of individual pirates in the Caribbean, from Blackbeard to Calico Jack, have
been the stuff of legend since the eighteenth century, but in Spanish Gold
pirate expert David Cordingly at last gives us the big picture in all its bold
and ruthless truth.
Cordingly shows how the attacks of the buccaneers on the treasure ports of the
Spanish Main, and the sacking of Panama by Sir Henry Morgan in 1671, were the
prologue to an explosion of piracy which led to the establishment of a pirate
colony at Nassau in the Bahamas. By 1717, so many ships had been raided and
trade so badly disrupted that the merchants of London had to act.
The man they selected to drive the pirates from their lodgement' was Captain
Woodes Rogers, himself a former privateer who had sailed round the world with
William Dampier the buccaneer explorer as his pilot. Woodes Rogers had captured
the fabled Manila treasure galleon, and rescued Alexander Selkirk from a remote
Pacific island - indeed, it was his account of Selkirk's ordeal that inspired
Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.
Woodes Rogers' resolute actions as Governor of the Bahamas restored order to
the colony and proved a defining step in the campaign against the pirates,
inspiring the fight-back against men like Blackbeard, Calico Jack and
Bartholomew Roberts, all of whom died in dramatic circumstances.
Played out against the background of fierce colonial rivalry between Britain,
France and Spain, linked with the slave trade, the sugar plantations of the
West Indies, and the fabulously rich trade in gold and silver from the New
World, the true story of the rise and fall of the pirates of the Caribbean
makes for a tale even more interesting and surprising than the legends