Muscat Daily - - BREAK -

On the grounds of Fort Charles in the small town of Port Royal, Ja­maica stands a lop­sided build­ing called ‘the Giddy House’. Half buried in sand and tilt­ing at nearly 45 de­grees, the Giddy House is one of the few re­main­ing relics of the 1907 Kingston earth­quake which shook the cap­i­tal of the is­land of Ja­maica.

Port Royal, sit­u­ated at the mouth of the Kingston Har­bour in south­east­ern Ja­maica was once the pi­rate cap­i­tal of the Caribbean, where English and Dutch-spon­sored pri­va­teers and pi­rates alike would con­gre­gate to gam­ble.

Port Royal’s wicked days be­gan soon af­ter Ja­maica was cap­tured by the Bri­tish from Spain dur­ing the in­va­sion of 1655. To pro­tect the newly cap­tured ter­ri­tory, the then gov­er­nor of Eng­land in­vited pi­rates to Port Royal giv­ing them official ‘let­ters of mar­que’ to go af­ter Span­ish ships and set­tle­ments.

The strat­egy proved to be so suc­cess­ful that Spain was forced to con­tin­u­ally de­fend their prop­erty and did not have the means to re­take the land.

In 1692, a mas­sive earth­quake shook Ja­maica and the re­sult­ing tsunami swal­lowed a sig­nif­i­cant sec­tion of Port Royal. What re­mained stand­ing was brought to ru­ins 15 years later by an­other earth­quake.

This sec­ond earth­quake was so dev­as­tat­ing that it caused the sand un­der Port Royal to liq­uefy and flow out into Kingston Har­bour. Not a sin­gle build­ing in Port Royal re­mained up­right.

The Giddy House was con­structed in 1888 as a Royal Ar­tillery House at Fort Charles, one of the old­est forts in Port Royal, con­structed in 1655.

Lo­cated on the western end of the Pal­isa­does Strip, Fort Charles was built by the Bri­tish af­ter Ja­maica was taken from the Spa­niards.

The fort was ini­tially dam­aged in the earth­quake of 1692, but it was the earth­quake of 1907 that caused the most harm.

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