First Port Royal was known as the wickedest city on earth, a mecca for pirates, privateers, and prostitutes who enjoyed the spoils of this thriving coastal town in Jamaica. After the earthquake of 1692 caused two thirds of Port Royal to crash into the Caribbean Sea, they called it the city that sank. It was one of the two largest cities in the English-colonized Americas, and about 2000 people died instantly. Another 3000 died after of injuries and disease. It was a huge catastrophe, says Steve Stuempfle, chief curator of the Historical Museum of South Florida. The legend of Port Royal is that of a real-life Sodom and Gomorrah, a doomed Atlantis that was resurrected to frightening effect in Disneys Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise. And today for the first time, rare artifacts from the infamous city will be on display at the Historical Museum.
In collaboration with the Institute of Jamaica, the museum presents Port Royal, Jamaica as few have seen it. At todays opening reception, visitors can discover relics, maps, photographs, and video footage that illustrates the loss and recovery of this half-drowned city. The reception takes place tonight from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., and the exhibition will run through June 3.
Thu., Feb. 15, 6:30-9 p.m.; Feb. 15-June 3