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The island nation of Jamaica is located in the Caribbean Sea in the Greater Antilles.

It is a a sovereign state and a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and its monarch is Queen Elizabeth II. The capital is Kingston, on the southeastern coast of the island.

The national language of Jamaica is Jamaican Patois, and the population is made up of 92% Africans, 6% minorities of mixed blood, and less than 1% Indian. 69% of the population is Christian, while 1% is Rastafarian.

Christopher Columbus was the first European to sight the island in 1494. He named it Santiago, though its name had previously been Xaymaca in the language of the native Tainos. He said that it was "the fairest isle that eyes have beheld."

The Taino tribes were enslaved in short order, and between foreign diseases for which their bodies had no immunity and violent conflicts with invading Europeans, they were almost extinct by 1600.

The island was claimed for Spain, and it remained in Spain's possession until 1655 when England conquered it, renaming it Jamaica, which was closer to the Tainos name for the island. As a colony of England, sugar cane production blood, and Jamaica was soon a leading exporter of sugar.

The vast majority of Jamaicans are descendants of African slaves who are brought to the Caribbean by both Spain and England. Sugar is a labor-intensive affair, and plantation owners could no longer imagine trying to run their businesses without slaves. Britain emancipated the slaves in England as well as in all of its colonies between 1634 and 1838.

Many freedmen left the plantations and nurtured their own subsistence farms, while the plantation owners began using Chinese and Indian indentured servants. With the change of everything that emancipation provided, and taking advantage of the same chaos, the coastal settlement of Port Royal became a home base for privateers and pirates.

Captain Morgan was among these who operated from Port Royal. Sir Henry Morgan was born in Wales some time around 1635. No one knows how it happened, but he ended up in Jamaica, but he did, and by 1660, he was part of a group of privateers who were attacking Spanish settlements and cities in the Caribbean and in Central America.

Over the next few years, he looted cities and colonies, demanded ransoms, and otherwise made significant amounts of money. In 1672, while Morgan was out looting and plundering, England and Spain had signed the Treaty of Madrid, which, among other things, revoked all letters of marque and other commissions. Due to the fact that he had been at sea when the treaty took effect, Captain Morgan had been in the process with the plundering of a Panamanian city which led to a fire set by Panama's government, the loss of 500 or so Spanish soldiers, and 15 of his own privateers and netted him and his men a reported 400,000 pesos.

It also netted him an arrest. King Charles II, unhappy party to the treaty, had Captain Morgan arrested in April of 1672. He was never charged with a crime. He did, we know, submit informal evidence to the Lords of Trade and Plantations, pricing he had no idea the treaty had been signed. It is thought that Morgan spent little if any time in lockup but instead remained free in London. The Earl of Arlington asked him to write out a document for the kind, suggesting ways to improve Jamaica's defenses.

The king appointed Morgan a Knight Bachelor in 1674, and two months later, Morgan left London for Jamaica. He was ordered to eradicate Jamaica's privateers, but he remained on not hostile grounds with them.

He was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica three times; 1674-75, 1678, and 1680-82.

In 1688, Morgan had become quite ill. He was only 53 and had survived uncounted battles and squirmishes, but he was unable to muster the strength to accept the king's appointment to the Assembly. He was diagnosed with dropsy, which is called edema today. His long-term excessive drinking of alcohol took its toll.

He died on August 25. 1688 and was given a state funeral. A broad amnesty was ordered so that privateers and pirates could pay their respects without worrying about being arrested. Je was buried in Port Royal, with a 22-gun salute from the moored ships in the harbor. At his death, he owned three plantations and 129 slaves as well as more than 5,200 pounds in cash.

In June of 1692, a large earthquake hit the Caribbean, with most of the damage being done to Port Royal. Most of the city sunk immediately below sea level, including Captain Morgan's grave. His body was never located.



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