Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

From Harry to Sir Henry: Social mobility in the 17th century Caribbean
by Davis, John Robert, M.A., Western Carolina University, 2015, 99; 1587335
Abstract (Summary)

During the 17th Century, the Caribbean saw an explosion in seaborne raiding. The most common targets of these raids were Spanish ships and coastal towns. Some of the men who went on these raids experienced degrees of social and economic mobility that would not have been possible in continental Europe. This was because the 17th Century Caribbean created an environment where such mobility was possible. Among these was a Welshman was known to his compatriots as Harry Morgan. By the end of his life, Morgan would become one of the most famous buccaneers in history, a wealthy sugar planter, the Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica, and a knight.

No one is exactly sure of Morgan's social status before he entered the Caribbean. Historians largely agree that he was born to a freeholding family in Wales, although some dissenters contend that Morgan entered the Caribbean as an indentured servant. From either position, he experienced a high degree of social and economic mobility through his raids against the Spanish Empire and the conventional businesses that those raids funded. His life does not represent the way that social or economic mobility worked for a typical buccaneer. What it does represent is the best case scenario for an individual who came to the Caribbean and engaged in buccaneering. Morgan utilized his raiding as a means to fund more conventional business interests such as sugar planting. This paper argues that the Caribbean provided a unique political, economic, and military atmosphere for an individual to climb the social and economic ladder from Harry Morgan, a common buccaneer, to Sir Henry Morgan, Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica and Admiral of Buccaneers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cosner, Charlotte
Commitee: Dorondo, David, Macaulay, Alexander, Michelsen, Niall
School: Western Carolina University
Department: History
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: MAI 54/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Latin American history, Caribbean Studies, Military history
Keywords: Anational, Buccaneer, Henry morgan, Jamaica, Pirate, Privateer
Publication Number: 1587335
ISBN: 978-1-321-71072-4
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