Jamaica and Piracy

Following the explorations of Columbus, the Spanish claimed all of the Americas, with the exception of Portuguese Brazil, but they only occupied the territories around the equator.   This was called the Spanish Main. So, during the Elizabethan era, the English began to colonize the unoccupied areas, both the lands north of Florida and the tiny islands of the eastern Caribbean.  The Spanish considered these settlements to be illegal intrusions, but without the resources to drive them out they basically ignored them.  They were, however, very protective of the areas around the Spanish Main.  When an English company attempted to settle the Providence Island colony off the coast of Central America, Spanish forces attacked it three times before finally eliminating it.

Jamaica

In an attempt to increase England’s presence in the Caribbean, Oliver Cromwell sent a naval force to invade the Spanish islands of Hispaniola and Jamaica, which brought about a wider war with Spain.  This was the first war started in the Americas that shifted to Europe.  Although the European theatre ended in the late 1650s, fighting continued in the Caribbean until the 1670 Treaty of Madrid.  In that agreement, Spain officially ceded Jamaica to England and also recognized all of England’s American holdings.

A valuable and strategic possession, Jamaica contributed to the massive increase in sugar consumption that would irrevocably transform the European diet, and dramatically increased British involvement in the slave trade.  Jamaica soon became Britain’s premier slave colony. Port Royal also became the hub for English piracy.

Henry Morgan

Henry Morgan came to Jamaica as a member of Cromwell’s invading army and by 1665 he had risen to the rank of a ship’s captain. Through his campaigns against the Spanish he gained considerable wealth, which enabled him to purchase land on the island.  His upward mobility continued when he married Mary, the daughter of Jamaica’s Lieutenant Governor (who was also Morgan’s uncle).

In 1667, Governor Modyford elevated Morgan to the rank of admiral and installed him as commander to organize the English privateers.

One of the subsequent campaigns Morgan led was the invasion of the Panamanian city of Portobello, which occurred after the peace treaty had been signed between the British and the Spanish.  After Morgan’s invasion of the city, which included the torture of Spanish colonists in order to gain information regarding the location of treasures that might be plundered, he erroneously asserted that he had gained information that the Spanish were planning to attack Jamaica.  When the Spanish made a formal complaint and accused him of piracy, Morgan defended his standing as a privateer, arguing that due to the irregularities of transatlantic communication he had never been informed of the existence of a treaty. However, in 1670, Morgan and Modyford were detained in England for continually disobeying orders issued, disobedience that required punishment in order to placate Spain.

After the restoration, Morgan’s actions came to the attention of King Charles II, who knighted him in 1673 for his deeds on behalf of the Empire and offered him the Lieutenant Governorship of Jamaica.

Privateers and Pirates

This change in status for Morgan had much to do with the changing interests of England following the restoration of the Stuart line.  England had moved from an agenda of mollifying Spain to one of asserting a continued willingness to engage privateers in defense of the British colonies. Morgan’s Knighthood was a strong signal to Spain that the political tides were turning.  Since England needed to keep the Royal Navy close to Europe, it was up to Morgan and his privateers to both defend and expand English colonization in the New World.  According to the Spanish, however, they were all pirates.

Henry Morgan, pirate, privateer, knight, and Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica had become the archetype, representing the desire for wealth and social mobility that drove many men into piracy during the time of the Stuart kings and queens.  Quickly, Jamaica became known as the place where those from humble beginnings were able to satisfy self-interest through the perception of public service to achieve social advancement.

The Real Story of the Pirate Anne Bonny

Numerous versions of the story of the pirate Anne Bonny have been told over the past three centuries, but few have considered them from an actual historical perspective.  Most of the stories simply play up to the sensational and titillating aspects of a woman serving aboard an eighteenth century pirate ship, and take what has been generally accepted at face value.  By digging deeper, I’ve discovered that what is generally accepted could not have been what actually happened. 

Source of the Stories

The origin of these stories comes from the source document, A General History of the Pyrates by Captain Charles Johnson, 1724.  When reading this document, one immediately notices that the part about Anne Bonny seem to have been just stuck in at the end of the chapter about Jack Rackham.  The only portion of the tale of Anne Bonny that Johnson did apply a chronology to was the time that they were with Captain Calico Jack Rackham aboard his pirate ship.  But this only lasted for a period of two months, from August 22nd, 1720, when they commandeered a ship in New Providence, to October 23rd,1720, when they were captured.  The dates and activities during these two months are well documented in Johnson’s chapter 7, about Captain Rackham and his crew, but the remaining parts about Anne Bonny don’t seem to follow any chronology and are really just a series of anecdotal tales that the author admits that he picked up from the witnesses at her trial.  These reports were, essentially, nothing more than gossip which had most likely been heavily embellished as they were passed around before Johnson even heard the versions of them that he wrote about.

Historical Chronology

When one researches and cross references other source material it becomes clear that what has been generally accepted as fact about Anne Bonny makes no sense. By combining these sources, it was possible to come up with an actual chronology of her life, which shows that she was only in the company of pirates for a very brief period.  It turns out that much of what has been told about Anne was, in reality, the actual activity of another pirate woman by the name of Mary Read. However, considering Mary was an androgynous looking, cross-dressing 30 year old, whereas Anne was a buxom 18 year old, the titillation factor clearly favored Anne as the protagonist in the stories that were told, and was probably the reason why we hear so little about Mary Read, who was the actual woman pirate.

The Real Story

So while the generally accepted story-line about Anne Bonny is a wonderful tale, it simply doesn’t make any sense.  It is impossible for so much to have happened to her in a time span of only two months, from August to October, 1720.  Plus, the most glaring fact is that Anne Bonny could not have been the fierce swashbuckler that she has been portrayed as.  She arrived in Nassau as a girl of 17 whose life until she eloped and ran away had been one of privilege on a plantation in the American Colonies.  When Anne met Calico Jack he had given up piracy, having accepted amnesty, and was living ashore in Nassau.  It is unlikely, in the short time that they were together, that she could have learned fighting skills, let alone become pregnant, have a child, and then resume a full pirate career.  Rather, she was an eighteen year old who was initially caught up in the adventure and romance of it all until she experienced the horrors of being captured and thrown in jail.  After learning that Jack Rackham and the rest of the crew had been hanged, she would probably have been glad to return with her father to plantation life in Carolina Colony.

Click here for the novel telling the real story of the pirate Anne Bonny.

Get Your Book Out Of Your Head and Into Print

Like most established business professionals with a wealth of information in their heads, on more than one occasion a client has probably told you that you should write a book. For a while you may have considered doing just that. After all, according to Forbes, the best way to be known as an authority in your field is to be the author of a book. But, also like most business professions, you probably don’t have a clue as to how to go about it. What I am going to share with you here is the process to get your book out of your head and into print. The process for writing your book is not magic, and you can even outsource those parts which you would rather not bother with.

Manuscript

The first step in creating a book is to write a manuscript, which is the most time consuming and for many people the most difficult part of creating a book.  Extracting the information from your head and transcribing it into a manuscript may seem like a daunting task. For many people who have thought about writing a book, this is probably the reason they haven’t done so. 

The easiest way to get started is by making a list of the most common questions that your clients and potential customers ask you about, if it is a business book.  If it is a personal book, then create a list of the anecdotes or salient points you plan to talk about.  List up to 20 items.

Next, pull together everything you  have written, and anything you are currently using to promote your brand.  Go through these and copy down anything that pertains to the list you have made. Then all you do is take each item from your list and write out your answers/story in about 1,000 words for each question.  Each one of these can become a chapter in your manuscript, although similar questions can easily be combined into a single chapter. When you’re finished you should end up with 12 – 15 chapters.

Keep in mind that your book should be focused around a single topic and does not have to be lengthy. If you have many subjects to write about, consider writing several books. Your manuscript should contain no more than 15,000-20,000 words, so with each page having around 200-250 words the goal for your finished book is to be from 50 to 100 pages long.

Editing

Having your manuscript written is exciting and it will be natural for you to want to rush to getting your book into print. But take a breath. It is very important to have any errors that you missed in your document corrected and to make sure that you have the text exactly the way you want it to be seen in print before you proceed. This is done in editing, a procedure which should not be skipped.
Editing is the process to check your manuscript for grammar and spelling errors, and, if necessary, to re-word for better flow. Since you wrote your manuscript you are too close to it to be an effective editor, so while it is entirely your choice whether or not to hire a professional editor, it is highly recommended that it be someone other than you who does your editing.

Formatting and Printing

The next step is to convert your manuscript into an actual book in order to get it published.  Books nowadays come in two versions, print and electronic, but the formatting that works for a print copy will not work for an e-book and vice versa. The easiest and quickest way to accomplish either of these is to self-publish with Amazon KDP. Using KDP enables you to maintain creative control over your book, you will own the copyright, and the ability to print on demand means the print version of your book will never be out of stock. As the author, you an purchase author copies for a little over $2 each (plus tax and shipping), which enables you to use your book as an economical and very effective promotional giveaway.

If you are proficient with word processing programs like Microsoft Word you may be able to format your book yourself, but the easiest way to get it properly formatted before submitting it is to use a template. Templates are readily available for download, just do a search for ‘book templates’ on-line or look at the free resources provided by KDP.

As with the inside of your book, you can elect to design your own cover or use one of the many cover templates available online. KDP’s free program called Cover Creator offers several templates to select from.

Outsourcing

If you prefer, any and all of the steps in the process of writing your book can be outsourced. If you have a finished manuscript and don’t want to bother with the technical aspects of formatting you can have someone else do that for you. You can even have the whole process done for you, where a ghostwriter interviews you for the source material, writes your book for you, and provides you with a finished product.

Being an author of a book establishes you as the authority in your field, and with such a low cost your printed book can be the ultimate business card for you to give to prospective clients.

Ronald Haines Haines Communications: Be The Authority

It Wasn’t About Tea, It Was About Rum

It has been over a year since I moved back to the United States, but it has taken this long to adjust to being back here. Now that I am settled in, however, my focus as an author going forward is continuing to write about the pirates (The Pirate Project) who operated out of the Bahamas almost 300 years ago.   Fascinating details emerged from my research over the past five years which puts several of the pirates in a new light.  For instance, some of them were organizing a Jacobite fleet to join with other supporters of the Stuart line to attack England in an attempt overthrow King George.   This was probably the real reason behind Blackbeard (Edward Thatch) being considered such a threat and so quickly targeted and eliminated by naval forces. Others were what we could nowadays consider to be entrepreneurs; educated, middle class men who sought to improve their social standing through the accumulation of wealth. Some of them, like Christopher Condent, actually managed to pull it off.

It is also clear that it wasn’t the tea tax that ticked off the American colonists. It was the attempted British tax on rum. So much so that the pirates of the Bahamas were hired to smuggle it in.  Then, when rum manufacturing began in the American colonies, these same pirates ran molasses, the raw ingredient in rum, from French Martinique.  This was a dangerous occupation because Britain and France were at war, meaning that the American colonists were trading with the enemy.  If either the British or the French navy intercepted these ships, all aboard would be immediately hanged.  And on top of that they also had the Spanish navy to deal with.  In spite of these hazards, however, the molasses continued to flow and rum ended up becoming a critical part of the colonial economy.

The Pirate Project

Stories about pirates are well integrated into our collective culture. We have been both fascinated and entertained by them ever since the first publication of the book, A General History of The Pyrates, by Captain Charles Johnson came out in 1724. But during the almost 300 years since then these stories have been embellished and re-woven into, in many cases, conflicting and often outlandish tales about who these pirates were and what they did. This has resulted in conventional wisdom regarding well known names, such as Blackbeard and Anne Bonny, being so off the mark as to strain credibility. Curious about the actual lives, and more importantly to me, the motivations of these colorful characters, in 2012 I began an extensive research project into the actual history of the pirates. While the research is still ongoing, I’m sharing what I have learned through a series of books which I am calling The Pirate Project.

The pirate project is all about the English pirates in the Caribbean and North America. My research has uncovered the circumstances that created piracy in the first place, the reasons that motivated people to become pirates, and the importance of piracy to the developing American colonies leading up to the American revolution. The project is broken down into three parts.

Part 1: The Pirates You Thought You Knew

This section examines the actual lives of the well known golden age pirates of the Caribbean and is based on historical research rather than conventional wisdom. These are being presented as a series of novels, Real Pirate Stories, which separate fact from three centuries of embellishment of stories, many of which were not quite accurate in the first place. I have taken license to infer the motivations of these colorful characters from the facts of their lives, and the story lines I’ve created both fit and explain those facts. As a result, these novels can then be considered to be the ‘real’ stories of each of the pirates. While these stories may differ significantly from what may be currently ‘known’ about them, they are equally fascinating and more likely to be closer to the actual truth.

Part 2: Bahamas Pirates

Following the golden age of piracy in the early 1720s, pirates became vital to the developing American colonies as the Hanoverian Kings George attempted to clamp down on the freewheeling attitudes and activities that had been permitted by the Stuart Kings and Queens. Competitively priced goods plundered from Spanish merchants were sold in American port cities, and fast ships smuggled in rum and molasses from French Martinique, even while Britain and France were at war. Bahamas pirates explores the dependency of the colonies up to and through the American revolution and is revealed in a series of books seen through the eyes of the fictitious protagonists Jack Read, son of Mary Read and Jack Rackham, and Mary Burleigh, daughter of Anne Bonny.

Part 3: The Politics of Piracy

Piracy in the New World was supported by English monarchs from Elizabeth 1st to Queen Anne because it furthered national interests. Privateers, directly commissioned by the crown, enabled England to both harass the dominant European powers at the time while at the same time bringing in considerable wealth. Even during those times where there was no declared war, English pirates continued to attack Spanish shipping and traded the goods in colonial ports while officials turned a blind eye to the obvious contraband.

There was tremendous controversy in England when George 1st ascended to the throne following the death of Queen Anne. A group called the Jacobites felt that James Stuart was the rightful king, and they had strong support in the colonies because King George had officially declared the pirates to be outlaws. Archibald Hamilton, the governor of Jamaica, attempted to raise a navy of pirate ships, which was to be based out of Bermuda, to attack Britain in support in the Jacobite cause.

While the pirates generally supported the return of the Stuart line, only a few of them were actually politically inclined. In most cases, their motivation was to preserve the lifestyle that was now being suppressed by the Royal Navy.

Online again

After hurricane Matthew hit the island on October 6th we went five days without water, 25 days without electricity, and 42 days without cable and connection to the internet.   During this recovery period I was focused on making repairs around the house and re-building my shed which had been completely demolished by the 140 mph winds.   Without the internet I went for over 6 weeks without writing any blog posts or other online activities.

Life on the island is now returning to normal, but this experience did give me the opportunity to reflect and realize how I had fallen back into my old entrepreneurial habits.   At the time the hurricane hit I had been posting a blog every day, was actively participating in internet groups, and was attending several online webinars each week;  all activities aimed at helping promote my books.   This was in addition to writing.  The leisurely writing life that I retired to a year ago was evolving into a business to manage.

Yes, all these activities do increase book sales, but my books also sell quite nicely ‘organically’ by just being available and by word of mouth.  Lifestyle being much more important to me than building another business,  I’m not going to return to these marketing activities and will once again just be writing.

Well, not just writing.  In addition to having my works published in both print and e-books, I am going to expand into audiobooks and will be reading them myself.  I’ve invested in some recording equipment which I’ll be setting up in my studio over the next week, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this turns out.

I’ll let you know my progress in future (but not as frequent) blog posts.

 

Choices and the Pursuit of Happiness

The recognition that human beings are free gives us the individual freedom to make whatever choices we want for our lives. But anyone who embraces their individual freedom must also accept the personal responsibility to make it happen.  Simply wishing for something to happen is not going to do anything; no external force is going to give it to you.  Your life is completely up to you, and you are solely responsible for it.

choices-bridgeWhile you are free to make your own choices, it is obvious that the choices you make will be influenced by the society and culture you are in, and that is fine. The key is to live the life that you want, and many of the things that influenced you prior to this point are important to you so of course you’re going to keep them. The important first step is to describe what the ideal life means to you before you can determine how you are going to get there. This isn’t going to be physical things such as possessions, but about how you want to feel.  Knowing that, you are able to examine the various ways you can achieve those feelings.  This is your goal.  It is then your responsibility to set a plan in motion to get there, to do what it takes, to achieve it.

You may be wondering if taking such action, veering from the path of conformity, is risky. Not at all, the biggest risk is to plod along and end your life with the words, “I wish I had,” on your lips.  Take heart that it isn’t the achievement of the goal that makes you free.  It is the journey, knowing you are in control of your life that makes it so:

Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman — a rope over an abyss. A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting. What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal. ~ Frederick Nietzsche

The American founding father, Thomas Jefferson, hit it on the nose when he penned:  “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” in the declaration of independence. Jefferson understood that happiness in life it was all about pursuing one’s goals, not necessarily achieving them.  If you do achieve a particular goal, you will simply have to create another so as to always feel the happiness of freedom.  Your life is all about the choices that you make for it.

Anne Bonny and Existential Angst

The last conversation between pirates Anne Bonny and Jack Rackham:

“I’m so sorry to see you here, Jack.” Anne fought back her tears.  “Why did you let them capture us?  Wouldn’t it have been better to fight?  You might have won, and even if you didn’t you could have died like a man instead of like,” she sobbed.  “Like this.”

“Death is death, Anne. It matters little to me how it comes about, but this way you and Mary have a chance.  I doubt that the judge is about to hang women.”

“They said that you stood defiant at your trial and refused to apologize for your pirate ways, and that neither you nor Mary have demonstrated any contrition.”

“We’re pirates,” Jack shrugged.

“What is it with you two?”  Anne screamed at him, her whole body was trembling and she no longer cared that she had lost control over her crying.  “Neither of you are willing to show any regrets or remorse, even though it might end up saving your lives?”

“That’s because it would be lie. We can’t lie, Anne.  Doing so would go against everything we’ve ever stood for.”

“But you’re going to die, Jack.”

“That’s right, Anne. Tomorrow, when the hangman puts that noose around my neck everyone will see that my face is smiling.  I’ve had a life well lived, and I thank you for being a part of that.  In these past weeks I’ve known the passion I’d always dreamed of, and I’m happy to go out with the last part of my life being the best part of my life.”

Anne was speechless. She was terrified of dying and would do or say anything to avoid it, and he was blithely referring to his impending execution as if it were just another part of the ongoing adventure.  She clutched onto the bars for support and slowly shook her head while tears poured down her cheeks.

Jack reached through the bars and stroked her hair. “I’m dying at a time of my own choosing, Anne,” he said calmly. “And there are very few that ever have that opportunity.  You’re going to live and hopefully grow old, but growing old to me would be the worst kind of death.  This way I’m never going to be in a place where my body fails me and I can only live through memories while screaming in futile frustration from the inside.”

 

Excerpt from Love, Lust & Passion:  The Real Story of The Pirate Anne Bonny

Eliminating Stress by Being Authentic

Most people close to me know that I’ve always been an existentialist, and the current non-fiction book I am working on deals with eliminating stress by being authentic in one’s life. Here’s an excerpt from chapter nine:

Other people see us in a ways that we have no access to, and vice-versa. We are first and foremost an object to other people, just as they are to us, and according to Jean-Paul Sartre this is the basis for relationships between individuals to be one of conflict. Other people cannot see us as we really are, so our existence is one thing for us and something else for them.  If we allow the judgment of others to influence us we run the risk of not being authentic and will experience stress as a result, so how can one be a part of the world and live authentically at the same time?  We can try to tell people who we really are, but it is only through our actions and the products of our actions that they will judge us.

Consider a man who is living in a shack on the beach. Other people see this person with a scraggly beard and long hair blowing in the breeze walking around every day and they label him as a beach bum.  They are unaware that it is the daily wandering that drives his inspiration and creativity, and even if he told them that he was a genius working on a new project they would most likely look at him askance and still judge him to be a beach bum.  However, once he publishes a book or produces a painting these people will change their judgment, and from that point on they’ll recognize him as an author or an artist.

It is one thing to see ourselves as artists and tell other people at parties how we have great books or paintings inside us, but quite another to actually be that artist.  That requires us to make choices and act on them.  So whether we remain as inwardly frustrated artists who dress in suits and go to work in an office every day versus living an authentic life and producing art comes down to our accepting individual freedom and making the appropriate choices, in spite of the judgment of others.  It is easy to come up with excuses in order to justify not taking action, but Nietzsche would have considered it weakness to deny ourselves:

“What is good? All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself. What is bad? All that is born of weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche

You may well be considered a nonconformist bum when you start out, but those same people who deride your choices will be the first ones with their congratulations on your success and will readily accept what they will then consider your eccentricity. More importantly, you will achieve happiness and be free from the stress of inauthenticity.

Love, Lust & Passion: The Real Story of the Pirate Anne Bonny, a historical novel

This historical novel is now available in both e-book and print versions

 

LLP cover first draftLearn about the real life of Anne Bonny, a teenager who runs away from the confining life of colonial Carolina to Nassau in New Providence, Bahamas hoping to enjoy the lust filled, idealized life of freedom as a pirate, but ends up learning about the costs of that freedom. 
While in the Bahamas Anne meets and becomes intimate with Mary Read, whom Anne considers to be the epitome of a woman pirate, and serves with her under the command of Calico Jack Rackham, the last of the golden age pirate captains. Jack Rackham is a man driven to have all of the adventure, love and lust he can. To Anne, Jack is the perfect man, and she happily becomes his mistress. 

Numerous versions of the pirate life of Anne Bonny have been told over the past three centuries, but few of these stories have considered her from a historical perspective. Most of them simply re-visit the sensational and titillating tales of a woman serving aboard an eighteenth century pirate ship and take what is generally accepted about her at face value. 
When one considers the historical chronology, however, many of the stories about Anne Bonny do not make sense. After researching, it is the opinion of this author that much of what has been accepted as fact about Anne Bonny was more likely to have been about another woman pirate, Mary Read. Anne’s actual story, however, not only makes for a great read, but also makes a lot more sense when one considers the fact that her entire time aboard a pirate ship was only two months. 

Researched historical chronology was used as the basis in writing this historical novel, with license taken by the author to determine the motivations of the characters since they were inferred by him from the facts, and the story line was then created to both fit and explain those facts. While interesting from a historical and biography perspective, this book also contains both heterosexual and bisexual situations and is therefore not suitable for minors. 

The pages in this book tell the real story (truth being defined as the most logical interpretation of the facts) of the pirate life of Anne Bonny. 

(click he above image for a link to see both formats)