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Henry Morgan's privateer ship

Henry Morgan was the most famous of all buccaneers, amassing a fortune by plundering Spain's Caribbean colonies during the late seventeenth century. Through his leadership, courage, ruthlessness, he ensured the survival of English interests in the Caribbean.  His name became legendary in the annals of piracy.

In 1668 Morgan was commissioned by the governor of Jamaica to capture some Spanish prisoners in Cuba, in order to discover details of the threatened attack on Jamaica. With ten ships and 500 men, Morgan landed on the island, captured and sacked Puerto Principe. In an extraordinarily daring move, he went on to storm the well-fortified city of Porto Bello of Panama.

The governor of Panama, astonished at this daring adventure, offered Morgan a large ransom to evacuate the place. In London, the Admiralty publicly claimed ignorance about this.

In March, 1669, Morgan sacked Maracaibo, Venezuela which had emptied out when his fleet was first sighted. He tortured the wealthy residents to discover hidden booty.

Returning to Maracaibo, Morgan found three Spanish ships waiting. These war galleons -- the 40 gun flagship Magdalena, the 30 gun Luis, and the 24 gun La Marquesa -- far outclassed anything Morgan had in his motley collection of sloops and converted merchantmen. Furthermore, behind the galleons, the Spaniards had fortified an island in the narrowest stretch of the inlet with cannon and infantry. Maracaibo's governor Del Campo offered to let Morgan go if the privateers turn over the loot they had taken from the area. He gave Morgan two days to decide.

The buccaneers decided to fight!

At dawn on April 31st, Del Campo awoke to find a half dozen small English ships sailing towards his fleet. He ordered the galleons into position and fire a broadside. The Magdalena had barely discharged her first barrage when a small English ship, laden with explosives, crashed into its side. A English crew of twelve men grappled their ship to the galleon, lit several fuses, then jumped over the side and swam for their lives. Behind them the exploding fire ripped a hole in the side of the Magdalena and flames raced uncontrollably through the galleon. Within minutes Del Campo gave orders to abandon ship.

Meanwhile the captain of the Luis had ineptly run his ship aground in the narrow waters by the inlet, and she too began to sink. Morgan focused his attention on the La Marquesa, which was soon surrounded by his ships and boarded. After a short, bloody fight she was in English hands.

In the euphoria of victory Morgan ordered an immediate frontal assault against the Spanish fortifications on the island. Here, however, the buccaneers were beaten back with over 30 dead and many wounded. The setback chastened Morgan to adopt a brilliant plan of deception. He sent rowboats laden with men to the far shore of the island, only to have the men duck when the boats were out of sight and return to their ships with every man.  The Spaniards, fearing a land assault from behind, turned their heavy guns away from the inlet and towards the vulnerable side. While the Spaniards were busily shifting their cannons and preparing themselves for infantry attack, Morgan raised anchor and sailed through the inlet unscathed.

In August 1670, Morgan commanded the largest force of privateers yet brought together for one venture: 36 ships and nearly 2,000 buccaneers. His destination was Panama-- the wealthiest city in the New World. He defeated a large Spanish force while crossing the Isthmus of Panama 0n Jan. 18, 1671. He burned the city to the ground while his men were looting it.

Because the sack of Panama violated a peace treaty between England and Spain, Morgan was arrested and conducted to England in 1672. He was able to prove he had no knowledge of the treaty. As relations with Spain quickly deteriorated, in 1674 King Charles II knighted Morgan and sent him out again as deputy governor of Jamaica where he lived as a wealthy and respected planter until his death in 1688.


This Oxford model features:

  • Scratch-built

  • Double plank-on-frame

  • Copper-plated bottom

  • All parts are wooden or metal

 36" long x 32" tall x 10" wide       $1,900   S & H is $130      sold out

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