On This Day
1695 – Henry Every perpetrates one of the most profitable pirate raids in history with the capture of the Grand Mughal ship Ganj-i-Sawai. In response, Emperor Aurangzeb threatens to end all English trading in India.
Henry Every, also Avery or Evory (20 August 1659 – time of death uncertain, possibly 1699), sometimes erroneously given as Jack Avery or John Avery,[a] was an English pirate who operated in the Atlantic and Indian oceans in the mid-1690s. He probably used several aliases throughout his career, including Benjamin Bridgeman, and was known as Long Ben to his crewmen and associates.[b]
Dubbed “The Arch Pirate” and “The King of Pirates” by contemporaries, Every was infamous for being one of few major pirate captains to retire with his loot without being arrested or killed in battle, and for being the perpetrator of what has been called the most profitable pirate heist in history. Although Every’s career as a pirate lasted only two years, his exploits captured the public’s imagination, inspired others to take up piracy, and spawned works of literature.
Every began his pirate career while he was first mate aboard the warship Charles II. As the ship lay anchored in the northern Spanish harbor of Corunna, the crew grew discontented as Spain failed to deliver a letter of marque and Charles II’s owners failed to pay their wages, and they mutinied. Charles II was renamed the Fancy and Every elected as the new captain.
His most famous raid was on a 25-ship convoy of Grand Mughal vessels was making the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, including the treasure-laden Ghanjah dhow Ganj-i-sawai and its escort, the Fateh Muhammed. Joining forces with several pirate vessels, Every found himself in command of a small pirate squadron, and they were able to capture up to £600,000 in precious metals and jewels, equivalent to around £52m in 2010 prices, making him the richest pirate in the world. This caused considerable damage to England’s fragile relations with the Mughals, and a combined bounty of £1,000—an immense sum at the time—was offered for his capture by the Privy Council and the East India Company, leading to the first worldwide manhunt in recorded history.[c] Although a number of his crew were subsequently arrested, Every himself eluded capture, vanishing from all records in 1696; his whereabouts and activities after this period are unknown. Unconfirmed accounts state he may have changed his name and retired, quietly living out the rest of his life in either Britain or an unidentified tropical island, dying sometime after 1696. Colin Woodard stated that Every, in trying to launder his riches to currency, had been outsmarted by wealthy landowners and “died a poor beggar not being able to afford his own coffin.”[page needed] Others believe that Every’s treasure is unrecovered.
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Born On This Day
1885 – Elinor Wylie, American author and poet (d. 1928)
Elinor Morton Wylie (September 7, 1885 – December 16, 1928) was an American poet and novelist popular in the 1920s and 1930s. “She was famous during her life almost as much for her ethereal beauty and personality as for her melodious, sensuous poetry.”
Family and childhood
Elinor Wylie was born Elinor Morton Hoyt in Somerville, New Jersey, into a socially prominent family. Her grandfather, Henry M. Hoyt, was a governor of Pennsylvania. Her aunt was Helen Hoyt, a poet. Her parents were Henry Martyn Hoyt, Jr., who would be United States Solicitor General from 1903 to 1909; and Anne Morton McMichael (born July 31, 1861 in Pa.). Their other children were:
Henry Martyn Hoyt (May 8, 1887, in Pa. – August 25, 1920 in New York City) who married Alice Gordon Parker (1885–1951)
Constance A. Hoyt (May 20, 1889, in Pa. – 1923 in Bavaria, Germany) who married Ferdinand von Stumm-Halberg on March 30, 1910, in Washington, D.C.
Morton McMichael Hoyt (April 4, 1899, in Washington, D.C. – August 21, 1949, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), three times married and divorced Eugenia Bankhead, known as “Sister” and sister of Tallulah Bankhead
Nancy McMichael Hoyt (born October 1, 1902, in Washington, D.C. – 1949) romance novelist who wrote Elinor Wylie: The Portrait of an Unknown Woman (1935). She married Edward Davison Curtis; they divorced in 1932.
Because of her father’s political aspirations, Elinor spent much of her youth in Washington, DC. She was educated at Miss Baldwin’s School (1893–97), Mrs. Flint’s School (1897–1901), and finally Holton-Arms School (1901–04). In particular, from age 12 to 20, she lived in Washington again where she made her debut in the midst of the “city’s most prominent social élite,” being “trained for the life of a debutante and a society wife”.
“As a girl she was already bookish—not in the languid or inactive sense but girded, embraced by books, between whose covers lay the word-perfect world she sought. She grew into a tall, dark beauty in the classic 1920s style. Some who knew her claimed she was the most striking woman they ever met.”
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