Pirates in Panama History
| Andrew Barker, of Bristol sail to the Caribbean in 1576
with two ships, the Ragged Staff and the Bear. They arrived
off the coast of Nombre de Diós, and continued on to the Rio de los
Lagartos (Chagres River), (this was before the fortress of San Lorenzo was
built). Barker landed on the banks of the river, along with ten of his
men. They walked into the jungle for three or four days, searching for a
community of Cimarron's (escaped Negro slaves, and some mixed with Indian
blood), to help and guide them capture Spanish towns in Panama. They were
not able to find the Cimarron's and returned to their ships.
At the ships, some of the men had already fallen sick with a fever referred to by the locals as "Calentura" (Malaria). Within days, a good many were sick, and at the end of 14 days, about 9 were dead.
They then sailed west, and along the coast of Veraguas, they captured a Spanish merchant frigate. He put the frigate's crew ashore, and kept it. On board, he found some gold, and 4 cast cannons, that he removed and carried them back to England with him.
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Bruce C. Ruiz
August 22, 2002