The Greatest Of The Buccaneers: Sir Henry Morgan
By | July 19, 2019
Of all of history’s pirates, none have gained more fame or infamy than Sir Henry Morgan. He is best known today for having a popular brand of spiced-rum named after him, but from a historical point of view, he is arguably the most successful of the pirates from the Golden Age of Piracy.
Morgan, along with almost every pirate from this time, would never call himself a pirate. Rather, they used the term buccaneer or more frequently privateer. Let’s get the terminology straight before we delve into Morgan’s story.
Buccaneers were hunters from the islands of Hispaniola and Tortuga who caught wild cattle and boar. They used boucanes, little huts where they prepared their game. Eventually, this became applied to the seafaring corsairs since so many buccaneers took up that trade. The term, “brethren of the coast” was another way that they described themselves.
A privateer is a person who sails a private ship and is formally empowered by a country with a letter of marque to make war on its enemies. Naturally, one country’s privateer is another’s pirate. But the essence is that privateers are working outside the official navy of a given country for profit.
Buccaneer, privateer, or pirate mattered to a person like Morgan who very much cared for his status.