Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2008

Henry Morgan Seizes Panama: 1671

Much of the treasure that Spain was taking from the New World's gold and silver mines passed through Panama, making it one of the richest cities in the world — and a prime target for brigands. And so, in 1671, the privateer Henry Morgan, licensed by the English government, attacked the city with 1,400 men. "Captain" Morgan was the head of a fearsome conglomerate of pirate bands in the Carribbean and though the Spaniards in Panama outnumbered the invaders, the pirates' reputation unhinged the defenders. The booty, however, was disappointing: Most of the treasure had been spirited away ahead of Morgan's attack.