The Sack of Panama

11 Feb

The Sack of Panama

The Caribbean has a fascinating history of buccaneers, privateers, and pirates. Our cruise ports were the site of many battles between these forces and the Spanish Main.

Several of our ports include large forts built by the Spanish to protect their cities from these raiders. San Juan has Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo de San Cristóbal.  Cartagena has Castillo San Felipe de Barajas. Panama has Castillo de San Lorenzo and Castillo de San Jerónimo in Portabelo. Finally, Acapulco has Fuerte De San Diego. What was the reason that the Spanish built these massive forts? The answer to this can be found in The Sack of Panama: Captain Morgan and the Battle for the Caribbean by Peter Earle.

I read this book as part of my pre-cruise reading. I wanted to understand more about the history of the Spanish in the Caribbean and the reason for all of these forts. Since we are visiting Panama, this book’s title caught my attention. Here are the reasons I really like this book:

  • Peter Earle is a great story teller. He brings the reader into the story.
  • It is said, “there are two sides to every story”. In this book, each story is told from both the perspective of the privateers and the Spanish.  For example, during the raids on Panama, we are told the story from the perspectives of Henry Morgan and Don Juan Pérez de Guzmán. Most books only tell the story from the side of the privateers.
  • The book is extensively researched and is historically accurate.
  • The main story is 247 pages. I found this to be a very readable length.
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