Ancient coins may solve the mystery of murderous 1600s pirates


Warwick, Rhode Island (AP) — A handful of coins unearthed from self-selected fruit orchards in the countryside of Rhode Island and other random locations in New England are the oldest cold cases on the planet. May help solve one of the.

The villain of this story: A murderous British pirate who became the world’s most desired criminal after plundering a ship carrying a Muslim pilgrim returning to India from Mecca escapes capture under the guise of a slave trader I did.

“This is a new history of almost perfect crime,” said amateur historian and metal detector Jim Bailey, who found the first intact 17th-century Arabic coin in a middletown meadow.

Its oldest pocket change ever discovered in North America could explain how the pirate Captain Henry Every disappeared into the wind.

On September 7, 1695, the pirate ship Fancy, commanded by Every, ambushed and captured Ganji Isawai, a royal ship owned by Emperor Aurangzeb of India, one of the most powerful figures in the world at the time. Not only worshipers returning from the pilgrimage, but also tens of millions of dollars worth of gold and silver were on board.

What followed was one of the most lucrative and vicious robbers ever.

According to historical records, his band tortured and killed a man on an Indian ship, raped a woman, and then fled to the Bahamas, a pirate shelter. However, their crimes quickly spread, and under great pressure from the trading giants of the Indian and East Indies companies that caused the scandal, King William III of England put a big bounty on their heads.

“If Google is’the world’s first man hunt’, it’s labeled’everything’,” says Bailey. “Everyone was looking for these guys.”

So far, historians knew that everything eventually sailed to Ireland in 1696, where the trails got colder. But Bailey found that the coins he and others found were evidence that the infamous pirates first went to the American colony, where he and his crew used looting for daily expenses during their flight. Say that.

The first full coin surfaced in 2014 at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown. It was intriguing two years ago after Bailey found old colonial coins, 18th-century shoe buckles, and musket balls.

Shaking the metal detector over the soil, he received the signal and dug into it to literally hit the paydart. The dark, dime-sized silver coins he first envisioned were either Spanish or money coined by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

As I approached, the Arabic text of the coin inspired his heartbeat. “I thought,’Oh, that’s what it is,'” he said.

Investigation confirmed that exotic coins were coined in Yemen in 1693. It quickly questioned, Bailey said, because evidence that American settlers struggling to make a living in the New World traveled somewhere in the Middle East for trade until decades later. Because there is no.

Since then, other detectors have unearthed 15 additional Arabic coins from the same era. 10 in Massachusetts, 3 in Rhode Island, and 2 in Connecticut. The other was found in North Carolina, and records show that some of Every’s men landed first.

“It seems that some of his crew were able to settle and integrate in New England,” said Connecticut archaeologist Sarah Sportsman. There, one of the coins was discovered in 2018 during an ongoing excavation of a farm in the 17th century.

“It was almost like a money laundering plan,” she said.

It sounds unthinkable now, but by pretending to be the slave trader, a new profession in New England in the 1690s, everyone was able to hide at a glance. On his way to the Bahamas, Bailey stopped by the island of Reunion in France to catch a black prisoner of war.

Unclear records indicate that a ship called Seaflower, used by pirates after abandoning Fancy, sailed along the east coast. He arrived in Newport, Rhode Island in 1696 with about four dozen slaves. A major hub of the North American slave trade In the 18th century.

Bachelor of Anthropology from the University of Rhode Island and an archaeological assistant in the exploration of the Weida Garry Pirate Ship, Bailey, 53, said: “Primary material showing that the American colony was a pirate operation base. There are a lot of them. ” Wrecked Cape Cod in the late 1980s.

Bailey, who works in security analysis in state prisons, published his findings in the research journal of the American Numismatic Society, an organization specializing in coin and medal research.

Archaeologists and historians familiar with but not involved in Bailey’s work believe that they are intrigued and shed new light on one of the world’s most permanent crime mysteries.

“Jim’s work is perfect. It’s a great story. It’s a really interesting story,” said Kevin McBride, a professor of archeology at the University of Connecticut.

Mark Hanna, an associate professor of history at the University of California, San Diego and an expert in early American piracy, said “I lost my heart” when I first saw a photo of Bailey’s coin. ..

“It was a big deal for me to find these coins,” said Hannah, author of the 2015 book “The Pirate’s Nest and the Rise of the British Empire.” The object-this little thing-can help me explain it. “

All exploits influenced Stevens-Johnson’s 2020 book “The Enemy of All Mankind.” PlayStation’s popular “Uncharted” series of video games. A movie version of Sony Pictures of “Uncharted” starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg and Antonio Banderas will be released in early 2022.

Bailey, who keeps his most valuable discoveries in a safe deposit box instead of at home, says he keeps digging.

“For me, it wasn’t always about money, it was about the thrill of hunting,” he said. “The only thing better than finding these objects is the long-lost story behind them.”

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