Pirates! ... Privateers! ... Lawyers!

July 31, 2024 - 7pm to 8pm

John J Smith

In the Age of Elizabeth I, England became a formidable sea power. Her Royal Navy was weak, but her merchant fleet was aggressive, entrepreneurial, and opportunistic and it sought to expand trade with settlements across the seas. Much of its “trade” with Spain’s New World colonies was procured under threat from English gunships, and by the diversion of Spanish shipments of gold, silver, and precious jewels to English ports, where land-based merchants would offer handsome rewards.  

This talks offers some reasonable speculation and review a few known facts about the “adventurers” who invested in the Popham Colony and the sailors and “colonists/shipwrights” who built Fort St George and Virginia in 1607-08.   It will then examine the contributions made by piracy and privateering that, coupled with royal collusion and local admiralty courts, contributed to the venture we call the Popham Colony.

This is the fourth of the 2024 Summer Lecture Series. This year the lectures will be held on Wednesday evenings at the Bath Freight Shed (27 Commercial St, Bath Maine). Recordings will be available here a couple of days later.  

The lectures are free, but if you consider them valuable, please donate to Maine’s First Ship either in person or online.tal

John J. Smith is a retired attorney who is intrigued by Maine’s First Ship – both the boat and the organization. He serves as a docent for MFS and is one of its Board of Directors. A summer resident of Georgetown, Maine, and Washington, DC, he is an amateur historian and a confirmed landlubber, but seeks to expand his appreciation of things nautical, and to share it with others.