Sir Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan was born in Wales to a good family, and could have easily gotten a good job in the British Navy. Henry decided that life as a buccaneer was more of a life for him. At the time, England was at war with Spain, and so all Spanish settlements and ships were allowed to be attacked by seamen who have been given special permission by the king. These special pirates were called 'privateers', and were allowed a share of the booty, so it was a legal way to be a pirate and still make a profit.

Henry Morgan went to Jamaica, and got a 'letter of marque' from the Jamaican govenor, which is the paper that proves that he is a privateer under special orders of the king. As a privateer, Morgan raided towns in Cuba (Puerto del Principe) and Panama (Porto Bello) and Venezuela (Maracaibo). He returned to Jamaica a hero! Morgan decided to return to Panama because it was supposed to be full of riches. After many long battles he was able overcome the town of San Lorenzo. However, during this last raid, England and Spain had made peace. It was thought that Morgan had heard of the peace between the two countries and decided to raid San Lorenzo anyway, which would mean that the raid on the town would not have been under orders of the king, but the act of a pirate!

Spain wanted the English King Charles II to punish Morgan for raiding the town. So Morgan was arrested for piracy and sent to England. When Henry Morgan got to England, he found that people had decided that he was a hero, and didn't want him to stand trial. King Charles had his men investigate the matter of the raid on San Lorenzo, and they decided that Morgan was not at fault for raiding the town, as there was no proof that he knew that the war was over between the two countries. King Charles decided that Morgan was indeed a hero, and knighted him! He also made him the Lieutenant-Govenor of Jamaica, which meant that when he returned to Jamaica, his job would be to find and punish pirates!

Sir Henry Morgan became very good at his job, and was responsible for capturing many pirates. With his riches in privateering, and his good job as the Lieutenant-Govenor, he became a very wealthy man. When he died as an old man (from drinking too much) he was still a wealthy and respected man.

In profile-Pirates and Privateers by Jeremy Pascall


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