THE FIRST SOUTH SEA ADVENTURE:
Except where noted, all dates are Old Style (Julian Calendar), with the exception that Julian years have been aligned with modern, to begin on January 1 rather than March 1.
January 7, 1680 A small flotilla of buccaneers sets sail from Port Morant, Jamaica, for the Cartagena and Darien coasts.
February 1680 John Coxon leads more than 300 English and French buccaneers in the sack of Portobello under a dubious commission. The plunder is small, no more than one hundred pieces-of-eight per share.
April 5, 1680 John Coxon leads more than 300 men ashore at the Isthmus of Darien. The French who were with him at Portobello choose not to follow, but other English buccaneers join the adventure. The buccaneers are allied with the local Darien (Cuna) leader, and pretend to have his lawful commission to attack the Spanish.
April 15, 1680 Fifty buccaneers led by Richard Sawkins sack El Real de Santa Maria. The plunder is meagre. The buccaneers depart on April 17.
April 19, 1680 The buccaneers arrive at the Bay of Panama and soon capture a Spanish bark. Bartholomew Sharp is given command, and 137 buccaneers, especially those in small canoes, go aboard. A day later Peter Harris and a few buccaneers in a canoe capture a second Spanish bark. The buccaneers row and sail toward Panama but are widely dispersed.
April 21, 1680 The buccaneers briefly engage a Spanish armadilla bark. One buccaneer is killed and six or seven wounded.
April 23, 1680 Roughly 60 buccaneers defeat three Spanish armadilla barks at the Battle of Perico. Soon afterward they capture several Spanish ships at Perico, one of them after a brief fight. The Trinidad is made the command ship.
Edmund Cook is given command of a smaller prize. Peter Harris dies two days after the battle of Perico.
April 24-25, 1680 The buccaneers attempt to march on Panama but are easily repulsed. They quickly realize they do not have enough men to capture the city.
April 26, 1680 John Coxon is accused of not behaving bravely at Perico. He and 70 followers head back across Darien, taking some surgeons and much medicine with them. Richard Sawkins is elected commander-in-chief, although one journal suggests that he and Bartholomew Sharp share command.
May 2, 1680 The buccaneers anchor at Taboga Isle nearby to watch for shipping to and from Panama. Spanish merchants from Panama trade illicitly with the buccaneers.
May 10, 1680 While at Taboga, Capt. Sharp in his small bark capture the San Pedro sailing from Lima to Panama. They plunder the ship of 51,000 pieces-of- eight (the situado or payroll for the Panama garrison), 2000 jars of wine, 100 jars of gunpowder, and some silks.
May 22, 1680 Richard Sawkins is killed in action at Puebla Nueva, Veragua, when the buccaneers attempt to raid a cattle estancia for provisions. The buccaneers retreat, and Bartholomew Sharp is elected commander-in-chief.
May 31, 1680 More desertions: 63 buccaneers depart to return via Darien aboard Edmund Cook’s ship. In compensation Cook is given command of a bark captured at Puebla Nueva but soon after he gives up his captaincy to become a common “Souldiar.” Roughly 150 buccaneers remain.
June 6, 1680 The Trinity and her consort the Mayflower set a course for the Galapagos Islands.
June 17, 1680 The buccaneers begin careening their ships at the Isle of Gorgona, off the coast of Colombia. They set sail again on June 25.
August 13, 1680 The buccaneers take on provisions at the Isle of Plate, off the coast of Ecuador. They set sail again on August 17.
August 24, 1680 The buccaneers sight and chase a Spanish ship by night, and engage and capture her, discovering her to be a ship sent out to capture them.
August 28, 1680 The Mayflower, commanded by John Cox, is scuttled on purpose, being damaged and of no more use.
October 26, 1680 The buccaneers attempt to attack Arica, Chile but the countryside is ready for them and the sea runs too high to make a landing.
October 28, 1680 The buccaneers attack Ilo, Peru but by November 2 are repulsed.
December 3, 1680 The buccaneers sack La Serena at the Bay of Coquimbo, Chile, departing on December 7. There is little plunder.
December 25, 1680 The buccaneers begin refitting, provisioning, and “wood and watering” at Juan Fernandez Island. On January 2, Bartholomew Sharp is voted out of office and replaced by John Watling.
January 12, 1680 The buccaneers set sail and play “cat and mouse” for a day or two with three Spanish ships armed and sent after them but there is no fight.
William the Miskito striker is accidentally marooned on Juan Fernandez when the buccaneers set sail. He will not be rescued for three years.
January 30, 1681 The buccaneers attack Arica again and are soundly defeated. John Watling is killed in action and Bartholomew Sharp is named commander again.
March 12, 1681 The buccaneers attack Huasco, Chile. They depart on May 15.
March 27, 1681 The buccaneers attack Ilo, Peru, for a second time, again raiding the nearby sugar-works.
Spring 1681 The Spanish ship Santa Maria de la Consolación, learning that buccaneers are in the South Sea, in her haste to get into port runs aground and sinks at Santa Clara Isle in the Bay of Guayaquil. Over the years a rumor grows that Bartholomew Sharp and his buccaneers had been in pursuit of the ship, and that after the shipwreck his crew landed and tortured some of the crew. The persistent rumor is false: the buccaneers were never in pursuit, and knew nothing about the ship until some months after it had wrecked.
April 17, 1681 Near the Isle of Plate off the coast of Ecuador, more buccaneers “mutiny” against the progress of the voyage; 47 buccaneers and 5 slaves set sail in a launch and some canoes for Darien, among them William Dampier and Lionel Wafer, leaving only 65 men, including slaves, remaining under the command of Bartholomew Sharp.
May 1, 1681 The “mutineer” buccaneers land at Darien.
May 5, 1681 Lionel Wafer is seriously burned on the Isthmus of Darien by accident of another buccaneer drying wet gunpowder. He remains behind, along with two other buccaneers, while he heals. He is assisted by and lives among the Darien (Cuna) during this time.
May 7, 1681 The Trinity is refitted at the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica, and sets sail again on May 28.
May 24, 1681 William Dampier and the “mutineer” buccaneers board Capt. Tristian’s vessel anchored at La Sound’s (Capt. Lessone’s) Key, having finally made their way across the Isthmus of Darien.
June 6, 1681 The Trinity arrives at Golfo Dulce to careen, and sets sail again on June 28.
July 6, 1681 NS A seven ship pirate hunting flotilla, including two large galleons and a patache belonging to the Crown, and four hired armed merchantmen, sets sail from Callao in search of the buccaneers. It never finds them. (June 26 OS.)
July 8, 1681 Off the coast of Ecuador the buccaneers capture the San Pedro for a second time. Her cargo is largely cacao-nuts and a bit of plate.
July 28, 1681 Off the coast of Ecuador the buccaneers capture a Spanish packet boat.
There is little useful plunder.
July 29, 1681 Off the coast of Ecuador the buccaneers capture the Santo Rosario.
Aboard is a book of Spanish South Sea charts, an intelligence coup that will be provided to the English Crown. Also aboard is the “most beautiful woman” they buccaneers have seen in the South Sea. In the hold are seven hundred large “pigs” of silver which the buccaneers mistake for tin and ignore, a great loss. After plundering the ship, the buccaneers set her free.
August 12, 1681 The buccaneers “boot top” the Trinity at the Isle of Plate, and depart on August 16.
October 4, 1681 NS The San Lorenzo, armed with 20 brass guns and 150 men, sets sail south from Callao to seek the buccaneers. It never finds them. (September 24, OS.)
October 12, 1681 The buccaneers anchor at the Duke of York’s Isle to provision. They depart for the Strait of Magellan on November 5.
November 17, 1681 The Trinity rounds Cape Horn, having missed the Strait of Magellan.
January 30, 1682 The Trinity arrives at Antigua and most of the crew seek travel to England.
February, 1682 The several empty-handed buccaneers who were given the Trinity abandon it at St. Thomas.
May 18, 1682 Bartholomew Sharp, John Cox, and William Dick are arrested in London on charges of piracy against the Rosario.
June 10, 1682 Bartholomew Sharp, John Cox, and William Dick are acquitted of charges of piracy, the jury refusing to convict on the word of Spaniards or Africans.
August 10, 1683 Capt. Charles Carlile of the HMS Francis burns La Trompeuse, the ship of the notorious pirate Jean Hamlyn, at St. Thomas, and along with her the hulk of the Trinity which is being used as a pirate store-ship.