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The True Story of Louis Galdy

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The Survivor of Port Royal

In the late 1600s, Port Royal, a city in Jamaica was known as the 'Wickedest City in the World'.

Well known as the 'headquarters' of Pirates, it had an excellent harbour and was quite defensible.

Unknown to the inhabitants, it was built on a sandbar.

It was an almost perfect natural harbour which made it so attractive to the greatest pirates in the Caribbean.

There were more bars and brothels per square foot than anywhere else in the Caribbean, but there were also churches of every kind. There was a synagogue.

Port Royal was an open non discriminatory city where one could get just about everything and do just about everything.

The reputation it held was not hyperbole.

The Prisoner

Louis Galdy and his brother Laurent had left France because of their religion as Louis XIV decided to force the Huguenots to convert to Catholicism.

The French King, unlike others, had tried to have a painless kind of conversion.

First, he sent missionaries.

Secondly, he would pay a reward to converts. Not only would the spiritual enticement be tried, but there was a financial benefit.

Neither of these actions was successful. The King then moved to punishments. He declared Protestantism illegal by the Edict of Fontainebleau.

Many Huguenots left France. Some went to England, others to Switzerland, Holland, Northern Europe, and a portion to what is now South Africa.

A few thousand Huguenots crossed the Atlantic and settled in the various British overseas colonies as well as New York, [which had been 'New Amsterdam' until taken by the British] and to the colony in South Carolina.

It was through this migration that Louis Galdy and his brother ended up in Port Royal, Jamaica.

On first arrival, the Galdy brothers attempted honest work. There was not much of that in Port Royal. Subsequently, as many others, they joined the Pirates.

Louis was not particularly good at Piracy and was arrested. He was placed in the jail on Port Royal..

He was in a jail cell, in Port Royal, on the 7th day of June 1692 when came the Great Earthquake.

Jamaica is in an Earthquake zone. There have been many Earthquakes over the centuries, many small tremors.

This was not a small tremor.

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This Earthquake effected the entire island of Jamaica. Port Royal suffered the greatest damage. This is due to the fact it was built on sand. There was no rock beneath it.

During the Earthquake the sand liquefied. It simply dispersed and most of the buildings sank vertically. They simply went down as if on an elevator. Other buildings simply slid into the sea as if on wheels.

This sinking of the buildings during the Earthquake was followed by a tsunami. In just moments One Thousand Six hundred people were simply gone.


The building in which the jail was situated, survived the first shock. It went straight down during the second.

Louis Galday, in that jail cell, sank. Yet, miraculously, he was uplifted and thrown into the sea by the third shock.

Before he could catch his bearings, he was propelled by the tsunami towards Kingston, where he was rescued.

The city of Port Royal was now in absolute ruin. Those who saw it were certain that this was divine judgment on what had been considered the wickedest city in the world.

Louis Galdy became famous for his survival. He, and everyone else believed that this was Divine Intervention.

For the next forty seven years of his life Louis Galdy devoted himself to Good Works. He was instrumental in having the St. Peter’s Church rebuilt in Port Royal.

He is buried there, his Huguenot ties reflected in the church’s marble relief by sculptor Louis François Roubiliac.

A Miracle

Many people considered that what happened in Port Royal a miracle. It was the deliberate destruction of a modern Sodom and Gomorrah. Like Lot, Louis Galdy was spared.

How it happened, how he survived the Earthquake, how he was lifted and not drowned by the tsunami has no parallel.

This is a true story, although it is difficult to believe.


qeyler (author) on August 06, 2013:

We try

guesty on August 06, 2013:

Jamaica nuh worst in behaviour than USA ETC

qeyler (author) on September 22, 2011:

Nah, Jennifer, this is the way it has always been. Sometimes it's a little better, some times a little worse.

BTW I live in St. Thomas, on the border of St. Andrew.

Jennifer on September 20, 2011:

I love Jamaica, it is my home, but if the people of Jamaica don't start acting right, another intervention WILL take place.

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