Sack of Panama

One of the most daring ventures ever mounted by Caribbean privateers was Henry Morgan's raid on the Spanish treasure house of Panama. Its strongrooms were stuffed with Peruvian gold and silver ready for dispatch to SpaIn.

Morgan had eyed the town enviously for years and in 1671 he led 1,200 men through steaming jungles to this El Dorado on the Pacific; But to his dismay he found facing him two squadrons of cavalry, four regiments of foot - and a solid barrier of snorting bulls. Morgan's men fired a volley and stampeded the beasts, who turned tail in a frenzy of fear and shattered the Spanish lines.

The privateers soon seized the town and ferreted out its precious metals. Exhilarated by their success, the entire band got wildly drunk and inadvertently set fire to the town before departing with 400,000 pieces of eight. Morgan was later knighted for his services against the King's enemies and later appointed Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica.

Caribbean | Jamaica


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by Stephen Luscombe