The Cultures and History of the Americas: The Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress
Interactive Objects: The Buccaneers of America
Henry Morgan was born in the part of Wales, known as Welsh England. His father was a well-to-do farmer, but Morgan, having no liking for farm work, decided to go to sea. He reached a port where ships leave for Barbados and signed on for the voyage. On arrival, he was sold as an indentured servant in the English manner. Having served his time he went to Jamaica, where he found several buccaneer ships ready to put to sea. He joined the expedition and soon learned their manner of life. After making three or four voyages with the buccaneers, he and his comrades had made enough money out of loot and dicing to buy a ship of their own. Morgan was made captain, and they went marauding along the coast of Campeche, where they captured several ships.
At this time there was in Jamaica an old buccaneer called Mansveldt who planned to get a fleet together to raid the mainland. Seeing that Morgan was a young man with plenty of courage, the old buccaneer invited him to join the expedition and made him vice-admiral of his fleet. When the fleet put to sea, it consisted of fifteen vessels, with 500 men, including Wallooons and Frenchmen, on board.
Their first landing was on the island of St Catalina lying off the mainland coast of Costa Rica.
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