Age of Pirates

Pirate Encyclopedia: Nassau

The port of Nassau, capital of the Bahama Islands, and located on New Providence Island, was well known as the main site of pirate operations in the early 1700s. During the 'Golden Age of Piracy" many pirates would gather at the Port of Nassau to set up their base camps.

Nassau is the main port of New Providence located East of Miami not far from the Florida coast. From the port of Nassau, Pirates would have easy access to attack the trade and merchant ships passing by. The port had two well-guarded entrances which provided additional security to the inhabitants. A pirate captain named Henry Jennings established his base on the largely abandoned port of Nassau in 1713. The island had been abandoned by the British in 1704 after attacks by the the Spanish and French.

By the year 1715, many pirates had followed suit and built their own bases along side Jennings. The population grew to over two thousand and was considered to be the greatest concentration of pirates in the New World. With Nassau's convenient location, caribbean trade was almost done away with due to the pirates targeting passing ships.

The legendary pirate, Edward "Blackbeard" Teach, set up base in Nassau among other well-known pirates, Jack Rackham, Charles Vane and Samuel "Black Sam" Bellamy. They would spend time repairing their ships and spending their loot in town. Also, the smaller 'out islands' were ideal locations to careen their ships for the purpose of cleaning the hull to obtain greater speed at sea.

In 1718, a naval commander named Woodes Rogers was sent to New Providence Island to drive out the pirates. He arrived in Nassau with a generous offer for the pirates, a complete pardon to any pirate who would turn themselves in and renounce their crimes. Many pirates surrendered and took the deal. For those pirates who declined this arrangement, troops were sent back to deal with them. Many pirates made a daring escape to freedom, some burning ships to draw the troops' attention away from themselves. Rogers took over New Providence where pirates were no longer welcome. Those who took the pardon were employed to help hunt down the escaping pirates. Any that were caught, were hung. Woodes Rogers then became the first Royal Governor of the Bahama Islands. Rogers settled down in Nassau. His slogan was, 'Piracy expelled, commerce restored', which remained the motto until just after Rogers' mysterious death in 1732.

Today the Nassau Pirate Museum and Tour is a popular tourist attraction for those seeking the pirate experience. You can take a walk up Yam Craw Hill Road which leads to Blackbeard's Tower. Blackbeard chose this spot for its view of all oncoming ships and today, you can still see the amazing view that Blackbeard once observed.

Copyright 2006 CleverMedia
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