British Empire > Virgin Gorda

Virgin Gorda

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

Virgin Gorda is the third largest and second most populous of the British Virgin Islands which is part of the larger Virgin Islands and was named the "The Fat Virgin" by Christoper Columbus because he believed the profile of the island looks like a fat woman laying on her side. The island itself only covers about 8 sq mi (21 km2) and is located at the coordinates 18 degrees, 48 minutes North, and 64 degrees, 30 minutes West.

The island is home to one of the great harbors of the world known as Gorda Sound or North Sound which is on the northeast side of the island. The harbor is bordered by four islands and has many connecting reefs which help keep the bay waters calm. In 1595 the fleets of both Francis Drake and John Hawkins met up on Virgin Gorda at the anchorage off Bitter End.

Here twenty-six ships used the large hill on the island at Bitter End to practice for their attack on San Juan on the island of Puerto Rico. In fact, since both of the famous English admirals would die on the 1595/1596 voyage in the West Indies this may have been the last time that they actually set foot on British soil.

Currently the island is a haven for yachts and water sports and enjoys popularity with tourism and commerce.

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