The Sack of Panama: Captain Morgan and the Battle for the Caribbean

Peter Earle, Author . St. Martin's/Dunne $25.95 (292p) ISBN 978-0-312-36142-6

In his latest vivid and well-researched account of the great era of piracy, historian Earle (The Pirate Wars , etc.) focuses on the greatest achievement of the English corsairs who sailed to Jamaica and their leader Henry Morgan. The capture and sack of Panama in 1671 was the culmination of five years of no-quarter warfare between Spain and Britain in the Caribbean. During that time, one island was captured three times by different people; two cities and three towns were sacked; and Morgan's buccaneers annihilated a Spanish fleet in less than two hours. Earle's extensive use of unexplored Spanish records enables him to avoid the triumphalism of most Anglocentric accounts of these operations. Still, it's clear that Morgan and his followers were willing to accept almost any risk to make profit and harm Spain, and were vicious even by 17th-century standards. The Spaniards appear consistently behind the curve, ascribing their catastrophes to God's will instead of developing their ability to fight back. Ultimately, the English government ended buccaneering's heyday, to preserve a treaty that ended the war with Spain in Europe—but hopes for friendly relations in the Caribbean were destroyed by the flames in Panama on January 28, 1671. (Feb.)

Reviewed on: 11/20/2006
Release date: 02/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 304 pages - 978-0-670-61425-7
Open Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-5489-1
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