Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Pirates of the West Indies - Guest blog by Bill Federer --Enjoy this history recap! --Elva Cobb Martin

American Minute with Bill Federer
Pirates of the Caribbean, War of Jenkin's Ear, & The Ballad of the French Fleet
In 1655, British Admiral William Penn, the father of Pennsylvania's founder, captured Jamaica from the Spanish.

As Jamaica was too far from England be defended, inhabitants turned to privateers, freebooters, buccaneers and pirates for protection.
Port Royal, Jamaica, became a haven for the likes of Blackbeard, Calico Jack and Captain Henry Morgan.
With English, Portuguese, French and Dutch establishing bases in the Caribbean, Spain's power was being challenged.
Spain's most prosperous port in the New World was Porto Bello, Panama.
Spanish ships were loaded at Porto Bello with gold and silver from Peru, and then they set sail for Spain.
In 1668, English privateer Captain Henry Morgan and some 500 buccaneers attacked and captured Porto Bello.

They cruelly tortured the inhabitants to get them to surrender their treasures.
Captain Morgan demanded 100,000 pesos of silver and gold from the Spanish to ransom the inhabitants of the fort and its town.
The repercussions of this attack ended the tenuous cease-fire between Spain and England, renewing open hostilities.
In 1669, Captain Henry Morgan attacked and captured the Spanish port of Maracaibo (Venezuela).
Sailing into Lake Maracaibo in search of more treasure, Morgan was almost trapped.

He sent forward a decoy ship filled with gunpowder, which exploded and destroyed a Spanish ship.

He then faked a land attack, causing the Spanish fort to reposition its cannons landward, allowing him to quickly sail past to the sea.
In 1671, Morgan again sacked Panama.
In 1731, a Spanish commander in the Caribbean detained an English ship.

He cut off the ear of the English Captain Robert Jenkins and told him to take it to his King.

This began the War of Jenkins' Ear.
British Admiral Edward Vernon recruited 400 American colonists, including Lawrence Washington, George Washington's older half-brother.

They sailed to Panama and captured the port city of Porto Bello.
British Admiral Edward Vernon also attacked Cartagena, Columbia, but was unable to capture it.
Lawrence Washington returned to Virginia as a 25-year-old war hero.
Lawrence served in Virginia's assembly and militia, and named his farm "Mount Vernon" in honor of Admiral Edward Vernon.
After Lawrence died, George, at age 20, inherited Mount Vernon.