Tis the season to be jolly. History is however full of many Christmases that lack something of the proper Christmas spirit. How rare then to find an example of the warmth and fun of the season, in an account of a Polar explorer. Continue reading
From Canton across the South China sea to the edge of the Philippines the Red Flags of Pirate Junks waved in the fragrant breeze. These were the ships of the greatest pirate fleet ever to sail the sea, the only true pirate confederation to actually exist and it was all headed up by one very mysterious woman named Ching Shih. There’s allot of information out there about Shih, and most of it is either unrealistic, unprovable, tentative or just wrong. If you believe most internet sites then you will come off with the impression she took on the world and won. Well it didn’t quite happen that way and the it’s time for the Internet to step back from sensationalising her. This (as far as can so far be understood) is the real story. Continue reading
Admiral Sir Henry Morgan was a man of his times. He was also the greatest Buccaneer to ever live and probably one of history’s great forgotten commanders. Always jealous of his hard earned reputation he became obsessed with the status he had won at the point of his sword, the unfortunate victims of his lust for position and wealth were the Spanish who thought him a low down pirate, and who were tenuously clinging on to the power they themselves had gained through steel and gold. Morgan fought the Spanish at first because that was what good protestant soldiers did, but their (not unreasonable) view of Buccaneers like him would make him turn his energies more and more to punish them for demeaning and disrespecting the life he had made for himself. It was a career that would get him everything he ever wanted and would lead him from rural Wales to the fabled city of Panama. So what do ye say mates, mayhaps we should learn a bit more about him? Continue reading
Come on lets face it. We’re all suckers for a good Swashbuckler, corny or not, accurate or completely bonkers there is a huge soft spot for the daring do of the past. Give us a couple of big ships with allot of cannons, give us a jolly roger and a yo ho ho, give us cutlasses, rapiers and baggy shirts and you’re set for a good time.
I’m no different, as I have found that the real life adventures of these people were no less exciting or colourful. Indeed though in some parts those old fashioned pirate movies that people laugh at all the time, are sometimes closer to the truth than they are given credit for, I have never seen the reality to be a let down. So mateys, sign aboard my good ship and lets set sail with the greatest Buccaneer ever to lift a bottle of rum (a thing he did so frequently there’s even a brand named after him), a man who would have sent all the varying Hollywood pirates scurrying for their mamma’s – the notorious Welsh admiral of the brethren of the coast, Sir Henry Morgan. Following him to the fabled city of Panama in what was to prove the last of the Great Buccaneer raids, and what would prove one of the inspirations for the Golden Age of Piracy, Arrrrrr (Or whatever). Continue reading