Captain Henry Morgan may be more famous for the Rum named after him but to the marine archaeologists diving wrecks off Panama the find has less to do with parties and more to do with hard historical fact. MSNBC tells us:
It may not be a $500 million golden hoard, but underwater archaeologists are nevertheless excited about finding what they believe are traces of the five ships that British privateer Henry Morgan lost off the coast of Panama in 1671.
The discovery was made at the mouth of Panama’s Chagres River, near another underwater site where six iron cannons were found. Taken together, the evidence suggests that the three-century-old story of Captain Morgan’s lost fleet is finally near its conclusion.
The story begins with Morgan, a Welsh sea captain who was given the British crown’s official sanction to prey on Spanish sea trade. Some would call Morgan a pirate, others a buccaneer, but “privateer” is the more charitable term.
In 1671, Morgan aimed to weaken Spain’s control of the Caribbean by sacking Panama City, and the first step was to capture Castillo de San Lorenzo, a Spanish fort on the cliff overlooking the entrance to the Chagres River. That river served as the only water passageway between the Caribbean and the capital.
Morgan and his pirates of the Caribbean took over the fort and went on to overwhelm the city’s defenders. But in the process, he lost his flagship and four other ships to the rough seas and shallow reef surrounding the fort.
From there on, the story takes some dark twists and turns. Continue reading…