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Last Updated: Friday, 15 August, 2003, 12:41 GMT 13:41 UK
Pirate links with Hollywood film
Sir Henry Morgan (pic courtesy of Data Wales)
Sir Henry Morgan became the acting governor of Jamaica
In the week that Hollywood blockbuster, Pirates of the Caribbean, is released, BBC News Online looks at the history of one famous Welsh buccaneer of the West Indies.

Sir Henry Morgan, who was born in Cardiff and has links with Newport, sailed the Atlantic Ocean in the 17th Century to take over Spanish strongholds in the Caribbean and Cuba.

Working under the Commonwealth, he led daring buccaneer missions throughout his time there, eventually becoming acting Governor of Jamaica.

John Weston, a local historian who lives in Newport believes that Sir Henry is one of Wales' most colourful figures.

"There are some who would have called him a pirate, but I prefer to think of his as more of a buccaneer," he said.

"His crew were a really rough, tough bunch - often coming from prisons and being escaped slaves.

"The most fearsome and bloodthirsty people you could get.

"But Sir Henry didn't have any noticeable problems with leadership and seemed to be accepted by his crew.

Orlando Bloom
Orlando Bloom stars in the Hollywood film Pirates of the Caribbean

"And of course he was acting for the British Commonwealth to try and allow British trade in the area - so he would have been immune from any crimes related to piracy.

"There had been some agreement by the Spanish that the Caribbean was part of their area.

"But the British needed to trade and so had to go to other parts of the world," he said.

Expedition

During the expedition commanded by General Venables, Sir Henry arrived in Barbados in 1655.

He continued to battle with the Spanish, who had claimed the New World, and by 1660, Jamaica was captured by the expedition.

But his exploits were far from over and Morgan led several missions attacking Cuba.

Mr Weston described how Sir Henry commanded respect in the Caribbean and became one of the most famous people there at the time.

"He became acting governor of Jamaica and was the focus of a very dynamic group of people."

Sir Henry died on the island in 1688 leaving a wife but no children.


SEE ALSO:
Pirates star's early promise
08 Aug 03  |  Kent
Pirates films tests its stars
08 Aug 03  |  Entertainment
Fans cheer Pirates at première
15 Jul 03  |  Entertainment


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