A year later Morgan led an expedition of 8 ships and 650 buccaneers to attack the
Venezuelan cities of Marcaibo (a coastal city located at the mouth of an inland lake) and
Gilbraltar (located on the other side of the lake). Compared with his last venture, the
plunder was not comparable, and Morgan found the cities virtually deserted. The result:
50,000 English pounds, and slaves and goods of the same value. When the pirates tried to
sail from the lake, they found that their exit had been blocked. Maracaiboís powerful fort
had their gun trained on Morgan, and three huge Spanish men-o-war stood just outside the
channel. Morgan offered the Spanish the option of surrender, instead of accepting, the
Spanish laughed. Morgan decided to teach them a lesson they would, indeed, never forget.
Morgan had his lead ship (a small sloop, covered with pitch, tar, and brimstone.) loaded
with kegs of gunpowder, and had dummies (made of pumpkins and wood, dressed as buccaneers)
placed at battle stations throughout his ship. While the Spanish still laughed the small
vessel slowly approached them and suddenly burst into flames, it then exploded: sinking the
first man-o-war, and burning the second to the hull. The remaining man-o-war was easily
captured by the pirates. Once again Morgan offered the Spanish the option of surrender: once
again the Spanish refused. Shrugging his shoulders Morgan had his crew embark for shore with
longboats: upon seeing this the Spanish assumed the pirates were massing for a land attack.
As a result the Spanish moved their cannon to the other side of the fort. Before the Spanish
had a chance to move the cannon back into place, Morgan took advantage of the opportunity by
safely sailing past the fort that night. Only then did the Spaniards finally realize that
they had been tricked: instead of landing on the other side of the jetty, Morganís men had
simply crouched below the gunwale and returned to their ships. After this battle, Henry
Morgan was the undisputed king of the buccaneers.
In January 1670, Morgan set out after the largest venture of his career, to plunder
the gold of Panama. Answering his call, 2000 buccaneers on 36 ships assembled to prepare for
an attack on Panama. Once Morgan took over Fort San Lorenzo, he led his crew on a rough
16-day journey through dense almost impassable Jungle. The Spaniards were prepared for
Morgan, and six hundred cavalry swooped down on the pirates. Thousands of muskets fired;
both sides took their loses, but the pirates held their ground. A stampede of 2,000 Spanish
bulls did not deter the pirates, and the Spanish finally fled in retreat. The city belonged
to the buccaneers, and yielded 100,000 English Pounds. Unfortunately, at that time, England
was no longer at war with Spain. Morgan was recalled to England and thrown into the dungeons
to stand trial as a pirate. However, King Charles II, learning about Morganís great deeds,
knighted him instead in 1673, making him lieutenant governor of Jamaica. Morgan was ordered
to rid the seas from all buccaneers.
Morgan had done well in executing the Kings orders. When he died in 1688 there were
almost no buccaneers left.
Henry Morgan was one of the most ruthless of pirates, his daring, brutality, and
intelligence made him the most feared, and respected buccaneer of all time. Henry Morgan
really was the king of all pirates.◊
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