Apocalypse 1692 (Hardback)
Empire, Slavery, and the Great Port Royal Earthquake
A haven for pirates and the center of the New World’s frenzied trade in slaves and sugar, Port Royal, Jamaica, was a notorious cutthroat settlement where enormous fortunes were gained for the fledgling English empire. But on June 7, 1692, it all came to a devastating end. Drawing on research carried out in Europe, the Caribbean, and the United States, Apocalypse 1692: Empire, Slavery, and the Great Port Royal Earthquake by Ben Hughes opens in a post-Glorious Revolution London where two Jamaica-bound voyages are due to depart. A seventy-strong fleet will escort the Earl of Inchiquin, the newly-appointed governor, to his residence at Port Royal, while the Hannah, a slaver belonging to the Royal African Company, will sail south to pick up a human cargo in West Africa before setting out across the Atlantic on the infamous Middle Passage. Utilising little-known first-hand accounts and other primary sources, Apocalypse 1692 intertwines several related themes: the slave rebellion that led to the establishment of the first permanent free black communities in the New World; the raids launched between English Jamaica and Spanish Santo Domingo; and the bloody repulse of a full-blown French invasion of the island in an attempt to drive the English from the Caribbean. The book also features the most-comprehensive account yet written of the devastating earthquake and tsunami which struck Jamaica in 1692, resulting in the deaths of thousands, and sank a third of the city beneath the sea. From the misery of everyday life in the sugar plantations, to the ostentation and double-dealings of the plantocracy; from the adventures of former-pirates-turned-treasure- hunters to the debauchery of Port Royal, Apocalypse 1692 exposes the lives of the individuals who made late-seventeenth-century Jamaica the most financially-successful, brutal, and scandalously-corrupt of all of England’s nascent American colonies.