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.
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
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