Kingston was founded in July 22, 1692, as a
refugee for survivors of an earthquake that destroyed Port Royal – the town is
sited across the harbor (map).
Accurate maps of Port Royal like the one below as it looked pre-1692 have been
constructed from combining drawings with excavations done in the 1980s and
Before the earthquake, Kingston’s
functions were purely agricultural. The earthquake survivors set up a refugee camp
on the sea front. Two thousand
people died due to mosquito borne diseases.
The government sold land to people with the
regulation that they would purchase no more than the amount of the land that
they owned in Port Royal, and only land on the sea front.
At the end of the eighteenth century,
more than 3000 brick buildings were in the city.
The harbor fostered trade and naval wars of the 18th century.
Kingston took over the functions of Spanish town (the capitol at the
time). These functions included, agriculture, commercial,
processing, and main transportation hub to and from Kingston and other sections
of the island.
||The government passed an act to transfer
the government offices to Kingston from Spanish town, and in 1872 the capitol
was transferred from Spanish Town to Kingston.
||In 1907, 800 people died in another
earthquake, destroying nearly all the historical buildings south of Parade. That
was when a restriction of no more than 60 feet was instated on buildings in the
central business district. These three story high buildings were built with
reinforced concrete. Construction
on king street was the first area to breach this building code.
||Riots in the 1930s lead to the
development of trade unions and political parties to represent workers.
It wasn’t till the 1960s that major change occurred in the
redevelopment of Kingston’s central business district.
The international attention of reggae music at that time, coincided with
the expansion and development of the water front area.
development lead to a influx of shops and offices, and the development of a new
financial center – New Kingston, which replaced the Knutsford Racetrack.
Multi-story buildings and boulevards were placed within that section.
The westward section of the city was not the focus of development, and
that area proved to be a tense area in political times.
city’s wealthy is situated in the suburbs to the northern section of Kingston,
closer to the hills and Mountains of the Blue Mountain range.
The functions of the wealthy are met with in the New Kingston area, thus
the downtown is now used mostly used by the low-income population
economic conditions led to recurrent violence and a dropoff in tourism.
socialists were outvoted in the 1980 elections.
governments have been open market oriented. With in a global urban era,
Kingston has made efforts to modernize and develop it's city structure and
functions. Various organizations such as The Kingston Restoration Company
and the Port Authority of Jamaica, along with the Port Royal Dev. Company,
among others seek to develop the urban structure of the city.