Photo of the Day

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Bath Time! island stylee, Jamaica

 

 

Image courtesy of travelingwithaking

 

 

 

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Spotlight: The British Virgin Islands (BVI)

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Map of the Islands

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) which makes up part of the Virgin Islands Archipelago, sits east of Puerto Rico, in the Lesser Antilles. The main islands that make up the territory are Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke. The capital, Road Town is on Tortola, and has more than half of the population residing there which is around 30,000 people according to United Nations.

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The Baths on the Virgin Gorda Island

Like many of the Caribbean islands, the BVI was settled by the Arawaks and Caribs from South America and then by Europeans in the 1400’s. Christopher Columbus named the island Santa Ursula y las Once Mil Vírgenes (Saint Ursula and her 11,000 Virgins), which was shortened to The Virgins (for obvious reasons)

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Tortola

Over the years the Dutch, Spanish and British left their influences including introducing sugarcane and slavery, becoming  prosperous until a series of hurricanes damaged crops, and alternative crops being grown in Europe led to economic decline for the islands.

 

The British Virgin Islands were administered as part of the British Leeward Islands, with an administrator representing the British Government on the islands. The islands gained separate colony status in 1960 and became autonomous in 1967. The islands have moved from their agriculture-based economy towards tourism and finance, becoming one of the wealthiest areas in the Caribbean!

On the 6th of September 2017, Hurricane Irma hit the islands forcing the Governor to declare a state of emergency, a first for the territory. Many homes, businesses, and boats were destroyed.

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Before and after Irma

So much debris was deposited throughout the territory that it was said to be a years worth dumped not knowing where all that debris will go. 90% of the island’s charter fleet was damaged.

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Boat damage on Tortola

The caribbean is used to hurricanes but not this kind of intensity and damage. I pray for all of our neighbours who experienced Irma’s unforgiveness.

 

 

Images courtesy of Wikipedia, Pinterest, World Finance, Express, Google images.
Information: Wikipedia, Express.

 

 

 

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Spotlight: Port Royal, Jamaica

Once known as the wickedest city on earth, I grew up hearing stories about the sinful city that was full of pirates and gold. Before it became the wicked city it was a tiny fishing outpost for the island’s indigenous Taino people.

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the fort’s defenses

The spanish who first captured the island and began settling it in 1509, used the area as a stopover for cleaning their ships. The British soon took over in 1655 and began building a  fortress upon realising the strategic position the area was. When completed and stocked, the fort had 500 men, 104 guns. During the 17th century, the port was basically the capital of the island and the infamous buccaneers carried their loot from the Spanish territories to be kept there.The most famous pirate of them all, and the one I grew up hearing stories about was Sir Henry Morgan.

 

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He’s a handsome one no?

(you can read more about him here and here)

Port Royal was an important economic centre by 1692, but on June 7th a terrible  earthquake destroyed most of the city. It was cut off from the main island and  a large section of the town sank into the sea. Many people died as a result but many also died from the illnesses and plagues that followed.The town was quickly rebuilt but a fire in 1703, and subsequent hurricanes in 1722 and 1736 saw a mass migration to the capital Kingston.

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The fortress

The port fell under the British naval control until 1905 when the British closed the dockyard. Earthquakes in 1907 destroyed much of port and the army left in the 1950’s.

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The Giddy House

Today not much is left of Port Royal. It is a small quiet fishing community with great seafood restaurants that my family and I still enjoy going to on Sunday afternoons. There is a guided tour on the city so you can see the historical sites and hear the good pirate stories. I remember going on school trips to Port Royal and my favourite place was the Giddy House. It was built in 1888 and stored artillery for the Victoria Battery. The Earthquake of 1907 shifted it to its present 45 degree angle so when you stand inside you get a “giddy” feeling.

The old hospital,the  Fort and St. Peters Church all have interesting stories to discover.

Please check out the Jamaica National Heritage Trust’s page on Port Royal for more info and also here is some info on guided tours.

 

 

 

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Images and information courtesy of:

Jamaica National heritage Trust

Fort defenses

Fortress

Sir Henry Morgan

Giddy House