From renowned pirate historian David Cordingly, author of Under the Black Flag and film consultant for the original Pirates of the Caribbean, comes the thrilling story of Captain Woodes Rogers, the avenging nemesis of the worst cutthroats ever to terrorize the high seas. Once a marauding privateer himself, Woodes Rogers went from laying siege to laying down the law. During Britain’s war with Spain, Rogers sailed for the crown in sorties against Spanish targets in the Pacific; battled scurvy, hurricanes, and mutinies; captured a treasure galleon; and even rescued the castaway who inspired Robinson Crusoe. Appointed governor of the Bahamas in 1717, the fearless Rogers defended the island colony of King George I against plundering pirates and an attempted Spanish invasion. His resolute example led to the downfall of such notorious pirates as Blackbeard, Calico Jack, and the female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read. A vividly detailed and action-packed portrait of one of the early eighteenth century’s most colorful characters, Pirate Hunter of the Caribbean serves up history that’s as fascinating and gripping as any seafaring legend.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.28(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.72(d)|
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From the Hardcover edition.
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Table of Contents
Author's Note ix
1 Raiding the South Seas 13
2 The Sea Captain 28
3 From Bristol to Cape Horn 44
4 A Man Clothed in Goat-Skins 57
5 The Manila Galleons 75
6 The Voyagers Return 96
7 Sugar, Slaves and Sunken Treasure 117
8 Governor of the Bahamas 132
9 Welcome to Nassau 151
10 Hanged on the Waterfront 161
11 Blackbeard's Last Stand 172
12 Calico Jack and the Female Pirates 183
13 Great Debts and Bills 196
14 Death on the Coast of Guinea 209
15 Back to the Bahamas 229
What People are Saying About This
“A rousing account . . . vivid and hair-raising . . . a fine mix of . . . hard-headed history and a richly evoked atmosphere, with its murderous characters, exotic locations and fabulous cargoes of treasure.”—The Sunday Times (U.K.)
“The true story of the rise and fall of the pirates of the Caribbean makes for a tale more interesting and surprising than the legends themselves. . . . Woodes Rogers’ resolute actions . . . proved a defining step in the campaign against the pirates, inspiring the fight-back against men like Blackbeard, Calico Jack and Bartholomew Roberts.”—Historic Naval Fiction
“An excellent primer in the barnacle-infested field of piratology.”—Booklist
“A colourful and rollicking biography.”—The Express (U.K.)
The real pirates of the Caribbean: what the movies got wrong
By David Cordingly
In the years between 1715 and 1725 there was an explosion of piracy in the Caribbean which was comparable in some ways with the recent outbreak of piracy in the seas off Somalia. So many ships were attacked that the authorities were forced to take drastic measures: warships were despatched to capture the pirates and the ringleaders were tried and hanged and their bodies prominently displayed on gallows at the entrance to seaports.
The majority of the 18th century pirates were working class sailors: naval deserters, redundant merchant seamen and former privateers. They were not the heroic, romantic characters portrayed in the movies by Erroll Flynn or Douglas Fairbanks Snr, nor were they the affable rogues of the type depicted by Robert Newton in Treasure Island; nor did they have the zany charm of Johnny Depp’s Captain Sparrow. They were hard men notorious for their foul language, heavy drinking and casual violence.
Pirate ships in the movies also bear little resemblance to the vessels actually used by the real pirates. Hollywood pirate ships are usually large three-masted galleons, presumably because these provide plenty of deck space for cameras, crews and lively action sequences. The real pirates operating in the Caribbean preferred fast, single- masted vessels of the type then known as sloops. Their speed and their shallow draft enabled them to evade naval ships by outpacing them and hiding out in shallow creeks.
Ever since Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island in 1883, most pirate stories, whether novels or films, have centred around a treasure map and buried treasure. Although Captain Kidd is known to have buried some of his treasure on Gardiners Island off New York, this was unusual because the usual practice of pirates was to head for the nearest port and spend their loot on women, gambling and drink. Walking the plank is another myth associated with pirates. This probably owes its origin to Peter Pan but it became an essential sequence in every pirate film from the 1930s onwards. The real pirates either let their victims go once they had ransacked their ships, or they marooned them on the nearest island.
Not everything traditionally associated with pirates proves to be untrue. The black flag with the skull and cross bones (or variations involving crossed cutlasses or a whole skeleton) came into common use among the pirates of the Caribbean around 1700. The flag’s message was ‘surrender or die’ and, when accompanied by a cannon shot, grenades and a deck swarming with pirates waving cutlasses, it invariably achieved its purpose. And what about wooden legs and parrots? There is plenty of evidence to show that some pirates had wooden legs to replace limbs lost in battle or shipboard accidents. Parrots were frequently collected by sailors and by pirates. They made colourful souvenirs to take home from tropical regions and if they failed to impress wives and girl friends they could always be sold for a good price in the bird markets.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book goes into great detail about the legendary Captain Woodes Rogers. It tells about his ousting of pirates in the Bahamas and his many endeavors. Would recommend.
enjoyed it very much