Buccaneers > William Jackson

William Jackson

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

William Jackson (?? - 1645) was a English buccaneer during the middle of the 17th century of the Buccaneering Era who ventured around Guanaja and Roatan. Not much is known about Jackson's early life and he is first recorded as working for the Providence Island Company in 1639. During 1639 he was responsible for seizing a Spanish slave ship prize at the port of Trujillo. He ransomed the ship back to the Spanish for 8,000 pounds of indigo along with two gold chains and 2,000 pieces of eight. He left the Providence Island Company in 1641 after this where he sailed back to England in order to sell the trade goods.

In England he sold the indigo and some sugar for supplies to start another privateering campaign. He was given a letter of marque valid for three years from the Earl of Warwick and recruited other privateer captains such as Samuel Axe, William Rous and Lewis Morris. They buccaneers set sail in 1642 for the Caribbean. Not much of his privateering expedition is recorded and there is another William Jackson that many historians are confused is Jackson or not. Given the principle of Occams razor, the two buccaneers were in the same area at the same time and there was not a significant English presence in the West Indies at the time.

This William Jackson weather the same or not was responsible for leading an invasion force of over a thousand buccaneers out of the English settlements at Saint Kitts and Barbados in order to raid Spanish coastal settlements all throughout the region. The buccaneers were known to have captured both Maracaibo and Trujillo between 1642 and 1643.

The privateers under William Jackson next ventured to the island of still Spanish held Colony of Santiago, otherwise known as Spanish Jamaica where they anchored off the coast. On 25 March of 1643 Jackson led about 500 buccaneers to plunder the city of Saint Jago de la Vega. Despite suffering heavy casualties of about forty buccaneers they eventually captured the city. Jackson threatened to raze the city to the ground if the Spanish governor did not pay a ransom and the buccaneers were given 200 cattle, 10,000 pounds of cassava bread along with 7,000 pieces of eight.

Following the invasion of the island twenty-three of the buccaneers stayed on the island to live with the Spanish and it is unknown what happened to the rest. Again it is not known if the latter exploits of Jackson are the same but we have no reason to believe otherwise. Not much is known about this later years of his life or his eventual fate but he may have taken the riches and settled down.

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