Sir Henry Morgan

Given the nature of their work, it is no surprise that few pirates, privateers, or buccaneers ever won the distinction of having a "Sir" placed before their name. Henry Morgan was one such man. He was knighted in 1674 by King Charles II, after a pulling-off a daring and spectacular raid on Panama City. Whether he deserved the title has long been a subject of argument, but there is no question as to whether or not he was one of the bravest, most intelligent, and successful swashbucklers who ever lived. 

Morgan was Born in the year 1635, in Glamorgan, Wales. Like many pirates, historians know very little about his early career. He sailed against Spain in the middle of the 17th century, but his name was mostly unheard of until 1665, when he was made second-in-command of a group of buccaneers (like privateers, buccaneers were "licensed" pirates) who had fought the Dutch in the Anglo-Dutch War. His first major exploit was the capture the town of Puerto Principe, Cuba. Dissatisfied with the booty, however, he immediately sailed for Panama and sacked the city of Portobello - a stunt that instantly made him rich. After that, his name spread quickly.

Captain Morgan's greatest feat occurred on January 19, 1670 when he led a fleet of 36 pirate ships against the City of Panama. At the time, the city was rumored to be the richest in the world; along with Cartagena, it was a main jumping-off point for Spanish gold on its way to Europe. Morgan sailed into port and decimated a significantly larger force led by the local governor. He burned the city to the ground and made off with 400,000 pieces of eight, later stealing much of it from his own men. The attack, however, took place only days after Britain had signed a treaty with Spain, and Morgan was arrested and taken back to England. In 1673, when England began a new war with the Dutch, the King sought Morgan's advice on Caribbean affairs. He was apparently so impressed by Morgan's knowledge that he released him and made him deputy governor of Jamaica. 

Throughout his career, Morgan roamed the islands of the Bahamas, allegedly wreaking much havoc and burying plenty of treasure (a claim made of almost every pirate). Morgan's Bluff, the highest point on Andros Island, is named after him, and it is said that he once hung a lantern there to lure an unsuspecting ship onto the nearby reef, subsequently plundering it after it wrecked.


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