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Admiral Gardner - 1809

The Admiral Gardner was an East Indiaman ship that sailed trade routes from the East Indies for the British East India Company (EIC). She was built in 1797 and named after British Admiral Alan Gardner. During her short existence she had one skirmish with a single French ship captained by a privateer.

The Admiral Gardner was able to successfully complete 5 trade routes between the East Indies and Europe before she sank in 1809. On January 24, 1809 she left Downs, England on her way to Bengal and Madras. This would be the start of her sixth voyage for the British East India Company (EIC) lead by Captain Eastfield. The next day a large gale struck and broke the ship loose from her moorings as she ran aground on the Goodwin Sands off South Foreland. The Goodwin Sands are still known to this day as a treacherous sailing area due to the tides that made it difficult to depict depth.

On January 25, 1809 the Admiral Gardner lost 3-5 of her crew members due to drowning. She was also carrying a cargo British East India Company (EIC) copper trading tokens known as X (10) Cash and XX (20) Cash coins. The estimated value in 1809 of the coins lost on this wreck are £21,579 and all belonged to Matthew Boulton.

The wreck was discovered in 1984 as the tides often dictate visibility of the wreckage and its cargo. Some coins were salvaged in 1985 and this area is now a protected area.

For further reading we recommend the following online articles:

Admiral Gardner (1797 EIC ship) - Wikipedia

Binh Thuan - 1608

The Binh Thuan shipwreck is named for the province of Vietnam it is located closest to, the Binh Thuan Province. The ship was operated by I Sin Ho who was a trade merchant in the region. His primary use for the ship was transporting Chinese goods for the Dutch East India Company operating in the region. He primarily transported Chinese goods and silks between China and Johore. I Sin Ho saw an unfortunate fate South of Vietnam in 1608.

The Binh Thuan was a large Chinese junk vessel that measured 24m long, 7m beam, and 25 port-starboard bulkheads. On her last sail, she was carrying a variety of the following:



Copper bowls and dishes


Cast Iron Cookware

Zhangzhou Porcelain: Traditional Blue and White Ceramics

The Zhangzhou porcelain is a Chinese ceramic that is popular for its detailed and ornate artwork in the traditional blue and white colors. This shipwreck is also the first known dedicated shipwreck for Zhangzhou pottery in history as the product was rapidly gaining in trade during this time.

She sank approximately 40 miles off the shore of South Vietnam at a depth of 135ft. She was discovered in 2001 by trawling fisherman. They had gotten their dragnets caught in her wreckage and discovered her artifacts as they were attempting to straighten out their nets.

Photo Credit: UNESCO

Ca Mau - 1725

The Ca Mau shipwreck is known by this due to its location near the Ca Mau Peninsula in Southern Vietnam. She sank in 1725 where the true cause is unknown. She was primarily used to transport Chinese ceramics for trade to Dutch merchants such as the Dutch East India Company. The Ca Mau was designed to be a Chinese Junk vessel measuring 24m in length and having an 8m beam. The remains of the shipwreck now rest 36m below the surface.

At the time she sank, she was sailing between Canton, China (modern day Guangzhou) to Batavia, Indonesia (modern day Jakarta) to trade with the Dutch. Her hold was filled with ceramics at the time of the unfortunate sinking carrying ceramics from Jingdezhen (Jiangxi Province), Dehua Kiln (Hujian), and Guangzhou (Guangdong).  

The wreck was found in 2001 by a group of fishermen and archaeologists spent the next six years recovering over 130,000 ornate ceramic bowls and dishes. 54,000 of the salvaged artifacts are currently in Vietnamese museums and the rest were sold to collectors.

Photo Credit: Sothebys

Photo Credit: Nguyen Quoc Bihn

El Cazador - 1784

El Cazador is a very important ship with regards to American history. "El Cazador" means "The Hunter" in English and the shipwreck is also better known as the "Shipwreck That Changed America". She was a Spanish brig-of-war at 90 feet long tasked with a very important delivery to maintain Spain's power.

At this time in American history during the late 1700's the Louisiana Purchase territory was controlled by Spain. Carlos III was the current King of Spain at this time and was also struggling to maintain paper currency not backed by silver or gold throughout his territories. He began this strategy of non-precious metal backed currency during the 1770's. On October 20th, 1783 he decided that he needed to strengthen the worthless paper currency used in the Spanish controlled Louisiana Purchase Territory by introducing silver coins.  El Cazador sailed to Veracruz, Mexico on orders from Carlos III and loaded over 400,000 silver pesos with the majority of them being 8 Reales (Pieces of Eight). They also loaded over 50,000 smaller currency silver coins. All of the coins combined had a weight of over 37,500 pounds of silver on board that was headed for New Orleans, Louisiana.

  Captain Gabriel de Campos y Pineda was King Carlos III's most trusted captain and he was in charge of making this important delivery. Captain Gabriel left Veracruz, Mexico on January 11th, 1784 and was never heard from again. It was assumed that they experienced a large tropical storm which caused their heavily weighted ship to sink. King Carlos III ordered salvage and rescue crews to find the ship for four months until the crew and cargo of El Cazador was deemed lost-at-sea.

The importance of this shipwreck for American history lies within the importance of this silver currency delivery and the current state of the Spanish economy in what is now North America. The current economy was weak in the Louisiana Purchase territory due to Spain converting to paper currency and away from the "gold standard". Due to the geographical distance between Spain and the territory in the New World it made it difficult to manage the territory remotely. Spain ended up needing to ultimately sell the Louisiana Purchase territory to what is now the United States. This is why most people refer to this shipwreck as the "Shipwreck That Changed America".

This shipwreck and its treasures spent over 200 years under the ocean until a Mistake revealed her. On August 2, 1993 a fishing trawler named Mistake got their nets caught on the remains of the wreck. Captain Jerry Murphy ordered the crew to bring up her nets and untangle the debris only to find that their nets were filled with silver coins. The Mistake had found the El Cazador.

Photo Credit: Maksim's Museum

Photo Credit: Throughout History

Photo Credit: Ebay

HMS Association - 1707

The HMS Association was an English ship sailing under the command of Lord High Admiral Sir Cloudisley Shovell of England. He had set sail on September 29th, 1707 with the plan of sailing from Gibraltar to England. Admiral Shovell made the decision to make the almost 30 day journey to England in the 90 gun flagship of the British Navy with over 800 men onboard. They met their fate near the end on October 22, 1707 in a stormy gale that Admiral Shovell decided to press onwards through. She along with 3 other warships and over 20 Men o’war sailed into the storms. No ships made it out safely and over 1800 lives were lost. The next morning the body of Admiral Shovell was found washed up on St. Mary’s Island.

The shipwreck was found around 300 years later along the treacherous rocks of the Isles of Scilly. The HMS Association was carrying coins and valuables belonging to the Coldstream Guards, England, and Admiral Shovell’s personal fortune. This payload had a mixture of personal valuables, Spanish-American 8 reale cobs (hammer-struck piece of eight), and English silver coins minted in Britain.

Hoi An - 15th Century

The Hoi An wreck is often referred to as the Hoi An Hoard for its large amount of ceramics and pottery found onboard. This vessel was a mid to late 15th Century wooden sailing vessel with a full cargo of ceramics from Vietnam. The Vietnamese pottery was famous for being made at the Red River Delta in South Vietnam. It is rare to find any ceramics from this shipwreck still completely or mostly intact.

The Hoi An shipwreck is located approximately 22 miles offshore in the South China Sea which is South of Vietnam. She rested over 500 years at around 230 feet below the surface until fisherman found her in the 1990's. Her approximate location currently is:16.04°N 108.6°E .

Credit: Phoenix Art Museum

Shortly after being discovered by locals and fisherman the site was looted over the coming years and many of her great artifacts were taken. The technique used by those retrieving artifacts was to drag hooks to dislodge the materials and the followed by large nets to catch fragments as they were tossed up. The Vietnamese government attempted to stop the looting, but was ineffective due to being below common safe diving depths. Realizing the need and business opportunity, Chinese businessman Ong Soo Hin decided to organize a team to attempt to recover the wreck. He partnered with Vietnam's National History Museum and Archaeologist Mensun Bound from Oxford University to help. Over the course of three years (salvage seasons) they were able to recover almost 300,000 intact ceramic artifacts that could be sold or displayed in museums. Over 90% of these artifacts were sold to collectors and the rest were on display in Vietnamese museums.

Image Credit: Phoenix Art Museum

Nuestra Senora de Atocha - 1622

Considered one of the most, if not the most, valuable shipwreck. The Nuestra Senora de Atocha was one of many Spanish ships sent to the new world under King Philip IV. This particular ship and its sister sip the Margarita- were sent to the Spanish colonies to collect the vast riches commonly exploited by the European countries at the time.

It was on the return trip from Columbia and Panama, with a stop in Cuba, that the Atocha and Margarita, met their tragic fates. The Atocha, full of such a valuable cargo was desperately needed by the King of Spain to help finance the Thirty Years War. September 4th, 1622, 260 of the 265 lives aboard the Atocha were lost that day along with precious treasures.

Even with 1622 technology, the ship was so valuable, King Philip attempted a recovery. He sent salvagers to the wreck site. Pirates and salvagers alike were only able to recover a few pieces from the Margarita, but the Atocha seemed to be lost forever.

Mel Fisher in 1985, after a long and treacherous search that lasted 16 years and took the lives of three of his crewmen, found the Nuestra Senora de Atocha off the Florida Keys.

The price tag on this find? $400 million dollars made up of 24 tons of silver, gold bars and coins, historical artifacts, and approximately 71 pounds of Columbian emeralds. A later dive around the site unearthed an emerald ring, it alone is appraised at $500,000.

Many of the pieces were sold at auctions to private collector’s- but some remain in the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum.

For further reading we recommend the following online articles:

The World's Most Valuable Shipwreck: The Nuestra Senora de Atocha (

Nuestra Senora de Atocha (

Nuestra Señora de Atocha - Wikipedia

Santa Margarita - 1622

The Santa Margarita was a 600 ton Spanish ship sailing from the New World to Spain. The ship was laden with 25 cannons and carrying treasures plundered in the region back to her home country. She was sailing amongst a fleet of 28 Spanish ships including the well-known Nuestra Senora de Atocha.

The 28-ship fleet set sail from Cuba on September 4, 1622 with their port of call set for Spain. Unknown to the crews, a hurricane had formed that wrecked a large number of the fleet in the Florida Straits along the Marquesas Keys. Five of the 28 ships sank in the storm. 142 passengers and crew of the Santa Margarita drowned that day adding to a total of over 550 people from the entre fleet that drowned in the storm.

The Santa Margarita was carrying all of the following registered items, not including contraband to avoid paying the King of Spain’s 20% tax:

166,574 Silver “Pieces of Eight”

550+ Silver Ingots (Over 10,000 lbs.)

9,000+ lbs. of Gold Bars

Salvage attempts were taken almost immediately by Gaspar de Vargas, a Spanish Mariner skilled with pearl diving. In 1624 Franciso Melian, Cuban Politician, was awarded a salvage contract for the lost ships. He was a skilled inventor and developed a special diving bell that allowed men to have clear vision and breathing while searching. These salvage attempts were deemed unsuccessful due to recovering very few artifacts compared to the registered cargo.

In the 1980’s Mel fisher assembled a team of recovery and archaeological experts to recover the lost shipwreck treasures. The team ended up recovering an estimated value of over $400 million in treasures. The vast majority of the wreck however has never been found.

For further reading we recommend the following online articles:

Santa Margarita (shipwreck) - Wikipedia

Vung Tau - 1690

Like many other shipwrecks in the South China Sea the true name of the vessel is largely unknown. This ship is known by the name Vung Tau due to its current location about 100 miles South of the city of Vung Tau, Vietnam near the island of Con Dao. She was a shipping vessel of Chinese design with Portuguese influences commonly found in the time period of 1690 which are commonly called "Lorcha Boats". These style of ships were commonly used for short distance deliveries. Based upon the analysis of cargo found onboard, it is believed that she was employed by the Dutch East India Company to carry products from China to Jakarta, Indonesia.

The wreck was discovered by fishermen in the 1980's that had pulled of pieces of the ancient cargo in their drag nets. In the 1990's Sverker Hallstrom identified the shipwreck. Over several years of recovery, they were able to salvage 48,288 pieces of Jingdezhen blue-and-white porcelain from the Qing Dynasty. Other artifacts included:



Bamboo Combs



Photo Credit: Christie's

Havana, Cuba

Havana was founded in the sixteenth century displacing Santiago de Cuba as the island's most important city when it became a major port for Atlantic shipping, particularly the Spanish treasure fleet.[1]

Founding of Havana

Havana was first visited by Spaniards during Sebastián de Ocampo's circumnavigation of the island in 1509.[2] In 1510, the first Spanish colonists arrived from the island of Hispaniola and began the conquest of Cuba. Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar founded San Cristóbal de la Habana on August 25, 1514 or 1515, on the southern coast of the island, near the present town of Surgidero de Batabanó, or more likely on the banks of the Mayabeque River close to Playa Mayabeque. All attempts to found a city on Cuba's south coast failed, however, an early map of Cuba drawn in 1514 places the town at the mouth of this river.[3][4](in Spanish). Between 1514 and 1519, the city had two different establishments on the north coast, one of them in La Chorrera, today in the neighborhood of Puentes Grandes, next to the Almendares River. Havana's present location is adjacent to what was then called Puerto de Carenas, in 1519. The quality of this natural bay, now the site of Havana's harbor, warranted this change of location. Bartolomé de las Casas wrote: of the ships, or both, had the need of careening, which is to renew or mend the parts that travel under the water, and to put tar and wax in them, and entered the port we now call Havana, and there they careened so the port was called de Carenas. This bay is very good and can host many ships, which I visited few years after the Discovery... few are in Spain, or elsewhere in the world, that are their equal...[2]

This superb harbor at the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico with easy access to the Gulf Stream, the main ocean current that navigators followed when traveling from the Americas to Europe, led to Havana's early development as the principal port of Spain's New World colonies. This final establishment is commemorated by El Templete.

Havana was the sixth town founded by the Spanish on the island, called San Cristóbal de la Habana by Pánfilo de Narváez: the name combines San Cristóbal, patron saint of Havana, and Habana, of obscure origin, possibly derived from Habaguanex, a Native American chief who controlled that area, as mentioned by Diego Velasquez in his report to the king of Spain. Shortly after the founding of Cuba's first cities, the island served as little more than a base for expeditions of exploration, conquest, and settlement of other lands. Hernán Cortés organized his expedition to Mexico from the island. Cuba, during the first years of the Discovery, provided no immediate wealth to the conquistadores, as it was poor in gold, silver and precious stones, and many of its settlers moved to the more promising lands of Mexico and South America that were being discovered and colonized at the time. The legends of Eldorado and the Seven Cities of Gold attracted many adventurers from Spain, and also from the adjacent colonies, leaving Havana and the rest of Cuba largely unpopulated.

Pirates and the Spanish Treasure Fleet

Havana was originally a trading port, and suffered regular attacks by buccaneers, pirates, and French corsairs. The first attack and resultant burning of the city was by the French corsair Jacques de Sores in 1555. The pirate took Havana easily, plundering the city and burning much of it to the ground. De Sores left without obtaining the enormous wealth he was hoping to find in Havana. Such attacks convinced the Spanish Crown to fund the construction of the first fortresses in the main cities — not only to counteract the pirates and corsairs, but also to exert more control over commerce with the West Indies, and to limit the extensive contrabando (black market) that had arisen due to the trade restrictions imposed by the Casa de Contratación of Seville (the crown-controlled trading house that held a monopoly on New World trade).

To counteract pirate attacks on galleon convoys headed for Spain while loaded with New World treasures, the Spanish crown decided to protect its ships by concentrating them in one large fleet, the Spanish treasure fleet, which would traverse the Atlantic Ocean as a group. A single merchant fleet could more easily be protected by the Spanish Armada or Navy. Following a royal decree in 1561, all ships headed for Spain were required to assemble this fleet in the Havana Bay. Ships arrived from May through August, waiting for the best weather conditions, and together, the fleet departed Havana for Spain by September.

This naturally boosted commerce and development of the adjacent city of Havana (a humble villa at the time). Goods traded in Havana included gold, silver, alpaca wool from the Andes, emeralds from Colombia, mahoganies from Cuba and Guatemala, leather from the Guajira, spices, sticks of dye from Campeche, corn, manioc, and cocoa. Ships from all over the New World carried products first to Havana, in order to be taken by the fleet to Spain. The thousands of ships gathered in the city's bay also fueled Havana's agriculture and manufacture, since they had to be supplied with food, water, and other products needed to traverse the ocean. In 1563, the Capitán General (the Spanish Governor of the island) moved his residence from Santiago de Cuba to Havana, by reason of that city's newly gained wealth and importance, thus unofficially sanctioning its status as capital of the island.

On December 20, 1592, King Philip II of Spain granted Havana the title of City (ciudad). Later on, the city would be officially designated as "Key to the New World and Rampart of the West Indies" by the Spanish crown. In the meantime, efforts to build or improve the defensive infrastructures of the city continued. The San Salvador de la Punta castle guarded the west entrance of the bay, while the Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro guarded the eastern entrance. The Castillo de la Real Fuerza defended the city's center, and doubled as the Governor's residence until a more comfortable palace was built. Two other defensive towers, La Chorrera and San Lázaro were also built in this period..

17th–18th Centuries

Havana expanded greatly in the 17th century. New buildings were constructed from the most abundant materials of the island, mainly wood, combining various Iberian architectural styles, as well as borrowing profusely from Canarian characteristics. During this period the city also built civic monuments and religious constructions. The convent of St Augustin, El Morro Castle, the chapel of the Humilladero, the fountain of Dorotea de la Luna in La Chorrera, the church of the Holy Angel, the hospital de San Lazaro, the monastery of Santa Teresa and the convent of San Felipe Neri were completed in this era.

In 1649 a fatal epidemic, brought from Cartagena in Colombia, affected a third of the population of Havana. On November 30, 1665, Queen Mariana of Austria, widow of King Philip IV of Spain, ratified the heraldic shield of Cuba, which took as its symbolic motifs the first three castles of Havana: the Real Fuerza, the Tres Santos Reyes Magos del Morro and San Salvador de la Punta. The shield also displayed a symbolic golden key to represent the title "Key to the Gulf". On 1674, the works for the City Walls were started, as part of the fortification efforts. They would be completed by 1740.

By the middle of the 18th century Havana had more than seventy thousand inhabitants, and was the third-largest city in the Americas, ranking behind Lima and Mexico City but ahead of Boston and New York.[5]

British Occupation

The city was captured by the British during the Seven Years' War. The episode began on June 6, 1762, when at dawn, a British fleet, comprising more than 50 ships and a combined force of over 11,000 men of the Royal Navy and Army, sailed into Cuban waters and made an amphibious landing east of Havana.[6] The British seized the heights known as La Punta on the east side of the harbor and commenced a bombardment of nearby El Morro Castle, as well as the city itself. After a two-month siege,[7] El Morro was attacked and taken, only after the death of the brave defender Luis Vicente de Velasco e Isla, on 30 July 1762. The city formally surrendered on 13 August.[6] It was subsequently governed by Sir George Keppel on behalf of Great Britain. Although the British only lost 560 men to combat injuries during the siege, more than half their forces ultimately died due to illness, yellow fever in particular.[8]

The British immediately opened up trade with their North American and Caribbean colonies, causing a rapid transformation of Cuban society.[7][8] Though Havana, which had become the third largest city in the new world, was to enter an era of sustained development and strengthening ties with North America, the British occupation was not to last. Pressure from London by sugar merchants fearing a decline in sugar prices forced a series of negotiations with the Spanish over colonial territories. Less than a year after Havana was seized, the Treaty of Paris (1763) was signed by the three warring powers thus ending the Seven Years' War. The treaty gave Britain Florida in exchange for the city of Havana on the recommendation of the French, who advised that declining the offer could result in Spain losing Mexico and much of the South American mainland to the British.[7]

After regaining the city, the Spanish transformed Havana into the most heavily fortified city in the Americas. Construction began on what was to become the Fortress of San Carlos de la Cabaña, the biggest Spanish fortification in the New World. The work extended for eleven years and was enormously costly, but on completion the fort was considered an unassailable bastion and essential to Havana's defence. It was provided with a large number of cannons forged in Barcelona. Other fortifications were constructed, as well: the castle of Atarés defended the Shipyard in the inner bay, while the castle of El Príncipe guarded the city from the west. Several cannon batteries located along the bay's canal (among them the San Nazario and Doce Apóstoles batteries) ensured that no place in the harbor remained undefended.

The Havana Cathedral was constructed in 1748 as a Jesuit church, and converted in 1777 into the Parroquial Mayor church, after the Suppression of the Jesuits in Spanish territory in 1767. In 1788, it formally became a cathedral. Between 1789 and 1790 Cuba was apportioned into an individual diocese by the Roman Catholic Church. On January 15, 1796, the remains of Christopher Columbus were transported to the island from Santo Domingo. They rested here until 1898, when they were transferred to Seville's cathedral, after Spain's loss of Cuba.

Havana's shipyard (named El Arsenal) was extremely active, thanks to the lumber resources available in the vicinity of the city. The Santísima Trinidad was the largest warship of her time. Launched in 1769, she was about 62 metres (203 ft) long, had three decks and 120 cannons. She was later upgraded to as many as 144 cannons and four decks. She sank following the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. This ship cost 40,000 pesos fuertes of the time, which gives an idea of the importance of the Arsenal, by comparing its cost to the 26 million pesos fuertes and 109 ships produced during the Arsenal's existence.[9]

19th Century

As trade between Caribbean and North American states increased in the early 19th century, Havana became a flourishing and fashionable city. Havana's theaters featured the most distinguished actors of the age, and prosperity amongst the burgeoning middle-class led to expensive new classical mansions being erected. During this period Havana became known as the Paris of the Antilles.

The 19th century opened with the arrival in Havana of Alexander von Humboldt, who was impressed by the vitality of the port. In 1837, the first railroad was constructed, a 51 km stretch between Havana and Bejucal, which was used for transporting sugar from the Valle de Güines to the harbor. With this, Cuba became the fifth country in the world to have a railroad, and the first Spanish-speaking country. Throughout the century, Havana was enriched by the construction of additional cultural facilities, such as the Tacon Teatre, one of the most luxurious in the world, the Artistic and Literary Liceo (Lyceum) and the theater Coliseo (Colosseum). The fact that slavery was legal in Cuba until 1886 led to interest from the American South, including a plan by the Knights of the Golden Circle to create a 'Golden Circle' with a 1200 mile-radius centered on Havana. After the Confederate States of America were defeated in the American Civil War in 1865, many former slaveholders continued to run plantations by moving to Havana.

In 1863, the city walls were knocked down so that the metropolis could be enlarged. At the end of the century, the well-off classes moved to the quarter of Vedado. Later, they emigrated towards Miramar, and today, evermore to the west, they have settled in Siboney. At the end of the 19th century, Havana witnessed the final moments of Spanish colonialism in America, which ended definitively when the United States warship Maine was sunk in its port, giving that country the pretext to invade the island. The 20th century began with Havana, and therefore Cuba, under occupation by the USA. In 1906 the Bank of Nova Scotia opened the first branch in Havana, Cuba. By 1931 it had three branches in Havana.

1-Alejandro de la Fuente, Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 2008.
2-(in Spanish) Historia de la Construcción Naval en Cuba Archived 2007-05-08 at the Wayback Machine
3-(in Spanish) Fundación de La Habana a orillas del Río Onicajinal o Mayabeque
4-San Cristobal de La Habana en el Sur
5-Thomas, Hugh: Cuba, A pursuit of freedom, 2nd Edition, p. 1.
6-Pocock, Tom: Battle for Empire: The very first world war 1756–63. Chapter Six.
7-Thomas, Hugh: Cuba: The Pursuit of Freedom 2nd edition.
8-Gott, Richard (2004). Cuba: A new history. Yale University Press. pp. 39–41.
9-"Arquitextos – Periódico mensal de textos de arquitetura". Archived from the original on 2009-08-01. Retrieved 2011-07-10.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article <a href="">"Metasyntactic_variable"</a>, which is released under the <a href="">Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0</a>.

Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta, Indonesia has long sustained human settlements since the 4th Century. Jakarta began as a Hindu port city. Over the centuries Jakarta has been under the control of many governments in the following order: Indianized kingdom of Tarumanegara, the Hindu Kingdom of Sunda, the Muslim Sultanate of Banten, as well as Dutch, Japanese, and Indonesian control. Throughout these times of changing government control, Jakarta has also been known as Sunda Kelapa, Jayakarta, Djajakarta, and Jacatra. Jakarta became known as Batavia during the large economic growth period from 1619 - 1799 as the port city was used as a major Eastern trading post by the Dutch East India Company. The Dutch government took control of Batavia in 1808 and ruled through 1942. During the times of Dutch control the city served as the capital of the Dutch East Indies. In 1945 Japan took control during World War II and maintained occupation until 1950 when Indonesia became their own country.

Photo Credit: World Digital Library

Lake Ladoga, Russia

Most people have never heard of Lake Ladoga, but a millennium ago it was rich with Viking civilizations. Lake Ladoga is located in Northwestern Russia just outside of Saint Petersburg and also not far from the border of Finland to the North. To the West lies the Gulf of Finland which allowed sailing access to the region from the Baltic Sea. Lake Ladoga's size should not be overlooked as it is the largest freshwater lake in Europe and the 14th largest in the world. This sizeable freshwater resource would serve as a critical resource. Due to the location having limited access and the lake serving as a source of fresh water it made a great location for ancient Viking communities.  

The first settlers of this area were Norse people that founded the settlement of Aldeigjuborg along the shores of Lake Ladoga in the 7th Century. As the area became more critical for trade between Northern Europe and the rest of the world, Vikings began to move in during the early 8th Century. This new Viking territory became known as Staraia Ladoga and was ruled by Swedish Viking Rurik. This functioned as a large Viking operating base and lasted for about a Century until Rurik decided to move their operations to Novgorod (South of Saint Petersburg and Kiev).  

Many artifacts are still recovered to this day from areas around the lake, several islands within it, and the settlement of Staraia Ladoga.

For further reading we recommend the following online articles:

Lake Ladoga - Wikipedia

The Nordic Warriors: 5 Places that Reveal the Secret History of the Vikings (

Photo Credit: The Nordic Warriors: 5 Places that Reveal the Secret History of the Vikings (

Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau was established in 1670 by British Noblemen but was not named Nassau. To commemorate the event they built a fort called Charles Town, named after King Charles II, to protect the city. The Spanish attacked the city and was burned to the ground in 1684 and rebuilt in 1695. After a brief period of being called Charles Town, new Governor Nicholas Trott renamed the city Nassau after the German town and in honor of William of Orange. Nassau has kept this name ever since that day.

Nassau, the small island port southeast of Florida, has played a major role in the maritime history of English, British, Spanish, French, and Dutch cultures. The years 1690-1720 are known as the Golden Age of Piracy and Nassau became a major pirate-friendly port during this time. The Nassau piracy age began in 1696, after its rebuilding, when Privateer Henry Every sailed into the harbor and bribed the governor with gold, silver, gunpowder, elephant tusks, and his ship The Fancy. As more and more privateers came to Nassau, the English slowly left and the privateers turned to pirates as the city had no official order after 1703. The pirates took control of the city and established their Republic of Pirates and elected Governors. During this time of unruly chaos they were attacked by the Spanish-Franco Fleet in 1703 and 1706 to no avail. As the War of Spanish Succession was coming to an end in 1713 many of the British Privateers refused to accept the news and continued to plunder Spanish ships and villages. It was at this point that the Republic of Pirates elected Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard, to be their Magistrate. Under his leadership the pirates began attacking British ships. George I placed a bounty and called for all pirates to be arrested or killed after the British Navy failed to eradicate them in the Bahamas due to the shallow waters pirates were able to flee into with their small-fast ships. George I named Woodes Rogers as the Governor of Nassau who them showed up with seven ships and pardons for whomever turned themselves in and stopped being pirates. Those who turned themselves in were turned into pirate hunters. Piracy was not over but order was restored and the English regained control of Nassau, Bahamas.

For further reading we recommend the following online articles:

Pirates of Nassau | Pirates of The Bahamas

Nassau, Bahamas - Wikipedia

Photo Credit: A Brief History of Pirates in the Bahamas (

Port Royal, Jamaica

Port Royal is a village located at the end of the Palisades at the mouth of Kingston Harbour, in southeastern Jamaica. Founded in 1494 by the Spanish, it was once the largest city in the Caribbean, functioning as the centre of shipping and commerce in the Caribbean Sea by the latter half of the 17th century.[1] It was destroyed by an earthquake on 7 June 1692, which had an accompanying tsunami. Severe hurricanes have regularly damaged it. Another severe earthquake occurred in 1907.

Port Royal was once home to privateers who were encouraged to attack Habsburg Spain's vessels at a time when smaller European powers dared not make war on Spain directly. As a port city, it was notorious for its gaudy displays of wealth and loose morals. It was a popular homeport for the English and Dutch-sponsored privateers to spend their treasure during the 17th century. When those governments abandoned the practice of issuing letters of marque to privateers against the Spanish treasure fleets and possessions in the later 16th century, many of the crews turned pirate. They continued to use the city as their main base during the 17th century. Pirates from around the world congregated at Port Royal, coming from waters as far away as Madagascar.

After the 1692 disaster, Port Royal's commercial role was steadily taken over by the nearby town (and later, city) of Kingston. Plans were developed in 1999 to redevelop the small fishing town as a heritage tourism destination to serve cruise ships. Thoughts were that it could capitalize on its unique heritage, with archaeological findings from pre-colonial and privateering years as the basis of possible attractions.[1]

Colonisation of Port Royal

Taino People
The Taino Native Americans occupied this area for centuries before European settlement. They used the area, which they called Caguay or Caguaya,[2] during their fishing expeditions. Although it is not known whether they ever settled at the spot, they did inhabit other parts of Jamaica.[3]

The Spanish first landed in Jamaica in 1494 under the leadership of Christopher Columbus. Permanent settlement occurred when Juan de Esquivel brought a group of settlers in 1509. They came in search of new lands and valuable resources, like gold and silver. Instead they began to cultivate and process the sugar cane. Much like the Taino before them, the Spanish did not appear to have much use for the Port Royal area. They did, however, retain its Taino name.[2]

Spain kept control of Jamaica mostly so that it could prevent other countries from gaining access to the island, which was strategically situated within the trade routes of the Caribbean. Spain maintained control over the island for 146 years, until the English took control following their invasion of 1655.

The town was captured by England in 1655 during the invasion of Jamaica.[3][4] By 1659 two hundred houses, shops and warehouses had been built around the fort; by 1692 five forts defended the port.[5]

The English initially called the place Cagway but soon renamed it as Port Royal.[2] For much of the period between the English conquest and the 1692 earthquake, Port Royal served as the unofficial capital of Jamaica, while Spanish Town remained the official capital. In 1872 the government designated Kingston, the largest city, as the capital.[5]

Defence of the Port

In 1657, as a solution to his defence concerns, Governor Edward D'Oley invited the Brethren of the Coast to come to Port Royal and make it their home port. The Brethren was made up of a group of pirates who were descendants of cattle-hunting boucaniers (later anglicized to buccaneers), who had turned to piracy after being robbed by the Spanish (and subsequently thrown out of Hispaniola).[4] These pirates concentrated their attacks on Spanish shipping, whose interests were considered the major threat to the town.

These pirates later became legal English privateers who were given letters of marque by Jamaica's governor. Around the same time that pirates were invited to Port Royal, England launched a series of attacks against Spanish shipping vessels and coastal towns. By sending the newly appointed privateers after Spanish ships and settlements, England had successfully set up a system of defence for Port Royal. Spain was forced to continually defend their property, and did not have the means with which to retake its land.[4]

17th-century economy
Spain could not retake the island and, due to pirates, could no longer regularly provide their colonies in the New World with manufactured goods. The progressive irregularity of annual Spanish fleets, combined with an increasing demand by colonies for manufactured goods, stimulated the growth of Port Royal. Merchants and privateers worked together in what is now referred to as "forced trade." Merchants would sponsor trading endeavors with the Spanish, while also sponsoring privateers to attack Spanish ships and rob Spanish coastal towns.[4] While the merchants most certainly had the upper hand, the privateers were an integral part of the operation.

Nuala Zahedieh, a lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, wrote, "Both opponents and advocates of so-called 'forced trade' declared the town's fortune had the dubious distinction of being founded entirely on the servicing of the privateers' needs and highly lucrative trade in prize commodities."[6] She added, "A report that the 300 men who accompanied Henry Morgan to Portobello in 1668 returned to the town with a prize to spend of at least £60 each (two or three times the usual annual plantation wage) leaves little doubt that they were right".[6]

The forced trade became almost a way of life in Port Royal. Michael Pawson and David Busseret wrote " way or the other nearly all the propertied inhabitants of Port Royal seem to have an interest in privateering."[7] Forced trade was rapidly making Port Royal one of the wealthiest communities in the English territories of North America, far surpassing any profit made from the production of sugar cane. Zahedieh wrote, "The Portobello raid [in 1668] alone produced plunder worth £75,000, more than seven times the annual value of the island’s sugar exports, which at Port Royal prices did not exceed £10,000 at this time."[6]

Port Royal has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen climate classification Aw) with a short dry season from January to April and a lengthy wet season from May to October. Temperatures remain steady throughout the year with the dry season being slightly cooler and range from 25.5 °C (77.9 °F) in January to 27.7 °C (81.9 °F) in May. The average annual precipitation is 1,345 millimetres (53 in).[8]

Piracy in Port Royal

An 18th-century pirate flag (Calico Jack Rackham).
Port Royal provided a safe harbour initially for privateers and subsequently for pirates plying the shipping lanes to and from Spain and Panama. Buccaneers found Port Royal appealing for several reasons. Its proximity to trade routes allowed them easy access to prey, but the most important advantage was the port's proximity to several of the only safe passages or straits giving access to the Spanish Main from the Atlantic.[5] The harbour was large enough to accommodate their ships and provided a place to careen and repair these vessels. It was also ideally situated for launching raids on Spanish settlements. From Port Royal, Christopher Myngs sacked Campeche and Henry Morgan attacked Panama, Portobello, and Maracaibo. Additionally, buccaneers Roche Brasiliano, John Davis and Edward Mansvelt used Port Royal as a base of operations.

Since the English lacked sufficient troops to prevent either the Spanish or French from seizing it, the Jamaican governors eventually turned to the pirates to defend the city.[9] By the 1660s the city had, for some, become a pirate utopia and had gained a reputation as the "Sodom of the New World", where most residents were pirates, cutthroats, or prostitutes. When Charles Leslie wrote his history of Jamaica, he included a description of the pirates of Port Royal:

Wine and women drained their wealth to such a degree that [...] some of them became reduced to beggary. They have been known to spend 2 or 3,000 pieces of eight in one night; and one gave a strumpet 500 to see her naked.[10] They used to buy a pipe of wine, place it in the street, and oblige everyone that passed to drink.

The taverns of Port Royal were known for their excessive consumption of alcohol such that records even exist of the wild animals of the area partaking in the debauchery. During a passing visit, famous Dutch explorer Jan van Riebeeck is said to have described the scenes:

The parrots of Port Royal gather to drink from the large stocks of ale with just as much alacrity as the drunks that frequent the taverns that serve it.

There is even speculation in pirate folklore that the infamous Blackbeard (Edward Teach) met a howler monkey, while at leisure in a Port Royal alehouse, whom he named Jefferson and formed a strong bond with during the expedition to the island of New Providence. Recent genealogical research indicates that Blackbeard and his family moved to Jamaica where Edward Thatch, Jr. is listed as being a mariner in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Windsor in 1706.[11] Port Royal benefited from this lively, glamorous infamy and grew to be one of the two largest towns and the most economically important port in the English colonies. At the height of its popularity, the city had one drinking house for every 10 residents. In July 1661 alone, 40 new licenses were granted to taverns. During a 20-year period that ended in 1692, nearly 6,500 people lived in Port Royal. In addition to prostitutes and buccaneers, there were four goldsmiths, 44 tavern keepers, and a variety of artisans and merchants who lived in 2,000 buildings crammed into 51 acres (21 ha) of real estate. 213 ships visited the seaport in 1688. The city's wealth was so great that coins were preferred for payment over the more common system of bartering goods for services.

Following Henry Morgan's appointment as lieutenant governor, Port Royal began to change. Pirates were no longer needed to defend the city. The selling of slaves took on greater importance. Upstanding citizens disliked the reputation the city had acquired. In 1687, Jamaica passed anti-piracy laws. Consequently, instead of being a safe haven for pirates, Port Royal became noted as their place of execution. Gallows Point welcomed many to their death, including Charles Vane and Calico Jack, who were hanged in 1720. About five months later, the famous woman pirate Mary Read died in the Jamaican prison in Port Royal. Two years later, 41 pirates met their death in one month.[12]

The Royal Navy in Port Royal

Under British rule the Royal Navy made use of a careening wharf at Port Royal and rented a building on the foreshore to serve as a storehouse. From 1675, a resident Naval Officer was appointed to oversee these facilities;[13] however, development was cut short by the 1692 earthquake. After the earthquake, an attempt was made to establish a naval base at Port Antonio instead, but the climate there proved disagreeable. From 1735, Port Royal once more became the focus of the Admiralty's attention. New wharves and storehouses were built at this time, as well as housing for the officers of the Yard. Over the next thirty years, more facilities were added: cooperages, workshops, sawpits, and accommodation (including a canteen) for the crews of ships being careened there.[14] A Royal Naval Hospital was also established on land a little to the west of the Naval Yard; and by the end of the 18th century a small Victualling Yard had been added to the east (prior to this ships had had to go to Kingston and other settlements to take on supplies).[14]

At the start of the 19th century, a significant amount of rebuilding took place in what was by now a substantial Royal Navy Dockyard serving the fleet in the Caribbean. A sizeable storehouse with a clocktower formed the centrepiece, with a covered way leading from it to the careening wharves. The adjacent Port Admiral's (later Commodore's) House included a watch tower, to counter the threat of privateers. The Yard continued to expand to meet the new requirements of steam-powered vessels: the victualling wharf became a coaling depot in the 1840s, and twenty years later a small engineering complex was built.[14] The Yard continued to expand through to the beginning of the 20th century, but then (with the Admiralty focusing more and more on the situation in Europe) the Navy withdrew from its station in Jamaica and the Dockyard closed in 1905.

Many of the Dockyard buildings (most of which were of timber construction) were subsequently demolished or destroyed (some in the 1907 Kingston earthquake, others by Hurricane Charlie in 1951).[15] A few remain in place, however, including the Naval Hospital complex, some of the steam engineering buildings and a set of officers' houses.[16] There is also a slipway, completed as late as 1904, which (with its accompanying sheds) was designed for housing and launching torpedo boats, stationed there for the Yard's protection. In 2014, it was announced that some of the Historic Naval Hospital buildings would be restored to house a museum as part of a broader Port Royal Heritage Tourism Project.[17]

Earthquake of 1692 and its aftermath

Old map of Port Royal. Light section at top and going down toward the right is the part of the city lost in the 1692 earthquake; slightly shaded middle section, the part of the city that was flooded; darkly shaded bottom section is the part of the city that survived.

The town grew rapidly, reaching a population of around 6,500 people and approximately 2,000 dwellings, by 1692. As land on which to build diminished, it became common practice to either fill in areas of water and build new infrastructure on top of it, or simply build buildings taller. Buildings gradually became heavier as the residents adopted the brick style homes of their native England. Some[who?] urged the population to adopt the low, wooden building style of the previous Spanish inhabitants, but many refused. In the end, all of these separate factors contributed to the impending disaster.

The Fortress
On 7 June 1692, a devastating earthquake hit the city causing most of its northern section to be lost – and with it many of the town's houses and other buildings. Many of the forts were destroyed, as well; Fort Charles survived, but Forts James and Carlisle sank into the sea, Fort Rupert became a large region of water, and great damage was done to an area known as Morgan's Line.[3]

Although the earthquake hit the entire island of Jamaica, the citizens of Port Royal were at a greater risk of death due to the perilous sand, falling buildings, and the tsunami that followed. Though the local authorities tried to remove or sink all of the corpses from the water, they were unsuccessful; some simply got away from them, while others were trapped in places that were inaccessible. Improper housing, a lack of medicine or clean water, and the fact that most of the survivors were homeless led to many people dying of malignant fevers.[18] The earthquake and tsunami killed between 1,000 and 3,000 people combined, nearly half the city's population.[citation needed] Disease ran rampant in the next several months, claiming an estimated 2,000 additional lives.[19]

The historical Jamaica earthquake of 7 June 1692 can be dated closely not only by date, but by time of day as well. This is documented by recovery from the sea floor in the 1960s of a pocket watch stopped at 11:43 a.m., recording the time of the devastating earthquake.[20][21][22]

The earthquake caused the sand under Port Royal to liquefy and flow out into Kingston Harbour. The water table was generally only two feet down before the impact, and the town was built on a layer of some 65 feet (20 m) of water-saturated sand. This type of area did not provide a solid foundation on which to build an entire town. Unlike the Spanish before them, the English had decided to settle and develop the small area of land, even while acknowledging that the area was nothing but "hot loose sand".[23]

According to Mulcahy, "[Modern] scientists and underwater archaeologists now believe that the earthquake was a powerful one and that much of the damage at Port Royal resulted from a process known as liquefaction."[23] Liquefaction occurs when earthquakes strike ground that is loose, sandy, and water-saturated, increasing the water pressure and causing the particles to separate from one another and form a sludge resembling quicksand. Eyewitness accounts attested to buildings sliding into the water, but it is likely some simply sank straight down into the now unstable layer.[23]

Underwater archeology, some of which can be seen in the National Geographic Channel show Wicked Pirate City, reveals the foundations of building underwater, showing there was subsidence, as do comparisons of post-earthquake maps and pre-earthquake maps.

Some attempts were made to rebuild the city, starting with the one third that was not submerged, but these met with mixed success and numerous disasters. An initial attempt at rebuilding was again destroyed in 1703 by fire. Subsequent rebuilding was hampered by several hurricanes in the first half of the 18th century, including flooding from the sea in 1722, a further fire in 1750, and a major hurricane in 1774, and soon Kingston eclipsed Port Royal in importance. In 1815, what repairs were being undertaken were destroyed in another major fire, while the whole island was severely affected by an epidemic of cholera in 1850.

1-Davis, Nick (25 July 2012). "Jamaica's 'wickedest city' Port Royal banks on heritage". BBC News.
2-Higman, B W; Hudson, B J (2009). Jamaican Place Names (Softcover) (1st ed.). Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-976-640-217-4.
3-Michael Pawson and David Buisseret, Port Royal, Jamaica (London: Oxford University Press, 1975).
4-Donny L. Hamilton, "Pirates and Merchants: Port Royal, Jamaica," in X Marks the Spot: The Archaeology of Piracy, ed. Russell K. Skowronek and Charles R. Ewen, 13–30 (Gainesville, Florida: University 5-Press of Florida, 2006).
5-Sin City Jamaica. 26 December 1998. History Channel.
6-Nuala Zahedieh, "Trade, Plunder, and Economic Development in Early English Jamaica, 1655–89," The Economic History Review 39, no. 2 (1986): 205–222.
7-Michael Pawson and David Buisseret, Port Royal, Jamaica (Kingston: University of the West Indies Press, 2000).
8-"Climate Summary for Port Royal". Weatherbase. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
9-Breverton, Terry (2005). Admiral Sir Henry Morgan: "king of the Buccaneers". Pelican Publishing. ISBN 1455600148.
10-The original source of this story is Alexandre Exquemelin's History of the Bouccaneers of America. The original text adds: "yes, and many other impieties", so "see her naked" is a euphemism for sex.
11-Brooks, Baylus C. (2015). Blackbeard Reconsidered – Mist's Piracy, Thache's Genealogy. North Carolina Office of Archives and History. pp. 20–22. ISBN 978-0-86526-479-3.
12-Cindy Vallar. "Notorious Pirate Havens Part 4: Port Royal". Pirates and Privateers – The History of Maritime Piracy. Retrieved 20 September 2008.
13-"Royal Museums Greenwich research guide".
14-Coad, Jonathan (2013). Support for the Fleet: architecture and engineering of the Royal Navy's bases 1700–1914. Swindon: English Heritage.
15-"Jamaica National Heritage Trust".
16-"Jamaica National Heritage Trust".
17-"Jamaica Information Service".
18-Pawson, Michael & Buisseret, David (1975). Port Royal, Jamaica. London: Oxford University Press.
19-"Eye Witness Account of Port Royal 1692 Earthquake".
20-"Historic Earthquakes". Archived from the original on April 20, 2008. Retrieved April 9, 2008.
21-frozen hands on a retrieved watch, the first time in history archaeologists have an (nearly) exact time for an earthquake.
22-History Channel. Ancient Almanac.
23-Mulcahy, Matthew (2008). "The Port Royal Earthquake and the World of Wonders in Seventeenth-Century Jamaica". Early American Studies. 6 (2): 391–422. doi:10.1353/eam.0.0009. S2CID 143938077.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article <a href="">"Metasyntactic_variable"</a>, which is released under the <a href="">Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0</a>.

Tortuga (Haiti)

Tortuga Island[1][2] (French: Île de la Tortue, IPA: [il də la tɔʁty]; Haitian Creole: Latòti; Spanish: Isla Tortuga, IPA: [ˈisla torˈtuɣa], Turtle Island) is a Caribbean island that forms part of Haiti, off the northwest coast of Hispaniola. It constitutes the commune of Île de la Tortue in the Port-de-Paix arrondissement of the Nord-Ouest department of Haiti.

Tortuga is 180 square kilometres (69 square miles)[3] in size and had a population of 25,936 at the 2003 Census. In the 17th century, Tortuga was a major center and haven of Caribbean piracy. Its tourist industry and reference in many works has made it one of the most recognized regions of Haiti.


The first Europeans to land on Tortuga were the Spanish in 1492 during the first voyage of Christopher Columbus into the New World. On December 6, 1492, three Spanish ships entered the "Windward Passage" that separates Cuba and Haiti. At sunrise, Columbus noticed an island whose contours emerged from the morning mist. Because the shape reminded him of a turtle's shell, he chose the name of Tortuga.[4][5][6]

Tortuga was originally settled by a few Spanish colonists. In 1625, French and English settlers arrived on the island of Tortuga after initially planning to settle on the island of Hispaniola. The French and English settlers were attacked in 1629 by the Spanish commanded by Don Fadrique de Toledo, who fortified the island, and expelled the French and English. As most of the Spanish army left for Hispaniola to root out French colonists there, the French returned in 1630 to occupy the fort and expanded the Spanish-built fortifications.

From 1630 onward, the island of Tortuga was divided into French and English colonies, allowing buccaneers to use the island as their main base of operations. In 1633, the first slaves were imported from Africa to aid in the plantations. However, by 1635 the use of slaves had ended. The slaves were said to be out of control on the island, while at the same time there had been continuous disagreements and fighting between French and English colonies.

In 1635 Spain recaptured Tortuga from the English and French, expelled them and left. As they soon returned, Spain conquered the English and French colonies for a second time, only to leave again because the island was too small to be of major importance. This allowed the return of both French and English pirates. In 1638, the Spanish returned for a third time to take the island and rid it of all French and the newly settled Dutch. They occupied the island, but were expelled by the French and Dutch colonists in 1640, at which time the French built Fort de Rocher in a natural harbour; the fort enabled the French to defeat a Spanish invasion force the following year.

By 1640, the buccaneers of Tortuga were calling themselves the Brethren of the Coast. The pirate population was mostly made up of French and Englishmen, along with a small number of Dutchmen. In 1654, the Spanish captured the island for the fourth and last time.[7]

In 1655 Tortuga was reoccupied by English and French interlopers under Elias Watts, who secured a commission from Col. William Brayne, acting as military Governor on Jamaica, to serve as "Governor" of Tortuga. In 1660 the English appointed a Frenchman Jeremie Dechamps as Governor who proclaimed the King of France, set up French colours, and defeated several English attempts to reclaim the island.[8]

By 1670 the buccaneer era was in decline, and many of the pirates turned to log cutting and wood trading as a new income source. At this time a Welsh privateer named Henry Morgan started to promote himself and invited the pirates on the island of Tortuga to set sail under him. They were hired by the French as a striking force that allowed France to have a much stronger hold on the Caribbean region. Consequently, the pirates never really controlled the island and kept Tortuga as a neutral hideout for pirate booty.

In 1680, new Acts of Parliament forbade sailing under foreign flags (in opposition to former practice). This was a major legal blow to the Caribbean pirates. Settlements were made in the Treaty of Ratisbon of 1684, signed by the European powers, that put an end to piracy. Most of the pirates after this time were hired out into the Royal services to suppress their former buccaneer allies. The capital of the French Colony of Saint-Domingue was moved from Tortuga to Port-de-Paix on the mainland of Hispaniola in 1676.


The island of Tortuga stands off the northern coast of Haiti. It is very mountainous and rocky; the rocks are especially abundant on the northern part of the island. At the beginning of the 17th century, the population lived on the southern coast of the island, where there was a port for ships to enter. The northern shore was described as inaccessible via both land and sea.

The inhabited area was divided into four parts; the first of these was called "Low Land" or "Low Country." This region contained the island's port and was therefore considered the most important. The town was called Cayona, and the richest planters of the island lived there. The second region was called the "Middle Plantation"; the farmers of this region were unfamiliar with the soil and it was only used to grow tobacco. The third part was named "La Ringot," and was positioned on the western portion of the island. The fourth region was called the "La Montagne" (the Mountain); it is there that the first cultivated plantations were established upon the island.

This 17th century geography is known largely from Alexandre-Olivier Exquemelin's detailed description in his book "Zeerovers,"[11] where he describes a 1666 journey to the island.

1-United States, Hydrographic Office (1891). "Catalogue of Charts, Plans, Sailing Directions, and Other Publications of the Office, July 1, 1891". p. 34. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
2-Royal Geographical Society (Great Britain); Shaw, Norton; Greenfield, Hume; Bates, Henry Walter (1834). "The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society". p. 130. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
3-Schutt-Ainé, Patricia (1994). Haiti: A Basic Reference Book. Miami, Florida: Librairie Au Service de la Culture. p. 20. ISBN 0-9638599-0-0.
4-"Ile de la tortue, Histoire. Petite histoire de l'île de la tortue". Villa Camp Mandingue. Haiti. Archived from the original on 28 October 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
5-"Cristóbal Colón en La Española". Amautacuna de Historia. 2010-10-24.
6-"Diario de a bordo del primer viaje de Cristóbal Colón: texto completo. 6 de Diciembre". Wikisource. 1492. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
7-The Buccaneers In The West Indies In The XVII Century - Chapter IV
8-The Buccaneers In The West Indies In The XVII Century - Chapter IV
9-U.S. Haiti The Lighthouse Directory. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved 20 January 2017
10-List of Lights, Pub. 110: Greenland, The East Coasts of North and South America (Excluding Continental U.S.A. Except the East Coast of Florida) and the West Indies (PDF). List of Lights. United States National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. 2016.
11-Exquemelin, Alexander (2003). Zeerovers. 's-Hertogenbosch: Voltaire B.V. pp. 18–20. ISBN 90-5848-044-5.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article <a href="">"Metasyntactic_variable"</a>, which is released under the <a href="">Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0</a>.


The Vikings were a very barbaric people group founded in the Scandinavian region of Northern Europe consisting of primarily Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Shortly put, all Vikings are Scandinavian but not all Scandinavians are Vikings. They thrived in this area and surrounding regions from approximately 790 - 1100 for a period of around 300 years.

The main goal of the Viking people was to acquire wealth by raiding and pillaging villages throughout Europe and even making their way inland and towards the Mediterranean. Vikings were given the name as a term to mean to gain wealth by utilizing the sea to access and conquer other lands. They sought to find plentiful strongholds near coastlines to attack and lay claim to their belongings and often times continued further inland, however they typically stayed close to the sea. With this motivation they also developed their own sailing vessels called longships. These were ironically short boats which were propelled through the water by a series of manually operated paddles along both sides of the boat. These were their main tool that allowed them to access new targets of wealth.

Vikings at first sound like crazed and heartless individuals but they were really seeking to please their Norse Gods. They believed in a series of Gods also commonly referred to as Norse Mythology. Their barbaric style and culture is due to them trying to emulate and improve upon the examples of their Gods. In this regard it was their way of earning Salvation.

Through all of the pillaging they became some of the first colonizers of many regions and modern day countries such as: Ireland, Britain, Scotland, Greenland, Iceland, and North America. All of these were settled prior to the year 1100. Whether we recognize it or not their culture has a lot of impact on some of these modern day developed societies. We still see some of their historic artifacts displayed in museums and collections of these regions.

For further reading we recommend the following online articles:

Vikings - Ancient History Encyclopedia

Vikings - Wikipedia

Photo Credit: Ancient History Encyclopedia

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Ancient Greeks

The Ancient Greeks were a brilliant civilization that has had lasting impacts on our world today. Their arts and sciences can be traced throughout history and their contributions are still seen in modern developments. It is fair to say that the Greek civilization laid the foundation for growth over the centuries with credit to some of the best philosophers to ever live.

Most historians refer to the ancient Greek civilization beginning in approximately 1600 BC and lasting until around 600 AD. Greek history is usually recognized as the following main periods:

Bronze Age 1100-800 BC
Archaic Period 800-500 BC
Classical Period 500-420 BC
Hellenistic Period 420-146 BC
Roman Greeks 146 BC-324 AD
Byzantine Greeks 324 AD-1453 AD

Throughout all of these time periods the Greek people remained dedicated on arts and sciences. They did not focus on being a militaristic people group even when the Persian and Peloponnesian Wars occurred they still at the heart maintained a down-to-earth culture.  

The geographical position of the Greek civilization served as a great economic benefit for them to have critical transportation access to the Mediterranean Sea and thus the whole world. Greece became a major trade location and still remains one of the worlds largest shipping headquarters in modern times with some of the worlds largest shipping companies having locations there. Archaeologists have found over 200 Greek shipwrecks from these time periods discussed above with the majority being from the time period 300-600AD. The earliest and latest discovered shipwrecks were from 700 BC and 1600 AD.

For further reading we recommend the following online articles:

Ancient Greek - Wikipedia

History of Greece - Wikipedia

Archaeologists Find 22 Shipwrecks Off One Greek Archipelago - HISTORY

Unites States Civil War