British Empire > Archibald Hamilton

Archibald Hamilton

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

Lord Archibald Hamilton (1673 - 1754) was the governor of British Jamaica between 1715 and 1716 and in that year was responsible for creating a massive privateer army that would come to include many of the future Flying Gang including Henry Jennings, Charles Vane and more. He was one of the conspirators in the Jacobite Rebellin in England in 1715 that saw to restore the House of Stuart to the throne. Lord Hamilton was born into a wealthy and influential Scottish noble family, the seventh son of a lord William Douglas the third Duke of Hamilton.

Hamilton in his early life became an officer within the Royal Navy and in 1711 was made the governor of British Jamaica by queen Anne, the last Protestant Stuart queen of England. When she died in 1714 and George I assumed the throne the Jacobites or Pro-Stuart faction was extremely upset that James Stuart was passed over in the royal succession by George I and started the Jacobite Rebellion. The Hamilton family was connected to the Stuarts and several Hamilton's were involved in the rebellion. Archibald's duty was to organize a secret Jacobite naval fleet that could help support the cause.

In order to do this he issued letters of marque to many captains such as Henry Jennings and ordered them to raid French and Spanish shipping lanes. He may have also been responsible for funding and organizing the Flying Gang's first attack on the 1715 Treasure Fleet. When people within his own government began to protest his actions he removed them and replaced them with people more favorable to the Stuart's. Hamilton personally benefitted from the privateers actions and appeared to be successful at first but was later rounded up after the rebellion failed in 1715.

King George brought Hamilton back to England in chains and declared the privateers to now be pirates. Following this the pirates became outlaws and established a pirate republic at Nassau on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas following their massive boon from the raid on the salvage camp of the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet. Hamilton was able to avoid being executed for treason and even managed to get the British Council of Trade and Plantations to release his share of the privateers treasure for him. He eventually married an earls daughter and settled down. He died in 1754 in London at Tony Pall Mall and was later buried in Westminster Abby. Overall Hamilton's role in starting the Flying Gang is one of his most important legacies and the Jacobite rebellion had significant ramifications and consequences for the New World.

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