The lost cities of the Caribbean

ghost town

Plymouth today ©MikeSchinkel/Flickr

Tourists have always regarded the Caribbean as the paradise on Earth, however life on these tropical islands is far from pinkish. Not only are the Caribbean islands hit by hurricanes each year, but wars, pirate raids, earthquakes and volcano eruptions have often hit these apparently blessed islands, wiping out entire cities. It’s sometimes hard to imagine that the calm, turquoise waters hide hundreds of shipwrecks and sometimes even entire cities, and that ports that were once thriving are now underwater. For this reason and many others, I believe the lost cities of the Caribbean are worth a closer look:

Port Royal, Jamaica

People visiting the city of Kingston, Jamaica, might not be aware that under the waters of Kingston Harbor lie the remains of an entire town. A major commercial hub and pirate nest in the colonial era, Port Royal sank just within hours after an intense earthquake, followed by a tsunami, hit the Jamaican coast in 1692. Researchers have established that this rapid destruction was partly due to a human error: the city was built on a layer of sand, which was liquified by the earthquake and caused entire blocks to slide into the sea.

abandoned houses

Port Royal ruins ©some_images!/Flickr

Plymouth, Montserrat

While hurricanes and earthquakes are the cause of most catastrophes in the Caribbean, volcanic eruptions can also be a problem. The port of Plymouth, Montserrat had been a beautiful Caribbean capital till the early 90s, when the nearby volcano started erupting. Within weeks, Plymouth was fully abandoned, and the persisting volcanic emanations have turned it into one of the eeriest ghost towns in the world.

ghost town

Plymouth today ©MikeSchinkel/Flickr

Saint Pierre, Martinique

The eruption of Saint Pelee volcanoin 1902 marked one of the biggest natural disasters in the history of the Caribbean. Approximately 30000 people, the entire population of Saint Pierre, the picturesque capital of Martinique, died that day, as the city was flooded with lava and ashes. Although some parts of the old town survived and can be visited today, Saint Pierre was not reconstructed.

old fort

Ruins of fort Saint Pierre ©Gaël Chardon/Flickr

Atlantis (?)

The lost city of Atlantis represents one of the biggest and most researched myths in human history. And there aren’t few those who believe that the actual location of Atlantis was somewhere in the Caribbean – especially the part known as the Bermuda Triangle. The recent discovery of a sunken city near the coast of Cuba has led numerous researchers to assume that the location of Atlantis was finally found.

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