1806, Bahamas, George Iii. Beautiful Colonial Copper Penny Coin. Ngc Au-50 For Sale
1806, Bahamas, George III. Beautiful Colonial Copper Penny Coin. NGC AU-50!
Commemorating the Expulsion of Pirates from the island!
Mint Year: 1806
Reference: KM-1. R!
Mintage: 120,000 pcs.
Mint Place: Soho (Birmingham, UK)
Condition: Certified and graded by NGC as AU-50 BN!
Denomination: Penny - Commemorating the restoration of commerce by the Expulsion of Pirates from the Islands!
Obverse: Laureate and draped bust of George III right. Date (1806) below.
Legend: GEORGIVS III . D:G . REX . 1806
Reverse: Large British man-of-war ship at sea. Island landscape and a second ship in background.
Legend: EXPULSES PIRATIS / RESTITUTA / COMMERCIA ("Commerce restored by the expulsion of pirates!")
The Island Assembly ordered 500 pound currency of these pieces in 1803 to act a small change for 'petty dealers and negroes'. Although the size of a British halfpenny, the obverse die used to strike them was a British halfpenny die, they were to circulate in the Bahamas at a penny. The reverse commemorates the victory of Captain Wodes Rogers over pirates in 1717. The issue was rejected on the island. The sterling system was adopted there on 24 December 1838.
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The Bahamas, officially the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, is a country consisting of more than 3,000 islands, cays and islets in the Atlantic Ocean, north of Cuba and Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), northwest of the Turks and Caicos Islands, southeast of the US state of Florida and east of the Florida Keys. Its capital is Nassau on the island of New Providence. Geographically, the Bahamas lie near to island chain to Cuba,which is part of the Greater Antilles,along with Hispaniola and Jamaica. The designation of "Bahamas" refers to the country and the geographic chain that it shares with the Turks and Caicos Islands.The three West Indies/Caribbean island groupings are, The Bahamas, The Greater Antilles and The Lesser Antilles. As stated on the mandate/ manifesto of The Royal Bahamas Defence Force, The Bahamas territory encompasses 180,000 square miles of ocean space. From the Cay Sal Bank and Cay Lobos (just off of the coast of Cuba)in the west, to San Salvador, The Bahamas is much larger than it is recorded in some sources.
In 1648 a group from Bermuda called 'The Company of Adventurers for the Plantation of the Islands of Eleutheria' which was led by William Sayle, sailed to the Bahamas to found a colony. These early settlers were Puritans and republicans. Bermuda was also becoming overcrowded, and the Bahamas offered both religious and political freedom and economic opportunity. The larger of the company's two ships, the William, wrecked on the reef at the north end of what is now called Eleuthera Island, with the loss of all provisions. Despite the arrival of additional settlers, including whites, slaves and free blacks, from Bermuda and the receipt of relief supplies from Virginia and New England, the Eleuthera colony struggled for many years because of poor soil, fighting between settlers, and conflict with the Spanish. In the mid-1650s many of the settlers returned to Bermuda. The remaining settlers founded communities on Harbour Island and Saint George's Cay (Spanish Wells) at the north end of Eleuthera. In 1670 there were about 20 families living in the Eleuthera communities.
In 1666 other settlers from Bermuda arrived on New Providence, which soon became the center of population and commerce in the Bahamas, with almost 500 people living on the island by 1670. Unlike the Eleutherians, who were primarily farmers, the first settlers on New Providence made their living from the sea, salvaging (mainly Spanish) wrecks, making salt, and taking fish, turtles, conchs and ambergris. Farmers from Bermuda soon followed the seamen to New Providence, where they found good, plentiful land. Neither the Eleutherian colony nor the settlement on New Providence had any legal standing under English law. In 1670 the Proprietors of Carolina were issued a patent for the Bahamas, but the governors sent by the Proprietors had difficulty in imposing their authority on the independent-minded residents of New Providence.
The early settlers continued to live much as they had in Bermuda, fishing, hunting turtles, whales, and seals, finding ambergris, making salt on the drier islands, cutting the abundant hardwoods of the islands for lumber, dyewood and medicinal bark, and wrecking, or salvaging wrecks. The Bahamas were close to the sailing routes between Europe and the Caribbean, so shipwrecks in the islands were common, and wrecking was the most lucrative occupation available to the Bahamians.
The Bahamians soon came into conflict with the Spanish over the salvaging of wrecks. The Bahamian wreckers drove the Spanish away from their wrecked ships, and even attacked the Spanish salvagers and seized goods the Spanish had already recovered from the wrecks. The Spanish raided the Bahamas, the Bahamians in turn commissioned privateers against Spain, even though England and Spain were at peace, and in 1684 the Spanish burned the settlements on New Providence and Eleuthera, after which they were largely abandoned. New Providence was settled a second time in 1686 from Jamaica.
In the 1690s English privateers (England was at war with France) established themselves in the Bahamas. In 1696 Henry Every (or Avery), using the assumed name Henry Bridgeman, brought his ship Fancy, loaded with pirate's loot, into Nassau harbor. Every bribed the governor, Nicholas Trott (uncle of the Nicholas Trott who presided at the trial of Stede Bonnet), with gold and silver, and by leaving him the Fancy, still loaded with 50 tons of elephant tusks and 100 barrels of gunpowder. Following peace with France in 1697 many of the privateers became the pirates. From this time the pirates increasingly made the Bahamian capitol of Nassau, founded in 1694, their base. The governors appointed by the Proprietors usually made a show of suppressing the pirates, but most were often accused of dealing with the pirates. By 1701 England was at war with France and Spain. In 1703 and in 1706 combined French-Spanish fleets attacked and sacked Nassau, after which some settlers left and the Proprietors gave up on trying to govern the Bahamas.
With no functioning government in the Bahamas, Nassau became a base of operations for English privateers, in what has been called a "privateers' republic," which lasted for eleven years. The raiders attacked French and Spanish ships, while French and Spanish forces burned Nassau several times. The War of the Spanish Succession ended in 1714, but some privateers were slow to get the news, or reluctant to accept it, and slipped into piracy. One estimate puts at least 1,000 pirates in the Bahamas in 1713, outnumbering the 200 families of more permanent settlers. The "privateers' republic" in Nassau became a "pirates' republic". At least 20 pirate captains used Nassau or other places in the Bahamas as a home port during this period, including Henry Jennings, Edward Teach (Blackbeard), Benjamin Hornigold and Stede Bonnet. Many settler families moved from New Providence to Eleuthera or Abaco to escape harassment from the pirates. On the other hand, residents of Harbor Island were happy to serve as middlemen for the pirates, as merchants from New England and Virginia came there to exchange needed supplies for pirate plunder. As mentioned above, the activities of pirates provoked frequent and brutal retaliatory attacks by the French and Spanish.
The "pirates' republic" came to an end in 1718, when Woodes Rogers, the first Royal Governor of the Bahamas, reached Nassau with a small fleet of warships. Starting in 1713, Rogers had conceived the idea of leading an expedition to Madagascar to suppress the pirates there and establish it as a British colony. Rogers' friends Richard Steele and Joseph Addison eventually convinced him to tackle the pirates nest in the Bahamas, instead. Rogers and others formed a company to fund the venture. They persuaded the Proprietors of Carolina to surrender the government of the Bahamas to the king, while retaining title to the land. The 1,000 or so pirates on the islands surrendered peacefully and the Proprietors then leased their land in the Bahamas to Rogers' company for 21 years. In 1717 King George appointed Rogers governor of the Bahamas and issued a proclamation granting a pardon to any pirate who surrendered to a British governor within one year.
Word of the appointment of a new governor and of the offer of pardons reached Nassau ahead of Rogers. Some of the pirates were willing to accept a pardon and retire from piracy. Others were not ready to give up. Many of those were Jacobites, supporters of the House of Stuart, who regarded themselves as enemies of the Hanoverian King George. Still others simply saw themselves as rebels, or thought they were better off as pirates than trying to earn an honest living. When a Royal Navy ship brought official word to Nassau of the pardon offer, it seemed at first that most of the pirates in Nassau would accept. Soon, however, the recalcitrant party gained the upper hand, eventually forcing the Navy ship to leave.
Some pirates, such as Henry Jennings and Christopher Winter, sailed off to find British authorities to confirm their acceptance of the amnesty. Others, such as Blackbeard, Stede Bonnet, Nicholas Brown and Edmond Condent, left the Bahamas for other territories. Charles Vane, with "Calico Jack" Rackham and Edward England in his crew, came to prominence at this time. Vane worked to organize resistance to the anticipated arrival of Royal authority, even appealing to the James Francis Edward Stuart, the Stuart pretender, for aid in holding the Bahamas and capturing Bermuda for the Stuarts. As aid from the Stuarts failed to materialize and Rogers' arrival approached, Vane and his crew prepared to leave Nassau.
Woodes Rogers arrived in Nassau in late July 1718, with his own 460 ton warship, three other ships belonging to his company, and escorted by three ships of the Royal Navy. Vane's ship was trapped in Nassau harbor. His crew set that ship on fire, sending it towards Rogers' ships, and escaped in the ensuing confusion in a smaller ship they had seized from another pirate. Rogers' arrival in Nassau was welcomed by the remaining population, about 200 settlers and 500 to 700 pirates who want to receive pardons, most prominently Benjamin Hornigold.
Rogers had control of Nassau, but Charles Vane was loose and threatening to drive Rogers out, and Rogers received word that the King of Spain wanted to drive the English completely out of the Bahamas. Rogers worked to improve the defenses of Nassau, but an unidentified disease killed almost 100 of the men who had come to Nassau with Rogers, and then the Navy ships left. Rogers sent four of his ships to Havana to assure the Spanish governor that Rogers was suppressing piracy in the Bahamas and to trade for supplies. The crews of ex-pirates and men who had come with Rogers all turned pirate themselves. Ten of those men were caught at Green Turtle Cay by Rogers' new pirate-hunter, the ex-pirate Benjamin Hornigold. Eight of the pirates were found guilty and hanged in front of the fort.
Charles Vane attacked several small settlements in the Bahamas, but after he refused to attack a stronger French frigate, he was deposed for cowardice and replaced as captain by "Calico Jack" Rackham. Vane never returned to the Bahamas, but was eventually caught, tried and executed in Jamaica. After nearly being captured by Jamaican privateers, and hearing that the king had extended the deadline being pardoned for piracy, Rackham and his crew returned to Nassau and received pardons from Woodes Rogers. In Nassau Rackham became involved with Anne Bonny and tried to arrange an annulment of her marriage to another ex-pirate, James Bonny. Rogers blocked the annulment, and Rackham and Bonny left Nassau to be pirates again, taking a small crew and Bonny's friend Mary Read with them. Within months, Rackham, Bonny and Read were captured and taken to Jamaica, where Rackham was executed and Bonny and Read escaped execution due to pregnancy. Bonny died in prison, while Read's fate is unknown.
Britain and Spain went to war again in 1719, and many of the ex-pirates became privateers. A Spanish invasion fleet set out for the Bahamas, but was diverted to Pensacola, Florida when it was seized by the French. Rogers continued to improve the defenses of Nassau, spending his money and going heavily into debt to do so. A second Spanish invasion fleet in 1720 was deterred by the defenses (and the accidental presence of a Royal Navy ship in Nassau). His efforts has also physically exhausted Rogers. He returned to Britain in 1722 to plead for repayment of the money he had borrowed to build up Nassau, only to find he had been replaced as governor. He then ended up in debtors' prison, although his creditors later absolved his debts, allowing him to leave prison. After the publication in 1724 of A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates, which gave a favorable account of Rogers' efforts to suppress piracy in the Bahamas, his fortunes began to improve. The king awarded him a pension, retroactive to 1721, and in 1728 appointed Governor of the Bahamas for a second term. Rogers dissolved the colony's assembly when it would not approve taxes to repair Nassau's defenses. Woodes Rogers died in Nassau in 1732.
William Shirley, former governor of Massachusetts, was appointed governor of the Bahamas in 1758 and served until 1770.
During the American War of Independence the Bahamas fell to Spanish forces under General Galvez in 1782. A British-American loyalist expedition led by Colonel Andrew Deveaux, later recaptured the islands. After the American Revolution, the British issued land grants to American Loyalists, and the sparse population of the Bahamas tripled within a few years. Cotton growing soon became established, but it eventually dwindled from insect damage and soil exhaustion. Most of the current inhabitants are descended from the slaves brought to work on the Loyalist plantations, or from liberated Africans set free by the British navy after the abolition of the slave trade in the British Empire in 1807. Plantation life ended with the British emancipation of slaves in 1834.
During the American Civil War, the Bahamas prospered as a base for Confederate blockade-running, bringing in cotton for the mills of England and running out arms and munitions. During Prohibition after World War I, the islands were a base for American rum-runners,smuggling liquor into the US. None of these provided any lasting prosperity to the islands, nor did attempts to grow various crops. After emancipation Caribbean societies inherited a rigid racial stratification that was reinforced by the unequal distribution of wealth and power. The three-tier race structure, which existed well into the 1940s and in some societies beyond, upheld the belief of European racial superiority, although most West Indians are of African descent. Race and racial attitudes remain important in mixed Caribbean societies.
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1806, Bahamas, George Iii. Beautiful Colonial Copper Penny Coin. Ngc Au-50: $255