Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Pirates in the Caribbean: Nathaniel Butler

Nathaniel Butler was born in 1577, and rose from English Privateer to Governor of Bermuda in the 70 some years of his life.

He was appointed Governor of Bermuda in the 1619 until 1622 and while he built many of the buildings on Bermuda and captured many pirate ships, he's not famous enough to have warranted an image easily found on Google. An inauspicious end for a hard-working man.

In his early sailing career the Earl of Warwick was his patron, a powerful protestant, the Earl had Butler govern his pirate colony on Providence Island off of modern Rhode Island. He then captained privateering expeditions against Spain in the Caribbean and around South America.
In about April 1639, he assembled a mixed fleet of Dutch and English vessels. After looting several smaller towns, the raiders descended on Trujillo, the chief port of Honduras. Trujillo had repelled Sir Anthony Sherley in 1597, but Butler'' raiders took it by surprise and collected a ransom of 16,000 pounds. Butler apparently kept more than his fair share of the booty. Returning to Providence in September 1639, he sailed for England in great haste and secrecy.
Not much is known about his life after 1639, if indeed he survived past 1639.

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