Name: Henry Morgan
Birth: 1636 in Llanrhymney, Glamorgan, Wales
Death: 25 AUG 1688 in probably Lawrencefield, Jamaica
Burial: Secret Location
Occupation: Buccaneer, Governor of Jamaca
Note: Henry Morgan (b. 1635, Llanrhymney, Glamorgan, Wales--d. Aug. 25, 1688, probably Lawrencefield, Jam.), Welsh buccaneer, was the most famous of the adventurers who plundered Spain's Caribbean colonies during the late 17th century. Operating with
Note: the unofficial support of the English government, he undermined Spanish authority in the West Indies.
Note: Morgan's origins and early career are obscure. He was probably a member of the expedition that in 1655 seized Jamaica from the Spanish and converted it into an English colony. He may have participated in an expedition against Cuba in 1662; and
Note: during the second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-67), he was second in command of the buccaneers operating against Dutch colonies in the Caribbean.
Note: Selected commander of the buccaneers in 1668, Morgan quickly captured Puerto Príncipe (now Camagüey), Cuba, and--in an extraordinarily daring move--stormed and sacked the well-fortified city of Portobelo on the Isthmus of Panama. In 1669 he made a
Note: successful raid on wealthy Spanish settlements around Lake Maracaibo on the coast of Venezuela. Finally, in August 1670 Morgan, with 36 ships and nearly 2,000 buccaneers, set out to capture Panamá, one of the chief cities of Spain's American
Note: empire. Crossing the Isthmus of Panama, he defeated a large Spanish force (Jan. 18, 1671) and entered the city, which burned to the ground while his men were looting it. On the return journey he deserted his followers and absconded with most of
Note: the booty.
Note: Because Morgan's raid on Panamá had taken place after the conclusion of a peace between England and Spain, he was arrested and transported to London (April 1672). Nevertheless, relations with Spain quickly deteriorated, and in 1674 King Charles II
Note: knighted Morgan and sent him out again as deputy governor of Jamaica, where he lived as a wealthy and respected planter until his death. An exaggerated account of Morgan's exploits, written by one of his crew, created his popular reputation as a
Note: bloodthirsty pirate.
Note: According to some accounts Henry Morgan was born near Newport, Gwent, in 1635, the son of a Welsh gentleman-farmer. Henry was an energetic youth, ambitious and high-spirited, and the quiet country lifestyle of his younger years held no excitement
Note: for him. He sought adventure, fame and fortune, and began his journey by setting out for Bristol, then the chief western port of England. He was taken aboard a ship which set sail with a mixed crew of seasoned and novice sailing men on May 3rd,
Note: 1655. They were bound for the West Indies. Henry Morgan had started his adventure.
Note: He served in the sugar plantations for seven years, learning the "artful ways of the pirates" that stopped to visit those sultry islands. When he'd had enough of cutting cane and listening to other men's adventures, Henry Morgan set out for
Note: Jamaica in 1662, and quickly found himself engaged to join in the exploits of a ship prepared to sail with its crew of British seamen to chase the Spaniards and plunder their richly bedecked ships and the West Indian coastal towns.
Note: Henry Morgan immediately made himself a name as a swashbuckler. He and his cohorts were so successful that Morgan's share of the booty bought him a ship of his own. At the age of 29 he was captain of his own vessel, with headquarters and a growing
Note: treasure trove in Jamaica. He and his crew of privateers continued to harry the Spaniards on the mainland of America. Once, when the governor of Jamaica sent him word that the Spanish were attacking British ships off Cuba, Morgan set off, still
Note: laden with plunder from his forays in the Americas, to return to Jamaica to wreak revenge. Morgan's courage, ability and reputation won him a promotion from the governor, who made him admiral of the Jamaican fleet, with ten ships and five hundred
Note: men under his command.
Note: After landing on Cuban shores in 1668, he took the largest city on the island, Portobelo. He then set sail for the Spanish mainland, plundered his enemy's richest cities, and left for open water with the Spanish in pursuit. He turned on them and
Note: in a fierce and bloody battle nearly destroyed the Spanish fleet. During this expedition Morgan lost only 18 of his crew. When the total count of the treasure was made, Morgan had wrested from the Spanish a quarter of a million pieces of gold and
Note: silver coin, quantities of jewels, casks of ale and rum, precious spices, silks and velvets, weapons and ammunition, gun powder, cutlasses and daggers enough for an army, together with a large number of slaves.
Note: One vengeful Spaniard, Capitan Pardal, did not fear Morgan. Pardal's sole purpose was to have the opportunity to cross swords with Henry Morgan. In one final frustrated attempt to goad Morgan into a fight, Pardal made a clumsy raid on the coast of
Note: Jamaica, set fire to a small village and destroyed its crops. He left the following challenge nailed to a tree near the ruins of the village meeting hall: "I, Capitan Manuel Pardal, to the Chief of the Privateers in Jamaica. I come to seek General
Note: Henry Morgan, with two ships and twenty-one guns. When he has seen this Challenge, I beg that he will come out and seek me, that he may see the Valour of the Spaniards."
Note: Morgan saw the note and lost no time in setting sail to hunt down the Spaniard. Morgan found Pardal, chased him ashore on the eastern coast of Cuba, and with just a handfull of men and a few muskets set off in hot pursuit. With the first volley
Note: from Morgan's sharpshooters, the Spaniards turned and fled in terror. Pardal was shot through the neck and killed with a musket ball from Morgan's own pistol.
Note: Back in port, Morgan was again rewarded for his courage with command of the largest fleet ever to set sail from Jamaica. He was put in charge of thirty five ships and two thousand men. He was just 34 years old. With such a large force behind him,
Note: Morgan vowed to destroy, once and for all, the power of the Spanish in the West Indies. He sailed for Panama, the largest and richest town in the Spanish American colonies.
Note: Unknown to Morgan, however, negotiations in London had resulted in peace between Britain and Spain. Urgent orders were dispatched to Jamaica, instructing Morgan not to attack the Spanish colonies. Morgan chose to ignore these orders when they
Note: arrived, and carried on with his plan of attack. He reached the mainland and marched covertly across the Isthmus of Panama, upriver towards the city of Panama. Days and nights of trudging through vine-choked forests exhausted his men. They ran out
Note: of food and water. They trapped every dog, cat and mule they could find and ate them raw. Towards the end of their march they ate their leather powder satchels to stave off the pangs of hunger. At one point they came across a stash of casks of
Note: wine, but Morgan was over-suspicious and refused to allow even a drop to be tasted for fear the Spanish had poisoned the wine and left it as a trap. The men grumbled and swore oaths of protest, but they went doggedly on. Half the party died
Note: through disease and starvation.
Note: On January 18, 1671, as Morgan came upon the enemy he had only a thousand men left, and these were foot-sore and starved. In this sad state, Morgan ordered his army to do battle with a force ten times as large. Morgan's men were weakened but
Note: desperate, and the fighting continued for hours. At last the Spanish fled from the battlefield, but not before three thousand prisoners were taken. Morgan and his forces entered the city, refreshed themselves with food and wine, then began sacking
Note: the wealthy city. One hundred and fifty mules were needed to carry the treasure back to the ships; however, tense relations with his men are supposed to have caused Morgan to abscond with most of the booty.
Note: Because Morgan's raid on Panama had taken place after the conclusion of peace talks between England and Spain, he was arrested in Jamaica and extradited to London in April of 1672. Two years later the peace was broken and Spain became an enemy of
Note: England once more. Morgan paid out huge portions of his treasure to the crown for his freedom. King Charles II knighted Morgan, and returned him to Jamaica as Governor, where he lived as a wealthy and respected planter until his death on August
Note: 25, 1688, at the age of 52.
Father: John Morgan b: 1596 in Tredegar, Monmouth, Wales
Mother: Rebeccah Smith b: 1593