Sir Henry Morgan
Sir Henry Morgan (1635-1688) was a Welsh privateer who fought for the English against the Spanish in the Caribbean in the 1660’s and 1670’s. He is remembered as the greatest of the privateers, amassing huge fleets, attacking prominent targets and being the worst enemy of the Spanish since Sir Francis Drake. Although he made numerous raids all along the Spanish Main, his three most famous exploits were the 1668 sack of Portobello, the 1669 raid on Maracaibo and the 1671 attack on Panama. He was knighted by King Charles II of England and died a rich man on Jamaica.
Morgan's exact date of birth is unknown, but it was sometime around 1635 in Monmouth County, Wales. He had two uncles who had distinguished themselves in the English military, and Henry decided as a young man to follow in their footsteps. He was with General Venables and Admiral Penn in 1654 when they captured Jamaica from the Spanish. He soon took up the life of a privateer, launching attacks up and down the Spanish Main and Central America.
In 1667, Morgan had been sent to sea to find some Spanish prisoners to confirm rumors of an attack on Jamaica. He had grown legendary, and soon found that he had a force of some 500 men in several ships. He captured some prisoners on Cuba, and then he and his captains decided to attack the rich town of Portobello. In July of 1668 Morgan attacked, taking Portobello by surprise and quickly overrunning the meager defenses. Not only did they loot the town, but they essentially held it for ransom, demanding and receiving 100,000 pesos in exchange for not burning the city to the ground. He left after about a month: the sack of Portobello resulted in huge shares of loot for everyone involved and Morgan's fame grew even greater.
By October of 1668 Morgan was restless and decided to head once again to the Spanish Main. He sent out word that he was organizing another expedition. He went to Isla Vaca and waited while hundreds of corsairs and buccaneers...