Port Royal, Jamaica
(images via: wikimedia commons, nautilarch.org)
Tranquil tropical seas have silenced what was once “the most wicked and sinful city in the world,” according to those who traveled there during its heyday as pirates’ favorite party city. Port Royal, Jamaica was famous for its booze, its prostitutes and its raging all-night entertainment. As one of the largest European cities in the New World, it was also home to a number of very wealthy plantation owners. It was devastated by an estimated 7.5-magnitude earthquake in June of 1692, which sucked it into the ground on its unstable sand foundations and killed about 2,000 people. Its ruin was seen by the pious as retribution for all that had occurred there.
Forty feet of water now separate the remains of Port Royal from the surface of the sea; though it was still visible from above until the early 20th century, it has continued to sink and much of it is now covered with sand. It, too, has been an incredible site for archaeological exploration, revealing artifacts in near-perfect condition, like a pocket watch from 1686 stopped at 11:46.