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  • Apocalypse 1692: Empire, Slavery, and the Great Port Royal Earthquake

  • By: Ben Hughes
  • Narrated by: Simon Barber
  • Length: 10 hrs and 20 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Americas

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Publisher's Summary

Built on sugar, slaves, and piracy, Jamaica’s Port Royal was the jewel in England’s quest for empire until a devastating earthquake sank the city beneath the sea.

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 catastrophic end. 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 audiobook also features the most comprehensive account yet written of the massive 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.

The book is published by Westholme Publishing. The audiobook is published by University Press Audiobooks.

©2017 Ben Hughes (P)2019 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"A rousing, colorful and deeply researched account of Port Royal's last wild years and sudden death." (The Wall Street Journal)

"Well-crafted narrative history...an entertaining and substantial accountof an underdiscussed era." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Apocalypse 1692: Empire, Slavery, and the Great Port Royal Earthquake

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  • IowaGreyhound
  • 11-05-2021

Great History of Jamaica

Excellent view of what life was like in Jamaica in the 1600s. As a follower of the Pirate History podcast I have heard a lot about Port Royal. There are familiar names such as William Dampier and many others not so familiar. It covers life for various parts of society and does a good job describing the earthquake and its aftermath.

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  • Jerry G
  • 19-05-2020

Rollicking Good Story, Entertainingly Narrated

Apocalypse 1692 is a fascinating history of the origins of English Jamaica and its dependence on the horrors of slavery and the slave trade. It chronicles the story of Jamaica’s first capital, Port Royal, and the events leading up to and after the catastrophic earthquake of 1692 that sunk it into the sea. Ben Hughes takes us through England’s seizure of Jamaica from the Spanish, the struggles with France during the Nine Years War, the slave trade from the Gold and Slave Coasts in West Africa (and the horrendous Middle Passage) and the slave uprisings that revealed the real spirit of those the white man sought to keep in bondage. The narrator keeps the story moving forward nicely, even through the many details the author uses to anchor his story in the available historical sources. It was a constant pleasure to have Mr. Barber read to me while taking my daily socially distanced walks. The book and the narrator were a great combo.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • kelleypen
  • 24-01-2020

Maybe port royale got what they deserved

Ugh. Fascinating story, but the atrocious way people treated other people was disturbing. Narration was ok....a little uppity sounding.

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