Henry Morgan - the King of Buccaneers

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Henry Morgan - the King of Buccaneers
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The Caribbeans in the 17th century were full with Spanish towns and ships waiting to get captured and plundered. It was the heaven for all pirates, privateers, freebooters and buccaneers. But who were those people? That will be my first subject. Later, we will look into the articles, or the rules, that these men had to obey. I will also tell you the story of Henry Morgan, the greatest among all of the buccaneers. Firstly, I will tell you about his early life. I will also try to find out whether he was a hero or an outrageous pirate.
His life will be presented through his greatest raids: the attacks on the Spanish cities of Puerto Principe and Porto Bello, plundering in the Bay of Maracaibo and the infamous taking of Panama, the richest port in the West Indies. The raids will be followed by his unexpected retirement, and of course, his death.
In the end, I will summarize his whole life and decide whether he really was the King of buccaneers.

Buccaneers – outlaws or soldiers?

Buccaneers were English and French pirates or privateers that attacked ships and sacked towns of the Spanish Main. But are there any differences between a pirate and a privateer? Nowadays, people usually do not differ those two terms, but for a buccaneer of the 17th century it could mean the difference between life and death.
A pirate is an outlaw, a bandit on the sea that would attack any ship, regardless of nationality, for its own gain. A pirate would usually steal all the goods and treasures on board and take prisoners to yield them for ransom or to turn them into slaves.
A privateer was a mercenary sea fighter. During the wars with Spain, French and English government would give privateer captains “Letters of Marquee”, contracts that would let them attack enemy ships and towns in exchange for a percent of the profit.
Logically, the governments usually convicted the former and praised the latter.
But it was a thin line between piracy and privateering. Many privateers, in lack of a better target, attacked the ships of their own country. Also, there were pirates who acted against all laws, but still didn’t the attack the ships of their own nation, in respect of the crown or, more likely, at least to have some allies when things go downhill.
Similarly, there were buccaneers that were treated as the great patriots and heroes by the English, and at the same time, other nations saw them as coldhearted, merciless pirates and murderers – one such man was Henry Morgan.

Henry Morgan’s early life and first exploits

Henry Morgan was born around 1635 in Llanrumney, a manor in Monmouthshire, Wales. He arrived in the Caribbeans in 1655, as a junior officer in an expedition sent out by Oliver Cromwell.
In the years that followed, Morgan sailed with a famous English buccaneer, Sir Christopher Myngs, admiral of Jamaica. He commanded a ship in Myngs’ flotilla which attacked and plundered the towns of Santiago

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