsing buildings claimed thousands of lives.

Port Royal, a prosperous hub thanks to piracy, faced subsequent disasters, including fire and hurricanes. Its symbolic destruction by divine forces prompted a religious revival, turning the population against pirates. As the era of buccaneers waned, the city's remains, submerged and preserved by the sand, became a treasure trove for modern archaeology, offering a unique snapshot of 17th-century life. The tragic end of Port Royal marked the conclusion of the Golden Age of piracy in the Caribbean.

Top image: AI generated illustration of Port Royal's Sunken City. Source: Declan Hillman/Adobe Stock

By Robbie Mitchell

 
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Robbie

I’m a graduate of History and Literature from The University of Manchester in England and a total history geek. Since a young age, I’ve been obsessed with history. The weirder the better. I spend my days working as a freelance... Read More

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