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Last updated on: June 6, 2005 11:05 AM

Kingston Harbour - A rich history

Kingston Harbour has played an important role in the history of all the groups that have lived on the surrounding land. Its aquamarine waters provided fishing for the Tainos; a port for the Spanish, a port and naval base for British pirates and naval forces from which they attacked the Spanish Main, and home and business district for Jamaicans for over three centuries.

The city of Kingston was born out of disaster. A small band of frightened people crossed the body of water later known as Kingston Harbour after a catastrophic earthquake destroyed Port Royal in 1692. They settled on a piece of land where Colonel Barry kept a herd of pigs, known as Colonel Barry's Hog Crawle. This was the beginning of a city which later was called Kingston, and in 1872 took from Spanish Town the title of capital city of Jamaica.

Surviving Monuments of Kingston Harbour
Some interesting surviving monuments of Kingston Harbour's history may still be seen by the curious visitor, they include:

•Kingston's old port: for 275 years a series of finger piers occupied the area along the waterfront from Hanover Street in the east to Wherry Wharf in the west. This gave way to the modern port of Kingston in the 1960s.

•Myrtle Bank Hotel: the site occupied by this once famous hotel is now an open lot, with a few remaining royal palms. One of the first hotels in Jamaica, it was a world renowned hotel with references in international novels, frequently visited by royalty & VIPs.

•Victoria Pier: This pier at the end of King Street was visited by cruise ships from the 1940s to the 1960s. Opposite the pier was a market, later a crafts market, now the site of the Ministry of Health (former Oceana Hotel).

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