Ancient Coins Found In Rhode Island May Solve The Mystery Of A Murderous 1600s Pirate

Ancient Coins Found In Rhode Island May Solve The Mystery Of A Murderous 1600s Pirate

This 17th-century pocket change belonging to pirate Capt. Henry Every is among the oldest currencies to be found in North America.

Important discoveries from the past can give us clues about how life was back then. One of the most favorite items for historians and archaeologists to decipher are coins. Coins can not only give you clues about a society's paradigm during its time of production but also provide insight into the culture and rulers of the time. A bunch of coins was unearthed from a pick-your-own-fruit orchard in rural Rhode Island and other random parts of New England. This discovery is shedding more light on one of the most notorious figures to ever grace the annals of history - Henry Every, NBC reports. 



Every was a murderous English pirate who became the world's most-wanted criminal after pulling off one of the most elaborate heists of all time. He and his crew were well known for plundering dozens of ships in the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. Henry Every was known as "The King of Pirates" or "The Arch Pirate" by his peers and contemporaries. He was one of the few major pirate captains to escape with his loot without ever being arrested or killed in battle.



Regarding the recent discovery of coins, it is said to be among the oldest ever found in North America.  “It’s a new history of a nearly perfect crime,” said Jim Bailey, an amateur historian and metal detectorist who found the first intact 17th-century Arabian coin in a meadow in Middletown. The story dates back to Sept 7, 1695, when Every, commandeering the pirate ship Fancy, ambushed and captured the magnificent Ganj-i-Sawai, a royal flagship owned by Indian emperor Aurangzeb, who was one of the world's most powerful men at the time. There were tens of millions in gold and silver on the ship, and many pilgrims who were returning from Mecca. It proved to be the most lucrative and notorious thefts of all time. 



According to historical accounts, English King William III, under enormous pressure from an outraged Mughal Empire and the East India Trading Company, had launched the very first manhunt with a large bounty on the heads of Every and his crew. “If you Google ‘first worldwide manhunt,’ it comes up as Every,” Bailey said. “Everybody was looking for these guys.”. According to popular lore, Every would eventually head to Ireland late in his life, and the trail goes cold after that. 



The first complete coin surfaced in 2014 at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown. Bailey had waved a metal detector over the soil and got a signal. He dug down and found the darkened, dime-sized silver coin that was initially assumed to be of Spanish origin. But looking closer, the Arabic text is visible, and it proves that it was part of Every's heist. “It seems like some of his crew were able to settle in New England and integrate,” said Sarah Sportman, state archaeologist for Connecticut, where one of the coins was found in 2018 at the ongoing excavation of a 17th-century farm site.

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