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8 real pirate havens worth a visit

Buildings in Port Royal

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Port Royal, Jamaica

This Jamaican town at the mouth of Kingston Harbor was a major pirate haven in the late 17th century. The British, who controlled Jamaica at that time, left the town largely unguarded. Fearing an invasion by another colonial power, such as Spain, Port Royal's local authorities began inviting pirates to base themselves in the town. This policy, which many pirates embraced, gave Port Royal a significant population of battle-hardened fighters who could provide protection should any foreign army try to invade.

During this era, the resident pirates actually brought a great deal of wealth to Port Royal, and the local economy thrived. Today, this former haven is now a quiet coastal village with a handful of historical buildings. However, archaeological finds continue to be made both on land and in the harbor.