Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki


Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki
Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki

"Welcome to Port Royal, Mr. Smith."
Harbormaster to Jack Sparrow[src]

Port Royal was a town situated at the end of Palisadoes in Jamaica. Founded by the English, a garrison of the British Royal Navy maintained a presence at the bustling harbor town. Stretching back from the harbor, shops jostle for space with Port Royal's many taverns. During the 17th century, the city was a popular place for buccaneers, eventually becoming the major center of piracy in the Caribbean, though that situation would change in later years.

Wealthy and civilized, Port Royal's air came from its place as the official center of Caribbean trade. Unfortunately for its civilized residents, its location also made a perfect spot for pirate raids, despite the nearby Navy presence at the governmental Fort Charles. The town of Port Royal was mostly known to be under the jurisdiction of Governor Weatherby Swann. During the War of Jolly Roger, Port Royal was invaded by Jolly Roger's undead army. Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company would take control of Port Royal during the War Against Piracy.



Jamaica's first inhabitants, the Tainos, were a peaceful people who were the first inhabitants of Jamaica. It was the Tainos who met Christopher Columbus when he came to the island in 1492. Jamaica was then completely colonized by the Spanish shortly after his death and built the trading post of Santiago De La Vega. However, Jamaica was taken over by the English forces in 1655 and became an important stronghold of British power in the Caribbean, but also a hideout for buccaneers, pirates and privateers. "La Vega" was left in ruins shortly following the invasion, and Admiral William Penn, liking the location, rebuilt it and renamed the town Port Royal.

Pirate city


Port Royal from an elevated view.

In 1657, Governor Edward D'Oley invited the Brethren of the Coast to come to Port Royal and make it their homeport. The city became a famous buccaneer hideout. With an excellent strategic position, many buccaneers used Port Royal as a base for their operations. Soon, from a peaceful city, Port Royal transformed into a criminal nest. Pirates would spend their loot in hundreds of brothels and taverns in the city. People called Port Royal: "the richest and wickedest city in the world".

Henry Morgan used Port Royal as the main base for his piratical raids to the Spanish Main, but in 1687, piracy was outlawed in Jamaica. On June 7, 1692 the town was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake and a part of it sunk into the sea believed to be "God's wrath", but the remaining part was rebuilt. By 1730, the town was completely rebuilt.

British reign

Port Royal

Port Royal during the early 18th century.

"Dear, I do hope you demonstrate a bit more decorum in front of Commodore Norrington. It is only through his efforts that Port Royal has become at all civilized."
Weatherby Swann to Elizabeth Swann[src]

By the reign of King George II, Port Royal was a prospering town. The town doubled in size and population in 10 years, which led to some problems with the sewer system. Port Royal's customs officials were just as corrupt as the Harbormaster. In exchange for a share of a ship's cargo, they turn their backs while smugglers land their goods—free of import duty. Then smugglers load up with rum and sugar to smuggle back to America.[3][4]

Though piracy was outlawed in Jamaica decades earlier, by the early 1710s Port Royal was still a safe port for pirate ships like the Venganza to dock.[11] However, that situation would change a few years later with the arrival of Weatherby Swann and James Norrington. Details of pirate trials and executions were posted all around Port Royal.[3][12] At some point, three pirate corpses, one of which was Sven the Vicious's, were hung near Port Royal with the sign "Pirates, Ye Be Warned" hanging next to them, which the pirate Captain Jack Sparrow would later give his respect to with a salute to his fellow fallen pirates.[6]

Shortly after Hector Barbossa's mutiny on the Black Pearl, Jack Sparrow came to Port Royal. With the help of the local Tavern Keeper, he was able to steal some gold and find some treasure in the graveyard. With that gold, he was able to buy himself a sloop and continue with piracy. Shortly after, he was employed by the governor who sent him on many missions.[13]

Governor Weatherby Swann

"You're safe now. We will return to Port Royal immediately, not go gallivanting after pirates!"
Weatherby Swann to Elizabeth Swann[src]
Swann Mansion COTBP

The Swann's mansion

Sometime around the early 1720s,[citation needed] King George appointed Weatherby Swann as the governor of Port Royal.[14] And so the newly appointed Governor Swann and his young daughter, Elizabeth, made the crossing to the Caribbean aboard the HMS Dauntless. Making Port Royal their new home, the Swanns would reside in a mansion overlooking the port town.[6] Although Port Royal's street markets overflowed with tropical fruit, the air was far from sweet. The town expanded in the over the years of Swann's governorship, and the local sewer system was unable to cope, giving the air a distinct odor.[3][4]

Eight years after sailing the crossing from England, Captain James Norrington, one of the lieutenants on board the Dauntless during the crossing, was promoted to commodore. Governor Swann had arranged a sword to be made, delivered by the blacksmith apprentice William Turner. Simultaneously, Captain Jack Sparrow made an unusual yet graceful entrance to the Port Royal harbor; he steps onto the wooden dock from the masthead of the purloined fishing trawler, the Jolly Mon, sinking beneath him before he bailed as fast as he could. When Jack offered a small bribe of three shillings to keep his arrival secret, the Harbormaster couldn't resist. The Harbormaster's ledger recorded the details of every ship and sailor tying up at the dock. Jack Sparrow's handful of coins ensured that he doesn't appear in it.[3][4][6]


The attack on Port Royal.

Many townsfolk, Governor Swann, and Elizabeth among them, attended Norrington's promotion ceremony in Fort Charles. It was after the ceremony that Norrington, in his new-found promotion, proposed to Elizabeth. Shocked, and finding it difficult to breathe in a corset her father had insisted she wear, Elizabeth fell from the fort's battlements, but was rescued from a watery grave by the notorious pirate Jack Sparrow. Despite the fact that Sparrow had saved his daughter's life, Weatherby and Norrington ordered him to be taken in to await a hanging. Though Jack managed to escape custody, he was later captured by Norrington's men at John Brown's smithy.[6]

That night, Port Royal came under attack by the cursed crew of the Black Pearl, captained by Hector Barbossa. During the assault, Elizabeth was kidnapped from the Governor's mansion by Pintel and Ragetti, and was taken aboard the Pearl. The following day, while Norrington was setting up a search party for Elizabeth, Jack Sparrow and Will Turner took the Interceptor in their attempt to rescue Elizabeth in Isla de Muerta.[6]

The rescue mission was ultimately successful, with later help from Norrington's men of the Dauntless. On the return voyage to Port Royal, Governor Swann offered Will Turner clemency; however, as a pirate and a man of a lifetime of wickedness, Jack Sparrow was set for execution at Fort Charles. But with the help of Will Turner and Jack's crew aboard the Black Pearl, Jack managed to escape the hangman's noose.[6]

Loadingscreen portroyal

Port Royal during Jolly Roger's war.

War of Jolly Roger

"Pirates first, boys! And their pitiful baricades. Then, on to the governor's mansion, and I'll rule Port Royal. ATTACK!"
Jolly Roger to his undead army[src]

Some time later, during the War of Jolly Roger, a group of pirates accidentally destroyed the magical protection of the town. This led the undead pirate captain Jolly Roger to quickly start the invasion of Port Royal. However, the invasion was repelled by combined forces of citizens of Port Royal and pirates of the Caribbean.

War Against Piracy

"Port Royal? Not exactly a safe place, is it, Jack? Beckett has a price on our heads."
"Desperate men will go to desperate lengths. And better being hung than being someone's dinner, eh, mate?
Will Turner and Jack Sparrow[src] (PS3 version)

The East India Trading Company arriving to Port Royal.

By the time the War Against Piracy occurred, the East India Trading Company had spread their influence into the Caribbean. It was at this time that Lord Cutler Beckett moved his headquarters from Kingshead to Port Royal. When Beckett himself arrived to Port Royal, he and his associate, Ian Mercer, had warrants for the arrests of William Turner and Elizabeth Swann for helping Jack Sparrow escape his execution a year prior, as well as Letters of Marque to recruit Sparrow as a privateer to King George II. Beckett also had a warrant for James Norrington's arrest, however, Norrington had disappeared after resigning from his position some months prior. And so with the conspirators of Jack Sparrow arrested, Beckett continued setting up his new headquarters in Port Royal.[8]

Port Royal Edinburgh

The Edinburgh Trader leaving Port Royal.

Beckett resided in an office, where he oversaw his plans of finding the legendary Dead Man's Chest, which hid the heart of Davy Jones, the item he planned to use to exterminate pirates. It was here that Beckett made a deal with Will Turner: if he brought Jack Sparrow's compass to him, then the charges against Will and Elizabeth would be dropped. Later, after finding out Governor Weatherby Swann was transporting Elizabeth to England, he sent Mercer to stop this plan. This ended with Weatherby arrested and the disappearance of Elizabeth. The Governor's daughter escaped to meet with Beckett in his office and to take Beckett's Letters of Marque, which were originally going to Jack Sparrow. After their conversation, Elizabeth left into the night and boarded the Edinburgh Trader the next day as it left Port Royal underway.[8]


The Flying Dutchman arrives to Port Royal.

As he waited for news on the chest, Beckett stayed in his office. During this time, he had Weatherby Swann brought to him to inform him of Mercer's report of his daughter had left Tortuga with Jack Sparrow aboard the Black Pearl, along with James Norrington. The discussion ended with Swann accepting Beckett's demand for his loyalty to the Company, in return for Elizabeth's safety. Sometime later, Mercer reported to Beckett of the return of some of the ships, and that one of them had picked up a man adrift at sea—James Norrington. Having retrieved the Letters of Marque from Jack Sparrow, who in turn, had taken them from Elizabeth, Norrington presented the heart of Davy Jones. Beckett not only pardoned Norrington, but promoted him to the rank of admiral. With the heart of Davy Jones in his possession, Beckett was now one step closer to his goal of eradicating piracy from the sea.[8]


"Port Royal has its charms, but it can't hold a candle to Tortuga."
Jack Sparrow to Esmeralda[src]
Port Royal PotCO

Port Royal, Jamaica.

Founded by the English, Port Royal was described as a bustling harbor town, situated either on the eastern tip of Jamaica,[3][4] or on the western end of Palisadoes in Jamaica.[5] The town of Port Royal was most notably under the leadership of Governor Weatherby Swann, and despite its sizable naval presence, it became a popular place for pirates to bring and spend their treasure. Executions of known pirates were held at the fort, and three skeletons hung outside the bay, as a warning to incoming pirates of their fates. Port Royal was accessible via a large harbor, used by both merchant and Navy ships. The HMS Dauntless was a common sight at the harbor during James Norrington's tenure in the Navy, while the HMS Endeavour was later moored there during Cutler Beckett's residency.[8] The port's main dock, overseen by the harbormaster, was mostly used by merchant vessels to load and unload their cargo. Located below the cliffs of Fort Charles was a second dock that was used as a navy landing, where the HMS Interceptor was berthed, before her theft and destruction. It was originally off-limits to civilians,[6] but after the arrival of the East India Trading Company, Cutler Beckett set himself up in an office overlooking this dock, and it was then used for the company's purposes.[8]

The town was situated inland, stretching back from the harbor, where shops jostle for space with Port Royal's many taverns and inns. Other places included the Governor's mansion and the Port Royal smithy, as well as apothecaries. Here an enterprising captain could find everything he needed, from tar for a ship's bottom to smuggled lace for his lady love. Although Port Royal's street markets overflowed with tropical fruit, the air was far from sweet. The town expanded in the decade of Swann's governorship, and the local sewer system was unable to cope, giving the air a distinct odour.[3][4]

Just outside of Port Royal were a series of caverns. These caverns were used as a hideout for smugglers and pirates.[13]


Fort Charles

Main article: Fort Charles
Governor James FortCharles

Fort Charles

Port Royal was built around Fort Charles. It served as England's biggest government fort in the Caribbean, until a battering from the cannons of the Black Pearl leaves the fort quite a lot smaller - and boosts the pirates' power. 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. Towering over the town, Fort Charles was supposed to protect the ships of the Royal Navy moored in the harbor below. The cannons that point out from the battlements are a menacing warning to pirates cruising offshore. However, the fort's garrison is helpless when Jack Sparrow and Will Turner snuck on board the Dauntless and sailed out to sea.[3][4]

John Brown's blacksmith shop


The blacksmith's shop.

In this dusty Port Royal smithy, a most notable blacksmith named Will Turner forged many sword blades, work that had given Will patience and strength. Will's master was a man named John Brown. Although Brown was a drunk who seldom does any work, it was his forge and so his name decorated the swords Will makes.[3][15]

Whale and Waterspout

Main article: Whale and Waterspout
With all the vessels dropping anchor at Port Royal there is a constant supply of sailors looking for a hearty meal and a bed for the night. Not all innkeepers welcome pirates but at the Whale and Waterspout, old Mr. Garret turns a blind eye - as long as his guests pay their bill in full.[3][4]

Behind the scenes

"The crimes of Captain Sparrow are notorious. Among our many sources, we have a detailed account of your recent criminal activities in the town of Port Royal."
"'Criminal activities'? Nonsense. Port Royal would've been burnt to cinders if it were not for my heroic interventions.
Alberto Chaves and Jack Sparrow[src]


The Pirates of the Caribbean Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Port Royal.

Non-canon appearances


External links

Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003 junior novelization)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2006 junior novelization)
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Visual Guide
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 4.14 4.15 4.16 4.17 4.18 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, pp. 16-17 "Port Royal"
  5. 5.0 5.1 The Price of Freedom Chapter One: "Fair Winds and Black Ships"
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
  7. 7.00 7.01 7.02 7.03 7.04 7.05 7.06 7.07 7.08 7.09 7.10 7.11 7.12 7.13 7.14 7.15 7.16 7.17 7.18 7.19 7.20 7.21 7.22 7.23 7.24 7.25 Pirates of the Caribbean Online
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
  9. 9.0 9.1 Pirates of the Caribbean: Armada of the Damned
  10. 10.0 10.1 Pirates of the Caribbean production notes, accessed Dec 9, 2006
  11. The Price of Freedom, Chapter Fourteen: "Hard Bargains"
  12. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, pp. 26-27: "Pirates Beware!"
  13. 13.0 13.1 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (video game)
  14. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Visual Guide, p. 18
  15. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Complete Visual Guide, pp. 22-23 "Will Turner"
  16. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow
  17. Dead Men Tell No Tales script by Jeff Nathanson, second draft, 5/6/2013
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