The Jamaica of Henry Morgan or Bob Marley?


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Both these men made Jamaica famous. You won’t find anyone who has not heard about this island, and if you ask what is associated with it, the answers will be “pirates” or “reggae.” However, some may say Jamaican rum.

In my view, the Caribbean Sea today brings to mind thoughts of pirates, just as would have in the 17th century. Because of that piracy connection, a young man named Henry decided to leave England and his rich parents, to go to the Caribbean Sea to seek adventure, romance, and treasure. He had not even enough money for passage on a ship, so he sold himself into slavery. That was a very common practice in those times. If you could not buy a ticket to the West Indies, you pledged to work on the sugar plantations for several years. The price of a one-way ticket for Henry Morgan was ten years.

However, Henry turned out to be a very capable guy; he got his freedom in only seven years, joined a gang and started to steal. Two years later, he had stolen enough money to buy a ship. He continued to rob, kill, and rape. He was lucky to get away with it, as piracy was forbidden by the United Kingdom. The Royal Court could hang you from the yardarm for it, but only if you had no license.

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