A tarnished silver coin at a time underground is producing new evidence that, in the late 17th century, one of the world’s most ruthless pirates was prowling the american colonies with complete impunity.
The newly discovered documents also strengthen the arguments that the British buccaneer Henry Every -the object of the world’s first manhunt- hid in New England before sailing to Ireland and mysteriously disappear
“At this point, the amount of evidence is overwhelming and indisputable,” said the historian Jim Baileya metal detecting specialist, who has spent years solving the mystery.
“Without a doubt, Every was a fugitive in the colonies,” he told the AP news agency. In 2014, after unearthing a peculiar coin engraved with an Arabic inscription in the orchard open to the public in Middletown, Rhode IslandBailey began following in Every’s footsteps.
An investigation confirmed that the exotic coin was minted in 1693 BC Yemen. So Bailey found that it matched the millions of dollars in coins and other valuables that Every and his men had daringly looted on September 7, 1695 from the Ganj-i-Sawai, an armed royal vessel owned by the Indian Emperor Aurangzeb.
According to historical accounts, the band of Every tortured and killed the passengers on board from the Indian ship and raped several of the women before fleeing to the Bahamas, a pirate stronghold. But word of his crimes soon spread, and the English monarch William III—under enormous pressure from a scandalized India and the influential East India Company, the commercial giant—offered a large size on his head.
Since then, metal detector specialists and archaeologists they found 26 similar coins between Maine and the Carolinas. All but three of the coins appeared in New England and none can be dated after the capture of the Indian ship.
“When I first heard about it, I was like, ‘Hey, wait a minute, that can’t be true,'” she said. Steve Albumsa rare coin specialist based in Santa Rosa, California who helped identify all the Arab silver coins found in New England.
“But these coins they were legitimately found and, in some cases, archaeologically; each of them predates the ship’s looting,” said Album, who has lived in Iran and traveled extensively in the Middle East.
Metal-detecting specialists also discovered a gold nugget weighing three grams (one-tenth of an ounce), slightly heavier than a US penny. in a potato field located atop a hill in the beach town of Little Compton, Rhode Island.
There is no documented evidence that gold was found in the wild. Bailey and other experts believe the nugget likely came from somewhere on Africa’s Gold Coast, the center of the slave trade in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. To add to the intrigue, they recovered two Arab silver coins not far from the nugget, and Every is known to have stolen a significant amount of gold off the coast of West Africa.
The most recent evidence placing Every on American soil is not just metallic, but also includes paper and pixels.
Bailey had already found documents showing that the sea flowera ship on which Every and his men sailed after abandoning the ship they used in their deadly assault, arrived in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1696.
He has since found documents showing that the pirate captain was accompanied by three Rhode Islanders who had boarded another pirate ship when he fled India. The three landed with Every in the Bahamas on March 30, 1696 and Bailey said that essentially they helped him escape in exchange for booty.
On August 27, 1696, pirates captured William Phillips and Edward Savill they testified that one of the two ships that left the Bahamas went to Virginia and New England before reaching Ireland. Basically, Bailey said, the logs clarify a confusing history that historians have misinterpreted for years suggesting that Every spent two months on the Caribbean island, which he never would have done as a fugitive.
“There’s no way he stayed in the Bahamas to sit on the beach and get a tan while waiting to be caught,” Bailey said. “In fact, Every has been in New England for over a month evaluating alternatives for restarting his life in the colonies or go home to England”.
Everyone’s feats inspired Steven Johnson’s book, “Enemy of all mankind” (“Enemy of All Mankind”) and the latest installment in the popular video game series PlayStation “Uncharted”. This year, Sony Pictures released a film adaptation of his story starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg and Antonio Banderas.
Bailey’s next challenge: figure out what happened to Every when they lost track after him arrived in Ireland 20 June of 1696. It is the elusive last chapter of this mystery, which he hopes to detail in a future book on the unsolved case.
“We’re tracking down the lost story of one of the the greatest crimes of the seventeenth century” commented.
Mary Ortiz is a seasoned journalist with a passion for world events. As a writer for News Rebeat, she brings a fresh perspective to the latest global happenings and provides in-depth coverage that offers a deeper understanding of the world around us.