National Geographic : 1967 Dec
Red gold of Jamaica: After Columbus reported that the island held neither silver nor gold, Spain paid it little attention. Its real mineral wealth lay hidden until 1942, when soil tests revealed a thick layer of bauxite, the aluminum-producing ore. Today four North American corporations mine a total of 9 million long tons annually, making Ja maica the world's leading producer. Here on the property of Reynolds Jamaica Mines, Ltd., enormous buckets, each holding more than a ton of ore, move 61/2 miles from the Lydford diggings to shipside at Ocho Rios. Law requires that companies replace top soil and maintain agricultural output. Reynolds not only farms but also runs the largest cattle herd in the Caribbean-18,000 head. Here Jamaicans on horseback tend gray Brahmans brought from Florida and red Santa Gertrudis from Texas. Protected by a product he helped create-an aluminum hat-a miner pauses at Alcan Jamaica Ltd., the only company that now processes bauxite into alumina on the island. The entire industry employs 5,000 Jamaicans. EKTACHROMESBYTHOMASNEBBIA(LEFT) Reynolds, for example, runs a herd of 18,000 beef cattle-largest in the West Indies. Thus Jamaica not only gets the bauxite but also increases her agricultural productivity. My final Jamaica outing took me to Port Royal on the Palisadoes peninsula, which landlocks Kingston Harbour. There Jamai ca's most lurid history was written. During the last half of the 17th century, the port served as a base for the Welshman Henry Morgan and his privateers. With the conniv ance of Jamaica's governor and England's king, Morgan raided the Spaniards' Carib bean fleets and possessions of millions of dollars in gold and booty. Around this audacious enterprise-which eventually earned Morgan a knighthood and the lieutenant governorship of Jamaica-grew up wicked Port Royal, with its "most ungodly, debauched people." Or so, at any rate, said their townsman, the rector of St. Paul's Church. When an earthquake struck and all but destroyed Port Royal in 1692, Jamaica's good citizens felt it a judgment of God. The sunken city was probed and mapped during several months in 1959 when the National Geographic Society and the Smith sonian Institution sponsored underwater ex cavations directed by Edwin A. Link.* Since 1965 Robert F. Marx, a 34-year-old marine archeologist from California, has been carry ing out more extensive excavations for the Jamaican Government (following pages). Bob's most startling find has been a chest bearing the arms of Philip IV of Spain, chock *See "Exploring the Drowned City of Port Royal," by Marion Clayton Link, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, Feb ruary, 1960.