Before the rum diaries
Perhaps best known as the face of a certain brand of rum, Captain Henry Morgan didn’t start out in life as the face of distilled sugarcane residue. He was in fact a man – a Welshman to be precise! Hailing from the studio-home of Doctor Who (that’s Cardiff to the un-Whovian)
Part of the English force that invaded Jamaica in 1658, Morgan then went on to Captain his first vessel in 1661. The following year he and his fellow Caribbean privateers took part in an attack on the Spanish city of Campeche, in the Gulf of Mexico. He then continued to plunder the Mexican coast until 1665 carrying with him letters of marquee issued by Sir Thomas Modyford, then the governor of Jamaica. Modyford it seemed had his own ideas about how thing should be done and how to protect the Jamaican colonies, and though he was told to disband the pirate fleet some time after the battle of Campeche, he continued to give out letters of marquee and the plundering went on. It was this continued support from Modyford that Morgan needed to really run off the rails.
Best known for his more infamous exploits including raiding Portobello in 1668, Maracaibo in 1669 and the attack on Panama in 1671, Morgan was eventually knighted by the English King Charles II and died in Jamaica a rich man. Though he may have been seen by many as a hero to the English crown for being the scourge of Spain and for solidifying the defences of the Jamaican colonies, he was also a sadistic bastard who tortured and killed many innocent people during his raids on the Spanish and willingly violated treaties in order to do so.
Captain Morgan - hero or horrible? I guess it depends on your point of view, and how much you love a certain brand of rum of course!