How ‘wickedest city on earth’ was submerged by nature's wrath
In 1655, the English took Jamaica from the Spanish. They began bolstering its defences after realising the strategic value of the port's location at Kingston Harbour's entrance. The harbour, which was already brimming with defences, was enlarged to accommodate ships. Traders rushed to the safe haven in droves. But in addition to legal trade, piracy was another less honourable activity that contributed to the port's wealth.
Port Royal is the world's centre for buccaneering due to its location in the Caribbean, which is encircled by the Spanish Key, and its proximity to the main trade routes connecting the New World and Europe. The political ebbs and flows affected Port Royal's views on piracy. Piracy was celebrated when England and Spain were at strife, yet there were crackdowns.
With brick homes of two to four stories, piped water, and several brothels, gambling halls, and pubs, Port Royal became one of the richest ports in the Caribbean thanks to wealth amassed by legal trade and by pirates like Morgan. Because of its state-approved pirates and tolerance of human immorality, the Catholic Church denounced it as the "wickedest town in Christendom."
The church rector of Port Royal, Jamaica, was running late for lunch on June 7, 1692, but a buddy pleaded with him to hold off a little longer. He was spared by a seemingly insignificant decision. The ground started to shake and roll, but the friend dismissed the rector's concern because earthquakes on the island typically passed without much notice. But as the shaking grew more intense, the two guys heard the church tower shatter into pieces.
An earthquake that scientists estimate to have registered 7.5 on the Richter scale, or a "significant" event, was followed by a tsunami. Most of Port Royal, including the cemetery where Henry Morgan was interred, was submerged in water by the time the crisis was over. Up to 2,000 people perished right away, and countless more perished shortly after.
The sunken settlement was covered by silt and submerged in 20 to 40 feet of gloomy water for about 300 years before marine archaeologists started to bring artefacts to the surface. These discoveries have aided in exposing the malicious rumours' falsehoods.