A coded letter from the 17th century reveals the mystery of the pirate king’s disappearance

A marine archaeologist and a British wreck hunter uncover the greatest mystery about one of the most famous English pirates in the history of piracy: Henry Avery.



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An 1878 engraving shows the pirate Henry's ship in pursuit of the Mughal Emperor of India.  (Getty Images)

In the 17th century he was nicknamed the King of Pirates: Henry Avery, born an orphan, is said to have chosen the path of piracy as revenge when a governor stole his inheritance. In 1695, with 160 men in his service, Henry Avery pulled off one of the most lucrative heists in pirate history, the ship of the world’s richest man, the Mughal Emperor of India, Aurangzeb, and found himself at a head. Tremendous treasure. He then becomes the most wanted criminal of his time, dead or alive. But it disappears forever or almost.

Because, the book, published on Tuesday, April 2, has the title The Pirate King: The Curious Adventures of Henry Avery, Sean Kingsley, a marine archaeologist, and Rex Cowan, a wreck hunter, uncover the best-kept secret in the history of piracy. said by guardianHenry Avery is undoubtedly a pirate “To whom have the most books, poems and plays been dedicated”. But the secret of his disappearance was in a coded letter, which was signed “Every the Pirate”, dated 1700, four years after his disappearance. The letter linked Avery to one of the first major espionage networks, which allegedly included Robinson Crusoe author Daniel Defoe and Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Tennyson.

A pirate who became a spy in the service of the king

The letter was forgotten, misclassified in the archives of Scotland, but there is little doubt of its authenticity. We find that Henry Avery, who is sometimes said to have died penniless in Devon, sometimes to have fled to Madagascar, had in reality entered the service of King William III of England as a spy, after exchanging a portion of his spoils in return. Royal pardon. Which shows, as Selin wrote, that “All that is interesting happens surely in the shadows” And that we often have to wait before knowing the true history of men.

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