« The Joys of going Broadband | Main | Kite-flying cargo ships? »

January 31, 2007

Spanish Town and Port Royal

I will say a great deal more about both these places when I can put up some pictures of them. For the moment let me say that they are both fascinating. Spanish Town is the home of the Cathedral, St Jago's, built in the 1700's and heavily restored in 1901, by which time it was evidently much in need of it. The town itself was the centre of government and at the heart of the town is a square of colonial government buildings and a vast collonade commenorating Admiral Rodney. Unfortunately two of these have been gutted by fire and there is evidently now desire to save or restore them. The remaining buildings are still in use, one as a local government office with the most interesting fire escape I have ever seen.

Spanish Town is now the home of one of the countries toughest jails, built hard against the Cathedral church yard. It is also home to some of the roughest gangs in the country.

Port Royal was once the Capital and was, until Independence the Royal Nav base in this part of the Caribbean. The old naval buildings are sadly run down and slowly collapsing, although a portion of the base, centered on Fort Charles (Built 1640-ish), is still in use as the HQ of the Jamaica Navy and Coastguard. It does seem strange to see the White Ensign with the Jamaican flag in its upper quadrant instead of the familiar Union Flag! They have recently acquired three smart new fast patrol boats and a tour of one of them, JS Cornwall, was certainly interesting!

Port Royal was partially destroyed in an earthquake in 1690, an event which brought to an end the reign of terror in this part of the world of some of the most notorious buccaners of that age. The Royal Navy entered these waters originally to suppress them and their activities, and the restored Port Royal became home to the West Indies Fleet as a result. One sad reminder of the sacrifice of those men was the Old Naval Graveyard, now neglected and sadly overgrown - disgracefully neglected I feel - on the road back to Kingston. I shall have more to say on that score another day.

For now, I have more preparation to do! More tales from Jamaica and pictures later!

Posted by The Gray Monk at January 31, 2007 11:08 PM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry: