Buccaneers > Charles Swan

Charles Swan

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Background

Charles Swan (?? - 1690) was initially a sailor that was forced to be a buccaneers during the end of the 17th century. However, he soon found himself a natural at the trade and throughout the 1680's participated against many attacks on the Spanish Main. Throughout his exploits he wrote letters to the owners of his ship named the Cygnet in London and tried to get them to get him a pardon from king James II.

The first recorded attack Swan was involved in was on Payta in 1684. The town was burned after the buccaneers received no wealth from the Spanish. Sometime during this period Swan began sailing with fellow buccaneers Edward Davis and Peter Harris. Later on 25 August of 1685 Swan, Harris, and Davis sailed up the coast of Mexico and attempted to siege the town of Santa Pecaque. The buccaneers were successful however, the Spanish were able to kill fifty of the buccaneers including Basil Ringrose in a counter.

Later on 31 March 1686 Swan was voyaging on the Pacific where he attempted to capture a Manila Treasure Galleon. However, he was unsuccessful and the crew was forced to continue onto the East Indies while starvation began to set in. The crew was even contemplating cannibalism of the officers starting with the captain. The buccaneers landed on the island of Guam before they had to eat each other and then they continued onto the Sultanate of Mindanao.

However, relations between the buccaneers and the ruler of the local natives named Raja Laut turned sour. After this the crew mutinied against the captain when the buccaneers failed to overtake the galleon. Swan managed to save £5,000 from the buccaneers that mutinied and remained on the island of Mindanao. He eventually became an officer with Laut's army but but in 1690 he attempted to flee the island by a passing Dutch ship and return to England. He was chased by the natives and they managed to impale him with their spears before he made it to the ship.

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