Captain Morgan Rum, which is among the most popular rums globally today has a very interesting and unique history that is replete with intrigues, betrayals and a dare devil attitude which almost seems fictional and as they say too good to be true.
The namesake of this popular rum was a man of complexities, contradictions and someone who transcended the philosophy of ‘Beyond Good and Evil’.
A loyal subject of the British Empire who played an instrumental role in the unbelievable transformation of a rainy, obscure European island into the biggest and most formidable empire in the modern world.
Henry Morgan was a dreaded 17th century buccaneer of Welsh heritage who looted Spanish cargos in the Caribbean very audaciously, at times undertaking such daring missions that he became a living legend among the British sponsored Sea pirates who looted Spanish and Portuguese ships. He also gave a part of the plundered booty to the British crown as tax – Don’t be surprised! yes these were the humble and rather inglorious beginnings of the glorious empire where the sun would never set.
What distinguished Henry Morgan from other pirates and raiders was his entrepreneurial knack.
With the money and silver he looted from Spanish ships, he bought sugarcane and tobacco plantations in Jamaica, administered them efficiently and soon became the richest landowner in the Caribbean island.
As his fortune grew, so did his intrepid and ferocious reputation. And soon the British appointed him the Lieutenant Governor of Jamaica.
When Henry Morgan died in 1688, he was buried with full state honours and accorded a 21 gun royal salute.
The burly, moustached man with piercing gaze, in heavy boots and a red hat, holding a sword, standing firmly with one foot stomping on what looks like a barrel of rum, whom we see on the bottle of the popular 'Captain Morgan' Rum is inspired from the sketch of the legendary Henry Morgan.
Rather the rum brand is named after this fabled pirate turned administrator turned British national hero.
PS: I am not a fan of colonial mercenaries and privateers, but the mellow and smoky taste of Captain Morgan original prompted me to write this. :D