Start with a good foundation. Simple advice that has been passed down for generations. Simple advice the colonists of Port Royal, Jamaica managed to overlook. Port Royal was once the busiest, most powerful city in the New World. But, it was curiously built on a tiny spit of sand just barely attached to the rest of Jamaica.
In the late morning of June 7, 1692, more than half of Port Royal sank into the ocean. An earthquake caused the sandy ground beneath Port Royal's feet to liquefy. Whole buildings fell into the blue waters of Port Royal Harbour. Survivors moved across the bay to Kingston, the present-day capitol of Jamaica.
Similar to the ruins of Italy's Pompeii, Port Royal offers a unique window into 17th century life in an English Caribbean town. The burial of the town occurred in a matter of minutes, as much of the town simply sank straight down, remarkably intact.
Unfortunately, the lesson wasn't fully learned. The tiny spit of sand was never completely abandoned, as even to this day a small fishing village occupies the land. The English continued to build on the sand of Port Royal. The Giddy House was constructed in 1888 as artillery storage for Fort Charles. On January, 14 1907, a familiar story repeated itself. Much of Port Royal and Kingston were damaged in another earthquake. Once again, the sands of Port Royal provided no foundation for the heavy buildings placed atop it. The Giddy House slid into the sands, placing it at the comically awkward angle it sits at today.