Professional Research & Maritime Historian, Author, & Conservator

Lords Proprietors of Carolina

Pirate Biographies– Lords Proprietors of Carolina

While the preceding passage appears in Quest for Blackbeard, the genealogies of various pirates will be explored in similar depth in Brooks’ Dictionary of Pyrate Biography, currently in the planning stages.

Brooks has over 35 years of experience in genealogical research, has worked as a professional genealogist, and lately studied in the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University as a professional historian.

His peer-reviewed article, “ ‘Born in Jamaica of Very Creditable Parents’ or ‘A Bristol Man Born’? Excavating the Real Edward Thache, ‘Blackbeard the Pirate’ “ in the July issue of North Carolina Historical Review includes the genealogy of the most famous pirate of them all! It’s expanded upon in Quest.

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England agreed with France and Spain that there would be no peace in America and they attempted virtual theft of possessions, including each others'.  King Charles I granted Robert Heath all the land in America between the latitudes of 31o and 36o in 1629, land claimed at that time by his most Catholic Majesty, Phillip III of Spain.  Heath never took possession of this land of “Carolana” and so the grant passed from hand to hand until it became virtually lost until just before 1700—it essentially became Daniel Cox’s possession of Louisiana, though still called “Carolana.”




















1722 Interpretation of Daniel Cox Jr.’s map of “Carolana”

Twenty years later, King Charles I of England, called in Latin “Carolus,” was beheaded for his Catholicism and defiance of Parliament. His son, Charles II would honor those men who had helped restore him to the throne in 1660 with a new grant and deed, exactly as stated in Heath’s.  Timeless legal practice influenced the reiteration of the names of the first eight Lords Proprietors of Carolina in the charter of 1663, indeed, no less than thirty-four times.  Edward Earl of Clarendon, George Duke of Albemarle, William Lord Craven, John Lord Berkley, Anthony Lord Ashley, Sir George Carteret, Sir William Berkley, and Sir John Colleton all gained possession of:

… all that territory or tract of ground, scituate, lying and being within our dominions of America, extending from the north end of the island called Lucke island, which lieth in the southern Virginia seas, and within six and thirty degrees of the northern latitude, and to the west as far as the south seas, and so southerly as far as the river St Matthias, which bordereth upon the coast of Florida, and within one and thirty degrees of northern latitude, and so west in a direct line as far as the south seas aforesaid.

The king intended the grant to focus most immediately upon the needs of the wealthy West Indian merchants of Carolina, islands which had filled long ago with daredevils and merchants, made rich by the sugar trade.  In fact, by 1663, the Europeans on Barbados had already laid that island to waste and needed another place to go.  Of course, Barbadians, used to living on an island even before they came to tiny Barbados, still could barely conceive of the real estate acquired by the Lords Proprieters in the Carolina Charter.  In 1663, Carolina extended nearly 325 miles north to south and over 2,500 miles from the Atlantic Ocean to the “South Seas,” or the Pacific.   Of course, neither the Lords Proprietors, nor the king could have imagined the sheer immensity of that grant.

These earlier English visitors had trespassed upon Spanish soil, as King Charles II had when he granted the Carolina Charter to these eight English noblemen.  These were noblemen, all Tory supporters in the political and military battles that restored Charles II to the throne following his father’s beheading and eleven years of subsequent parliamentary rule.  Virginia statesman and writer William Byrd II justified English possession of Carolina in his Westover Manuscripts.  He penned that “Both the French and Spaniards had… long ago taken possession… of Carolina; but finding it produced neither gold nor silver, as they greedily expected, and meeting such returns from the Indians as their own cruelty and treachery deserved, they totally abandoned it.”   Byrd, intelligent and distinctly possessed of a sarcastic wit, well understood the irony involved in any reference to English claims versus Spanish, especially in regard to America’s natives.  His stylistic writing style remains quite entertaining today.  He admired the Quakers, quite literally, for their benevolent restraint and their tendency toward decency in purchasing land from the natives.  As he said, it “saved them from many wars and massacres wherein the other colonies have been indiscreetly involved.”   Of course, Spain still claimed this land.  As to the English usurpation of the Spanish territory of northern La Florida, that indiscretion invited numerous battles between Carolinians and the Spanish military forces of St. Augustine. 

Conflicts with the Spanish did not deter these Barbadians.  Through sheer hubris, a second charter refined the first “at the humble request of the said grantees,” and enlarged the deed granted to the Lords Proprietors.   Dated June 30, 1665, while this new charter clarified the boundary with Carolina’s northern neighbor of Virginia and added another 69 miles north of the former boundary, it also added another 125 miles farther south than the previous charter.  This laid further claim to the already well-established Spanish territory of La Florida, including the city of St. Augustine, founded a full century before by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés.  It also included the town of Pensacola which, technically, had been abandoned before 1665, but was resettled two years after, no doubt in response to this most recent English intrusion into their territory.  The sheer size of Carolina was immense, as can be seen in the graphic in Figure 1.




















Figure 1: Carolina Charters of 1663 and 1665 – Source: Google Earth map annotated by Baylus C. Brooks. Detail to right shows Colin Woodard’s views from the book American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North Americashowing the Deep South’s genesis from Barbadian-founded Carolina. The map below shows the proliferation of West Indian ideology and practices upon slavery in America.




















Early European mercantile efforts in America were little better than piracy.  This must be taken into account when analyzing the motivations of the first Europeans to found habitations on the American mainland.  These habitations became factories for processing the immense wealth found there and the treasures stolen from their rivals in America.

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