The Spanish War of Succession

“In 1706, my older brother, Rupert, fought at the Battle of Ramillies in the Spanish War, and he’s never been the same since. He saw more bloodshed there than any man should witness in his lifetime.”

— Nathaniel Bagshaw

Sea Battle of Vigo Bay by anonymous (1702)The War of Spanish Succession was fought in Europe and the colonies between 1701 and 1714. The theatre of war in the Americas was known as Queen Anne’s War and involved a series of wars fought by British colonists against the French and their native American allies.

In 1700 King Charles II, the last Spanish King of the House of Habsburg, died with no direct heir to take over the throne of Spain. Before he died, he had named his half sister’s grandson, the Duke of Anjou, Phillip of Bourbon, as his successor to the Spanish crown under the name Felipe V. Felipe was also in the line of succession to the French throne.…

Henry Avery

I served under him, I did, although in those days he went under the name of Henry Avery,” explained the old seaman.

Captain Avery from a woodcut from A General History of the Pyrates (1725)

Henry Avery was one of the most successful pirates of all time in terms of the plunder he accumulated, depite only being one for two years. Not much is known about his early life, but it is commonly accepted that he was born in 1659 in the West Country of England, probably in Newton Ferrers, a village about six miles south-east of Plymouth, Devon. The more common spelling of Avery’s surname is Every. He also was known under several alias including Long Ben and Benjamin Bridgeman.

He joined the English Navy, although the exact year is unknown. He is recorded as working as a midshipman aboard a sixty four gun ship named the HMS Rupert, under Captain Francis Wheeler and probably participated in the Nine Years War, but was probably a seaman long before then.…

The maroons of Jamaica

“I decided it was time to jump ship in Jamaica, and I fled to the island’s interior, hanging out with a group of maroons until that infernal ship had left port.”

William Benton

In the prologue of the first novel William Benton explains that he stayed with a group of maroons after he jumped ship. Nathaniel Bagshaw was unaware of the term. Benton explains that they were communities of escaped black slaves. A large community began to flourish on the island of Jamaica, which was ruled by the Spanish at the time, from 1530 onwards after several slave revolts in the colonies of New Spain. The Spanish called them maroons, which is believe to come from the word ‘cimarron’, meaning ‘fierce’ or ‘unruly’. They were known to often ally themselves with buccaneers.

In 1655 the British conquered much of Jamaica and many slaves took advantage of the opportunity to join the maroon communities in the hills.…