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On This Day… Captain Morgan Attacked Panama!

Written by: George Chittenden : 30 Jun 2019

It was on this day, 18th January, back in 1671, when a Welsh Privateer led a gang of criminals to attack the second largest city in the Western Hemisphere. Captain Henry Morgan’s attack on Panama is legendary. They say that Morgan’s reputation as a pirate leader was so great that, when he called for recruits, two-thousand men in thirty-seven ships turned out.

They assembled at Tortuga on October 24th, 1670, ready to begin their campaign. Several skirmishes with the Spanish took place in the weeks that preceded Panama’s fall, but it was on this day when several thousand Spanish troops marched out of the city and squared off with one of the most unusual armies ever assembled. Even though the pirates were outnumbered they held their ground and after hours of fighting they were victorious.

Before pillaging the city, Morgan ordered his men not to drink any wine in case the inhabitants had poisoned it. When Henry Morgan was eventually arrested, he was transported back to London. In 1674 King Charles II knighted Henry Morgan and sent him out again as Deputy Governor of Jamaica, where he lived as a wealthy and respected planter until his death.

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