December 27th, 2007

The Librarian

Oh the things you can learn ...

Have gone from reading Kage Baker fiction about Henry Morgan to the real thing via my copy of Empire of Blue Water. So far, so fascinating ... when Spain's American empire is taught in school or mentioned in history books, one pretty much only hears about the plate fleets ... what they don't tell you about is that, thanks to a top-heavy bureaucracy, a chunk of Spanish naval traffic was paperwork (ships literally stuffed full of nothing but government forms and documents travelling both ways) or that one of the reasons privateers and pirates took Spanish ships and towns so easily is that the Spanish government, paranoid that their own overseas citizens would hijack the loot, severely restricted the numbers and modernity of weapons permitted in the Americas, making defense next to impossible. This book gets three thumbs up so far, and Morgan's only commanded his first major raid so far ... (1663-1665: took two years because his ships were taken by the Spanish while he and his men were ashore taking a Spanish town; managed to keep his crew together to canoe and raid their way down the Yucatan and Central American coasts until they could capture something big enough to sail back to Jamaica in).

Looking like a definite must-read for pirate junkies. :-)