Buccaneers > Cornelius Essex

Cornelius Essex

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Background

Cornelius Essex (?? - 1680) was an 17th century English buccaneer who joined with Bartholomew Sharp in the expedition known as the Pacific Adventure. Nothing of his early life is known but he was a prolific buccaneer during the Buccaneering Era because he is first recorded as being the captain of a ship named the Great Dolphin that was captured by pirate hunters in the HMS Hunter in November of 1679.

The crew of twenty buccaneers was tried for plundering the plantation of a Major Samuel Jenck and two of the men were sentenced to death for the incident. Essex avoided the hangman's noose by presenting a commission from the government of British Jamaica that granted him rights to cut the valuable logwood in Honduras. They were allowed to leave Jamaica and ventured to Port Morant in December of 1679 where they joined with fellow buccaneers John Coxon, Robert Allison, Thomas Mackett, Jean Rose and Captain Bournano. From there the buccaneers cruised to the Isles of Pines on the eastern side of Panama where they planned to raid coastal settlements.

Coxon was elected the head of the buccaneering expedition and they set out along the same path that Henry Morgan had taken on his route to Portobello previously in 1668. The buccaneers anchored at an uninhabited cay nearest the settlement and began their overland march to invade the city. However, during a surprise attack on the Spanish fort Essex and thirty other buccaneers were killed, thus ending the short short of Cornelius.

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