PotC Wiki
PotC Wiki

Port Royal, Jamaica

Points of interest

Fort Charles prison

Notable inhabitants

James Norrington


A British Royal Navy garrison[1]


British Royal Navy
East India Trading Company

First appearance

The Curse of the Black Pearl

Latest appearance

At World's End

"Apparently there's some sort of high-toned and fancy to-do up at the fort, eh?"
Jack Sparrow to Murtogg and Mullroy[src]

Fort Charles was a stronghold located at the bustling harbor town of Port Royal. Located on a bluff overlooking the harbor, Fort Charles was one of England's biggest government forts in the Caribbean. The fort served as the base of operations for British Royal Navy forces commanded by Commodore James Norrington.

Towering over the town, Fort Charles was supposed to protect the ships of the Royal Navy moored in the harbor below. The fortress also included the Commodore's office, a dank prison cellblock and, in the center courtyard of the fort, a gallows to remind the townspeople just where they were. The cannons that point out from the battlements were a menacing warning to pirates cruising offshore. However, the fort's garrison was helpless after the town was attacked by the crew of the Black Pearl. Fort Charles was England's biggest government fort in the Caribbean, until a battering from the cannons of the Black Pearl left the fort quite a lot smaller, boosting the pirates' power.


Jack Sparrow being set to hang.

The fort which later became known as Fort Charles was built immediately after the British conquest of Jamaica. Originally known as Fort Cromwell, the fort was renamed Fort Charles after the restoration of monarchy in England in 1660. Fort Charles was the only military fortification in Port Royal which survived the devastating earthquake in 1692.

In the late 1720s, Fort Charles hosted James Norrington's promotion ceremony, and was also used as the venue for public executions of criminals and pirates. Captain Jack Sparrow was set to be hanged at the gallows in the main courtyard, but was ultimately rescued by William Turner and escaped Port Royal aboard the Black Pearl. It was damaged during the earlier attack on Port Royal by the Pearl, at the time under the command of Captain Hector Barbossa.[2]

Jack Sparrow and William Turner fighting off Royal Navy soldiers.

During the rule of Lord Cutler Beckett in Port Royal, Fort Charles hosted countless executions of those convicted of committing or associating with persons guilty of piracy.[3] The French Pirate Lord, Capitaine Chevalle was held in the stocks here, prior to his execution, but was rescued by Jack Sparrow, who was visiting Tia Dalma.[4]

The song Hoist the Colours, called forth by Hector Barbossa to unite the Brethren Court at Shipwreck Cove, was sung by those facing the gallows at Fort Charles.[3]


People having anything to do with piracy being hung.

Towering over the docks, Fort Charles guarded Port Royal from pirate attacks; at least that was the idea. In fact, the fort had too few cannons, and its soldiers were better at drills and parades than warfare. The garrison finds it hard to defend itself, as well as it being impossible to protect the people of Port Royal. Pirates ruled the Caribbean, and their ships were heavily armed. As cannonballs battered the stone walls of the fort, the ramparts are no place for someone like dithering Governor Weatherby Swann, who quaked with fear at every blast.[5]

With grand parapets atop her imposing stone walls and a beautiful arched bell tower designed with a distinct Spanish flair to showcase each and every radiant sunset, Fort Charles was an 18th century military base. The fortress also included the Commodore's office, a dank prison cellblock and, in the center courtyard of the fort, a gallows to remind the townspeople just where they were.

The fort was dominated by a main courtyard used as a public execution area and a military command center. Closer to the port were the prisons, from which prisoners could see both the fort's battlements and the harbor. The battlement's stone parapets were lined with cannons.[2] Near the gallows was a graveyard used to bury those who were executed. During its early days of use the fort had a flag of Great Britain displayed, in its later days two flags of the East India Company were placed alongside the British flag. [6]

Notable inhabitants[]

People having anything to do with piracy awaiting their execution.

Behind the scenes[]

  • For Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, scenes in Fort Charles was built on a three-acre bluff on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, south of Los Angeles, on the site of Marineland, a one-time amusement park (near the Point Vicente Lighthouse seen in Pearl Harbor).[7]
  • In the first screenplay draft of The Curse of the Black Pearl, Will Turner was originally meant to use a chair as his fulcrum to release Jack Sparrow from his cell, breaking the cell's door in the process. After that, the two were to go to the docks of Port Royal to use a rowboat to steal the HMS Interceptor. Though the scene was filmed indeed, it was cut from the film's finished version.
  • Filming a scene at Fort Charles

    In Pirates of the Caribbean Online, the fort's layout is bit different from the movies. It is surrounded by an outer wall, the wall has a gate which leads to a path uphill where the entrance is located. A big staircase leads into the interior of the fort. A member of Jack Sparrow's crew, Gordon Greer, can be found imprisoned here.


The Pirates of the Caribbean wiki has a collection of images and media related to Fort Charles.


Notes and references[]

External links[]

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