Henry Morgan

  • Piracy
  • 2 mins

By Crusader1307

Captain Henry Morgan was born in Cardiff, Wales (around 1635). Not from a well-off family, it was documented that he was more in tune with “warfare than books”. It has been speculated that Morgan was the illegitimate son of a wealthy Nobleman and military Officer. Relocating to Jamaica as a young man, Morgan no doubt sought to make his own name and fortune abroad. He married well (into the Lieutenant-Governor's family). Around the time of his marriage, Morgan began to use the title “Captain”. Sent by The Governor of Jamaica on an expedition of local islands, the Ship Morgan traveled on was captured and boarded by The Spanish. With it's Captain killed, the crew elected Morgan as their new Captain. Receiving a Marque of War, Morgan set about as a Privateer, attacking Spanish shipping and commerce in The Caribbean.


He was very successful (eventually earning around $14 Million USD in his lifetime). His skill was so appreciated by The King of England, that he was Knighted. Morgan and his self-made “Pirate Fleet” inflicted much damage to Spanish and French holdings in the region. His raids of Porta Bello, Cartagena, Maracaibo and Gibraltar are the stuff of high seas legend. Morgan was responsible for the destruction of many French and Spanish Coastal Fortifications. Morgan and his “Fleet” finally went too far however, when they Raided and Burned Panama. Looting, Rape and other “crimes” ran rampant (so much so that England withdrew all support – including Morgan's Marque of War).


Morgan's Raid on Panama did however have the desired effect on The War. It forced a Peace Treaty between Spain and England in 1670. Morgan and his remaining ships were finally arrested around 1672. Although tried as a “Pirate”, England still appreciated his service against The Spanish (which possibly saved him from the Hangman's Rope). Morgan remained in Jamaica and even brought the first known case of libel against an English writer who painted Morgan as a “bloodthirsty Caribbean Pirate”. Morgan won his suit (but the book no doubt contributed greatly to Morgan's “legend”).


It is speculated that Morgan may have died from tuberculosis when he was in London, England. His body was sent back to Jamaica, where it was buried in Palisadoes Cemetery (a well know burial ground for Pirates and Privateers). The entire cemetery (as well as a large portion of the Island) sank into the ocean with the 1692 Earthquake.