How Piracy Forged An Empire John Latimer Analysis

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Latimer, Jon. Buccaneers of the Carribean: How Piracy Forged an Empire (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2009). Jon Latimer’s Buccaneers of the Caribbean: How Piracy Forged an Empire argues that buccaneering in the Caribbean was essential to the rise of Britain and facilitated the decline of Spain. Latimer hopes to provide a reinterpretation of seventeenth-century buccaneering as well as emphasizing how buccaneers in the Caribbean were different from other privateers throughout history due to the democratic element of buccaneering and the buccaneer’s tendency for amphibious operations. Latimer was a historian, writer, and lecturer at Swansea University. The purpose of Buccaneers of the Caribbean is to chart the exploits of seventeenth-century…show more content…
The English, French, and Dutch became linked through their mutual desire to lessen Spanish hegemony in the Caribbean, and they formed an agreement that they would not attack each other unless ordered to by their respective governments. Latimer asserts that the brethren of the coast became “a sanctuary for all manner of outcasts” who used their status of outcasts to “create a myth of independence embodying the very ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity that would destroy the ancient régime little more than a century later” (76). The failure of the tobacco crop in Barbados contributed to the growth of seventeenth-century buccaneering. Planters turned to slaves for labor. The use of slaves on plantations led to white men turning to buccaneering for financial opportunities. The English government believed that Spain was a threat to the Protestant cause and that war with Spain would be both economically and politically advantageous. Latimer, however, argues that Cromwell’s Western Design was solely motivated by economic factors. The Western Design was a failure and Spanish hegemony in the West Indies was diminished, but not eliminated. Latimer claims, “Yet the Western Design was in many ways epochal: it opened a new era for England and the world by marking the beginning of the true expansion of the British Empire” (118). The Western Design had implications…show more content…
Modyford attempted to use the buccaneers against the Dutch; however, the buccaneers were only concerned with acquiring Spanish booty. Buccaneers were used by the English government to gather intelligence on the Spanish and the buccaneers were able to acquire booty from the Spanish while gathering intelligence. Henry Morgan was commissioned by Modyford to assemble English privateers and attack Spanish holdings. Morgan attacked Portobello and Morgan, and his crew gained a significant amount of booty which they divided equally. Latimer asserts, “For the crew of a privateer in the West Indies was one of the most democratic institutions of the seventeenth century: articles were drawn up between the captain and representatives of the crew to ensure fair distribution of spoils” (170). Morgan’s raid on Portobelo was the most lucrative and amphibious operation of seventeenth-century buccaneering in the

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