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Captain Morgan

The Pirate, Not the Rum

Article by Cody PenningtonJune 30, 2020

Captain Henry Morgan was much more than a rum icon. He was a dastardly pirate of the Caribbean, but worse than that, he was also a politician.

Article by Cody PenningtonJune 30, 2020

Captain Henry Morgan was much more than a rum icon. He was a dastardly pirate of the Caribbean, but worse than that, he was also a politician.

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Today will be our first dive into the dastardly, villainous scoundrels of the sea, the buccaneers of Barbados, the callous criminals of the Caribbean. Today is our first article covering pirates. To kick off this stint in history we decided to choose a well known household name, but one whose life story may not be known to many.


This article is going to equip you, the reader, with useless facts that you’ll be able to throw in the face of any possible one-night stand that offers you a rum and coke. That’s right, today we’re discussing Captain Morgan.


A quick note is necessary from the outset of this article. A lot of historical information, especially from this time period, can be difficult to authenticate. So, it must be said that some of the information we have used in this article is almost impossible to claim as historical fact. Some of today’s information comes from The Pirates of Panama, a book written by a former shipmate of Captain Morgan, John Esquemeling or Alexandre Exquemelin.




I say both names because it seems that the author was known by both names at some point. There may have been an issue with translation, or this could have merely been a pen name situation. “John Esquemeling” is used in The Pirates of Panama book, but A.O. Exquemelin is used elsewhere, so I can imagine John was used when marketing the book to Americans. But, even that bit of confusion can show you how difficult it is to verify even the slightest details of history.


Further, since we’ll be using a lot of information directly from Esquemeling, it also should be noted that Esquemeling was apparently at some point in his life wronged by Captain Morgan (as I’m sure we all have been in the past), so some of his statements on Morgan have been claimed to be just vindictive attacks against him.


Morgan even brought a libel suit against Esquemeling for the book he wrote and won, but that also doesn't necessarily mean the information is not true. Either way, we will try our best to give you readers a mostly factually correct, but also entertaining story of Captain Morgan. Again, please don’t quote us on your history assignment.




Early Life

As with very many of our topics here on Unfortunate History, there really isn’t much known about Captain Henry Morgan’s early life. We do know that he was born around 1635 in Wales in the Monmouthshire region. We don’t know if he had siblings, we really don’t even know if he had a mom.


Obviously, that’s a joke, but a lot of historians say that all efforts to find out Morgan’s true lineage have been unsuccessful up to this point. However, some sources claim that Captain Henry Morgan’s father was a man named Robert Morgan. Although, this name could literally have been pulled from thin air because every man at this time in history was named either John, Edward, Charles, Henry, or Robert.


Morgan’s father, Robert, was supposedly a successful farmer. It’s even stated that he was “rich” but I’m not sure what that would really mean for a farmer in that day and age. He possibly owned four cows instead of two, maybe?


But either way, it can be pretty well assumed that Robert would hope for his son to take over the farm to continue the family business, as is the custom with a lot of family-owned farms. However, Henry had other plans. He felt that he wanted a bit more adventure in his life and he decided to move to Bristol, obviously the most adventurous place in England.




When he reached Bristol, Morgan began to search for different employment opportunities. As Bristol is a coastal city (obviously due the Bristol Channel), Morgan soon found himself at the docks. Here he spied two ships that were soon to set sail for Barbados.


According to Esquemeling, Morgan decided to offer his service to one of these ships. Now, this next bit is very odd to me, but apparently it was commonplace for ships in Bristol to snatch up boys and men looking for work, like Morgan. One of the ships did so, and once the ship arrived in Barbados, they instantly sold him into servitude.


That was apparently commonplace. They even referred to this as being “Barbadosed”. I can only imagine Morgan walking into an interview and halfway through the interview, he just snatched into a potato sack. Then he just wakes up in Barbados, like, “Why’s it so hot?”




Now that previous bit of information is actually debated by historians. Being Barbadosed was a thing, but Henry could have made his way to Barbados as a member of an army, an expedition, or an apprentice. All have been claimed, but none have been successfully verified, so we’ll stick to Esquemeling’s assertions. But just know that the information is not full-proof.


It’s claimed by Esquemeling that Morgan, after being made a slave, eventually worked off his servitude and then left for Jamaica. However, I think we’ll diverge from this claim and use more recent claims made by historians. Some current historians believe that Henry Morgan joined the British army led by General Robert Venables to escape his servitude.


Venables’ army travelled from England to the Caribbean and actually landed in Barbados before moving forward to their attack destination (Hispaniola), so this claim that he joined an army to avoid slavery is not too far-fetched. It was from this military service that Morgan was supposedly introduced to piracy and privateering.




The Caribbean at This Time

Before we continue with Morgan’s story, I think it’s really important to paint a picture of what Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean was like at this time.


The current time period would have been around the 1650s. This was around the beginning of what was referred to as the “Golden Age of Piracy” which lasted from 1650 to 1720. These years are then split into three periods: The Buccaneering Period, The Pirate Round, and The Post-Spanish Succession Period.


The Buccaneering Period occurred between 1650 and 1680 and it involved Anglo-French seamen based in Jamaica and Tortuga. During this period, these seamen attacked Spanish colonies as well as Spanish shipping vessels in the Caribbean and eastern Pacific (so on the opposite side of Central America). We’ll discuss why these seamen actually took to pirating a little more in a moment, and also why it was referred to as The Buccaneering Period.


The second period I mentioned, The Pirate Round, occurred between 1693 and 1700. This period involved more long-distance voyages from the Americas to plunder Muslim or East India Company targets in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea. Pirates were beginning to look beyond the Caribbean for treasure at this point.




The final period, The Post-Spanish Succession Period, occurred between 1716 and 1726. This period, as the name would suggest, occurred following the War of Spanish Succession. We won’t go into great detail on this war now, but we may in future articles. In a nutshell, Spain lost its monarch, Charles II. He died leaving no heir to the throne, which you probably shouldn’t do as a monarch, and this resulted in Europe battling over who would control Spain.


The war carried on until a series of treaties ended it, as well as ending the employment of thousands of seamen, including privateers who had been employed by Great Britain. Now without work, these seamen and privateers took to pirating. That’s how the third period of pirating started.


Of these three periods of the “Golden Age of Piracy”, the first period, The Buccaneering Period, is where today’s article takes place. The other periods will very likely come into play on later articles, so it’s good to mention them now so that you have a bit of an idea of the information.




Now, I mentioned a moment ago that we’d cover how and why the first pirate period, The Buccaneering Period, came about. To do this, it will help to, at the same time, clarify a bit of the terminology for this article, because some of the words can get confusing.


Firstly, since what we’re discussing occurred during The Buccaneering Period, we’ll define the term “buccaneer”. This term is actually specific to the Caribbean and the West coast of Central America. In general, it is this region's term for a pirate, and I’ll explain why. The term is derived from the French term boucan, which was a grill for smoking meat.


The term was first applied to French wild game hunters who lived in the Caribbean on the island of Hispaniola, which is today split into Haiti and the Domincan Republic. This island will come into play a lot.


The island of Hispaniola was formally under the control of Spain, and the Spanish wanted to rid the island of these French wild game hunters. This was because, although these hunters mainly survived off the game they hunted, they also bolstered their provisions by pillaging Spanish ships in the sea around the island. Because of this, the Spanish began trying to slowly push the hunters out of the territory.




However, over time, the game hunters also drew members to their group that included scoundrels and other people of ill repute. So, to fight back against the Spanish, these groups began robbing more Spanish ships. As their groups became larger, the hunters migrated to an island off the coast of Hispaniola: Tortuga.


This island, however, was still controlled by the Spanish, and they were still keen to be rid of these groups of boucan users, or boucaniers, or the Americanised version, buccaneers. That’s where the term came from, but Spain's next actions were what caused the buccaneers to turn more towards piracy.


To rid themselves of the buccaneers once and for all, the Spanish decided to exterminate all the wild game in the hunting grounds. However, since this wild game was a main resource for the buccaneers, the plan completely backfired on the Spanish. Since they had no game to hunt, the buccaneers had to rely solely on the plunder they received from Spanish ships.


So, this plan of extermination led to further attacks on the Spanish by the buccaneers. However, further to that, the buccaneers were not the only ones unhappy with the Spanish; the British and French didn’t like them either. So, when they found out about the buccaneers fighting back against the Spanish, they began to offer any assistance they could to bolster their cause.




This helped push the buccaneers into a position where their pirating ways could grow even more in the Caribbean. And around the time that all of this was going on was around the same time when Henry Morgan joined General Venables’ army in Barbados.


Another term we’ll clarify is “pirate”. It seems obvious, but a pirate is generally someone who commits some sort of illegal act with the use of a ship usually on water. Murdering, kidnapping, or robbing all fall under pirate activities, as long as a boat and water are involved.


This term, as I said earlier, is synonymous with “buccaneer” in the Caribbean. Again, the definition of pirate seems pretty obvious, but I tell you that definition to also give you the definition of another term: “privateer”. A privateer was a private person who owned a vessel and was under the employment of a government.


These privateers were awarded “letters of marque” that gave them British-sanctioned powers to pillage and plunder other country’s ships; so basically a legal pirate. In a lot of cases, a person may be both a pirate and a privateer, because they would be a pirate but they were also given legal authority to perform their pirate actions by a government; similar to the previously mentioned buccaneers. You’ll hear the words privateer, pirate and buccaneer a few times in this article, so I hope these little explanations help you keep them straight.




Becoming a Pirate

Now, moving back to Morgan. When we last spoke about soon-to-be Captain Morgan, he had just joined General Venables’ British army in Barbados. This army was put together by the British with the aim of invading Spanish territory in the West Indies.


It was one of the strongest ever to sail from England at the time, consisting of around 3,000 men. It was further reinforced when the army stopped in Barbados. The army then totalled around 8 to 9 thousand men; obviously, this is when Morgan jumped on board. This army was to be one of the first to attack during the Anglo-Spanish War (the 1654-1660 war, because there were a TON of other Anglo-Spanish Wars).


Venables’ army was given no real goal as to which part of the West Indies to attack. Venables was given suggestions of targets, but was basically given free reign. He decided to go big and attack the previously mentioned island of Hispaniola. However, this island had been under Spanish control for over a century by this point, so they were pretty well ingrained in the area.




So, Venables' attempt to take the island was a complete and utter failure. They attacked the island TWICE and were beaten badly each time. It’s reported that Venables then complained loudly about the cowardice of his men and decided to give up. Defeated and broke, Venables decided on another target: Jamaica.


He felt that this would be a great replacement for Hispaniola and a huge victory for the British. However, it was actually a complete catastrophe. Jamaica literally had one town which was only defended by 200 Spanish soldiers. It was an undeveloped island that held no significant advantage for British in the Caribbean. He had used thousands of men to capture a weakened, useless island. This was seen as so bad that Venables was instantly imprisoned in the Tower of London on his return to England.


However, Venables’ troops, including Henry Morgan, mostly all still remained in Jamaica. The Spanish forces there had begun fighting back against the British army, although not very successfully. What was most dangerous to the British were the completely obscure tropical diseases they were facing: yellow fever, dysentery and malaria killed off men daily.




However, through all of this, Henry Morgan survived. Eventually, the Spanish were pushed back and Jamaica was under British control. Venables’ attack on Jamaica may have been seen as a failure at the time, but it introduced a good vantage point for Britain in the Caribbean. It also led to the founding of a very important privateer and buccaneer point: the village of Port Royal. Throughout most of his adventures in the Caribbean, Morgan would always return to Port Royal with his plunder and booty.


The details after this time period are a bit difficult to pin down, but we will use a mixture of Esquemeling’s book and information from other sources like essays and similar material. Esquemeling claims that while in Jamaica, Morgan found two ships of pirates ready to set sail. These could have been manned by the previous privateers under Venables’ command. Since Morgan had no more employment from the military with Venables’ imprisoned, he decided to join the crew of these ships.


Apparently, Morgan took to this line of work like a fish to water; pun intended. He quickly learned the ways of the pirate and the lifestyle they lead aboard their ships. Now, at this moment, it’s worth saying that some historians disagree with the notion that Morgan was a pirate.


They claim that Morgan was instead a privateer, always under the legal protection of Britain. He may well have been, but as I stated earlier, you can be a pirate and a privateer at the same time. So, if I were to argue the point, I would say that Morgan definitely partook in pirating activities. In fact, we’ll be discussing a few in a moment.




As Morgan sailed with these pirates, they were said to have had very successful voyages equaling in very healthy profits. Because of this, Morgan agreed with some of his shipmates to join forces and their profits to purchase a ship. Once the ship was purchased, the men supposedly unanimously chose Morgan as their captain and commander; thus was the beginning of Captain Morgan.


Over the course of the next few years, Captain Morgan and his crew reportedly participated in multiple raids and plunderings that all tended to end very fruitfully. In the early 1660s it has been claimed that Captain Morgan was called upon as a privateer under the command of Christopher Myngs. At this time, Myngs was putting together a fleet of privateers to launch attacks on Spanish territories, like Venables had attempted but better. He was amassing the largest buccaneer fleet to be assembled at this time for his attacks, which ended up being fourteen ships strong with 1,400 pirates aboard.


One of the first targets was the second-largest city in Cuba, Santiago de Cuba in 1662. This city was protected by an incredibly strong fortress at its harbour, the Castillo del Morro. The privateer force was able to take the city easily, completely destroying the city and the Castillo del Morro in the process.


The following year in 1663, Captain Morgan was called on again to assist Myngs with another attack, this time on San Francisco de Campeche (not to be confused with San Francisco). This attack was again a rousing success and the privateers returned with an enormous amount of plunder, or booty. However, after this attack, it seems that Captain Morgan started to get tired of waiting for the opportunity to perform these large scale plunderings.




So he and his privateering friends decided to start their own attacks on different cities. They successfully attacked multiple cities including Villa Hermosa, Trujillo and Granada, all of which fell to Captain Morgan and his crew. No other pirate or privateer up to this point had had the balls to do this. They were taking more villages than any other group, and certain important people started to take notice.


In 1665 or 1666, Morgan did what any red-blooded British man would do: he married his cousin. However, this is not only weird, it’s also very clever. At this particular time, the Morgan family was making its way to the Caribbean. Henry Morgan’s uncle, Colonel Edward Morgan had moved with his family, including his daughter Mary Elizabeth, to Jamaica.


Edward was made the Deputy Governor of Jamaica, and this gave Captain Morgan direct access to the upper levels of Jamaican society, which will come into play in a moment and in his later life. Unfortunately, the same year he was made Deputy Governor Captain Morgan’s uncle-father-in-law died during an expedition. He was replaced by a man named Colonel Thomas Modyford.




Attack on Puerto Principe

Soon after the death of his uncle-father-in-law, Colonel Modyford named Captain Morgan Colonel of the Port Royal Militia, presumably for his impressive commanding abilities while a pirate and possibly due to his familiar connections. He had also already served in the Port Royal Militia as a captain in the past, but now commanded the militia as its colonel.


Further to this, Modyford also issued Morgan a letter of marque against the Spanish, allowing him to attack any Spanish ships at sea. Coincidentally, at the same time a large group of pirates, called the Brethren of the Coast, had just lost their Admiral.


So, they approached Captain Morgan for the position, to which he gladly accepted. This gave Henry Morgan the ranks of captain, colonel, and admiral, all in different capacities. This also gave him a fleet of buccaneers that he could use against any Spanish ship he liked. However, his letter of marque did not allow for attacks on land, this is important to remember for our second article on the series. (But I’ll remind you.)




At this point, Captain Morgan was seen as the undisputed king of the buccaneers, and he decided to put his new fleet to good use against the Spanish. He did so on many occasions, and we will be discussing a few today, and a few on next week’s conclusion to this series. Today, we’ll cover the attacks on Puerto Principe and Puerto Bello.


The attack on Puerto Principe began with Captain Morgan initially wanting to attack Havana, but it was found to be too heavily fortified. So they settled on attacking Puerto Principe. However, this plan was doomed from the start. As they discussed the attack, a Spanish prisoner aboard the ship overheard the plan.


Not knowing that this prisoner spoke English, the buccaneers laid out their entire planned attack. Once the ship arrived at a bay near Puerto Principe, that prisoner escaped and swam to shore. He made his way to Puerto Principe and informed the Spanish there of the planned attack. Aware of the pirate’s plan, the Spanish began to hide their treasure and the governor woke all of the people in the town. They readied themselves for the pirate’s arrival.


The pirates arrived soon afterwards and were met with instant resistance from the Spanish. A battle ensued that lasted four hours, with the Spanish experiencing heavy losses. The buccaneers had lost almost none and had only a very few wounded by this point.


When the fighting died down, the Spanish were told, “If you don’t surrender voluntarily, you shall soon see the town in a flame, and your wives and children torn to pieces before your faces.” And with this, the town surrendered. Now quickly, I should remind you that the letters of marque given to Captain Morgan did not allow for attacks on land. They only allowed for attacks on Spanish ships. Thus, with this attack on the city, Morgan committed open and outright illegal piracy. This will also come into play in part two.




Once inside the city, the pirates locked all of the Spanish inside several churches and pillaged all the goods they could find in the town. However, the valuables had either been hidden or all taken from the town and hidden in the surrounding areas. So the pirates began to starve the prisoners inside the churches. They also began torturing and tormenting them to give up the location of their treasure.


Finally, the pirates grew tired of waiting and decided it best to move on from Puerto Principe. However, they told the prisoners that they would need to provide them with two ransoms: one for their town and one for their lives. If they provided the ransom for their lives, but not their town, the town would be burnt to the ground before their eyes. If they could not produce one ransom, then the town would be burnt and they would all be sold as slaves in Jamaica.


Four of the prisoners offered to go in search of valuables that may have been hidden or other members of the town who may have run off with their goods. The four prisoners were let out for their search, but they were threatened with death and the death of the other prisoners if they did not return soon. The men returned a few days later saying they could not find any of the valuables but begged Captain Morgan to give them 15 more days and they would be paid in full. Reluctantly, Captain Morgan granted this request, as they had not received much booty anyway.


However, a short time after the four men had returned, a group of pirates that had been searching the surrounding areas returned with a good amount of booty. They also brought more prisoners with them. When they searched these prisoners, they found that one of them was carrying a letter that was meant to be received by the prisoners in the town. Captain Morgan read this letter and found that it was from the governor of Santa Jago, a somewhat nearby town.




In his letter, the governor told the prisoners to drag out as much time as possible, as he was sending reinforcements to fight the pirates. After reading this, Captain Morgan ordered all of the recovered treasure to be placed on the ships, and told the prisoners they had a single day to pay their ransom. When they said they would need more time, Morgan, likely just sick and tired of this awful series of events, settled for 500 cows instead.


This failure of a mission took an even worse turn when an Englishman and a Frenchman from Captain Morgan’s crew got into a bit of a disagreement. So, they challenged each other to a duel, but as they arrived at the duel location the Englishman stabbed the Frenchman in the back. This caused the other Frenchman in Captain Morgan’s crew to want revenge against the British. But Captain Morgan would not allow an insurrection among his ranks. So, he instantly placed the Englishman in chains to be brought back to Jamaica and hanged. Morgan said that any man might challenge his adversary, but it was not lawful to kill him treacherously, as the Englishman had done.


Once the men had loaded up their treasure, they left the area and found a small island where they could count their haul. In total, the sacking of Puerto Principe had gained the fleet 50,000 pieces of eight. This may seem like a lot, but it also needed to be divided between 700 men. This would absolutely not do. They needed more and Captain Morgan claimed that they should find another target to take.




However, the French disagreed and decided it would be best to part ways with their British comrades. They did so on good terms, and Captain Morgan reiterated his promise to have the Englishman hanged. Which he did. Captain Morgan kept his word, and the Englishman was hanged upon their return to Port Royal; which gave a glimpse of just how brutal he could be not just to the Spanish, but to his own men.


However, Captain Morgan also showed loyalty to those under his command. Unfortunately, again, this gesture was not enough for the French to stay as members of his fleet. So, Morgan was left in a terrible position. He lost a great number of men...but he wanted more booty. What was he to do? He decided to say, “F**k it”, and went to attack his next target anyway.


Attack on Puerto Bello

With the loss of his Frenchmen, Captain Morgan was only able to muster up a force of 460 men - around 30% less than the previous force. Most captains would have decided to go for a smaller target at this point, but Captain Morgan was a “go big” type of person. He loaded up his fleet and set sail for a destination which he had not yet revealed to his crew.


The fleet arrived near Costa Rica, and it was here that Captain Morgan told his captains his plan. You see, he had learned from his mistakes of openly discussing his plans around just anyone. So, he decided to go to the other extreme and not tell a single soul about his plan until reaching their destination.




Morgan told his captains that it was his plan to plunder the city of Puerto Bello by night, and by plunder, he meant he literally wanted every single valuable inch of that city. He would not settle for less. However, Puerto Bello was not a small city. It was a great city. And Morgan’s men knew this. They questioned him saying that they had nowhere near the amount of men necessary to sack a city of that size. Captain Morgan replied saying, “Dude, there’s no way this could fail, I’ve not told ANYONE.” Of course, he also pointed out the fact that if there were fewer men, they’d all get a larger cut of the booty, which pepped the men right up.


However, the men were right to be worrisome. Puerto Bello was no joke. It was considered the strongest place the king of Spain possessed in all the West Indies, aside from Havana and Carthegena (Cartagena). At the entrance to the city were two castles guarding the city that were generally considered impregnable; as well as multiple castles throughout the city that could offer shelter during an attack. Also, the city was home to at least 400 families, as well as a garrison of soldiers 300 strong. So, taking this city would be a huge task.


Captain Morgan and his crew arrived at a different port about 34 miles away from Puerto Bello around midnight. It was decided that it would be best to approach the city in a more careful fashion. They made their way up a river leading to the city, and eventually transferred themselves to canoes and boats. They soon reached land and made the rest of the journey on foot. They then reached the first post on the way to the city where a single guard was patrolling. The pirates were able to quickly capture this man and questioned him on the inner workings of the city.




They then took this guard prisoner and made their way closer to the city, and they soon arrived at one of the castles guarding the city. They lined themselves against the castle walls keeping any traffic from going in or coming out. Captain Morgan ordered their prisoner guard to call into the castle and tell the other soldiers to surrender, otherwise they would be cut into pieces with absolutely no mercy. Instead of heading these words, the Spanish soldiers just immediately opened fire on the pirates. It was said that they put up a hell of a fight, but the castle soon fell to the pirates.


The pirates then made good on their words, literally slicing the Spanish into pieces with their sabers. Those they did not cut into pieces, they packed into one small room in the castle and barricaded them inside. One of the pirates, possibly Morgan himself, had an idea when they noticed the great amount of gunpowder held in the castle. They set fire to this gunpowder inside the castle and made their way outside. With the Spanish still locked inside the small room inside, the castle exploded, completely destroying a large part of the structure, including the room containing the Spanish soldiers.


The pirates then turned their sights on the city itself. The citizens of the city were now throwing their treasures into wells or hiding them underground to keep the pirates from robbing them completely blind. The governor of the city was unable to rally his troops and citizens in all the commotion, so he made his way to one of the remaining castles.




The pirates continued their plundering and pillaging until noon the next day. They then turned their sights to the castles housing the governor and the upper class citizens. Captain Morgan and his force attacked the governor’s castle head on, while other groups of pirates went on to attack the other castles. Captain Morgan’s chosen castle was heavily guarded inside and the pirates were being beaten back harshly. However, when Captain Morgan saw that the other group of pirates were starting to take the other castles, he rallied and came up with an awful idea to take his castle.


He charged one of his men to gather up as many religious men and women as he could find. I don’t just mean people who went to church. These pirates gathered up nuns and priests for their plan. Captain Morgan then ordered the pirates to make ten or twelve ladders that were so broad that three or four men could climb them at once. Once these were constructed, they were placed against the castle walls. However, Morgan didn’t send the pirates up the ladders, he sent the nuns and priests. Captain Morgan called into the castle for the governor and instructed him to surrender the castle. The governor declined saying that he would not surrender himself alive.


So, Captain Morgan instructed the priests and nuns to begin their climb up the ladders against the castle walls. He knew well that the governor was not likely to fire upon his own people, but he knew wrong. The governor opened fire on all trying to breach the castle walls, including the priests and nuns, who all continued to climb while crying and screaming and begging for his mercy and to surrender the castle to save their lives. The governor was not moved by their pleas and continued the murder of his own people. Finally, the pirates made their way up the ladders and overpowered the castle.




Once inside, all of the Spanish soldiers surrendered, save for the governor. The governor was so upset by his men’s surrender that he killed a few of his men himself. The pirates then asked him if he would surrender and be taken prisoner. He answered them saying he’d rather die a valiant soldier than be hanged as a coward, to which the pirates obliged. Although, I’m not sure how he could be a valiant soldier after murdering his own people.


Following the capture of the castle, the city itself completely fell to the pirates. They then spent the next two weeks in the city drinking, eating, and celebrating. Captain Morgan then ordered the people of the city to pay a ransom of 100,000 pieces of eight. To do so, they sent two men to the president of the nearby large city of Panama.


Once they arrived, they informed the president of the attack on Puerto Bello. So, the president then gathered a force and went to meet these pirates. He sent word to Captain Morgan saying that if he and his pirates did not vacate the city now, he would show them no mercy. Captain Morgan, not giving a single shit about these threats, said he would leave once he received his ransom, and if he did not he’d burn the whole fucking city to the ground.




After receiving this letter, the president felt it best to leave the pirates to their own devices, and in a few days time he paid the ransom in full. With the ransom, he also sent word to Captain Morgan explaining his surprise that such a small force could have taken such a large city. He asked Morgan how he could have possibly accomplished this feat.


In response, Captain Morgan sent back a pistol to the president. He asked the president to watch over this pistol for him, as he would soon make his way to Panama to retrieve it. The president returned the pistol with a note telling Morgan that he probably shouldn’t attack Panama, as he would not favour as well as he had in Puerto Bello. However, Captain Morgan was not one to be taken lightly; and the president of Panama was soon to learn that himself.


That’s where we’ll pick up on next week's conclusion to our series on the pirate Captain Morgan!

Read Part 2 now.


"The Buccaneer King: The Story of Captain Henry Morgan" by Graham A. Thomas

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"The Buccaneers of America" by Alexander O. Exquemelin

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Buy in the UK - https://amzn.to/380zDmr

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