An encrypted message from the 17th century reveals the secret of the Pirate King's disappearance

An encrypted message from the 17th century reveals the secret of the Pirate King's disappearance

A British marine archaeologist and wreck hunter uncover the best mystery in the history of piracy, the mystery of one of the most famous English pirates: Henry Avery.


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An engraving from 1878 shows the pirate ship Henry Every chasing the ship of the Mughal Emperor of India.  (Getty Images)

In the 17th century, he was dubbed the Pirate King: Henry Avery, born an orphan, was said to have chosen the path of piracy as revenge when the governor stole his inheritance. In 1695, with 160 men in his service, Henry Avery pulled off the most lucrative heist in pirate history, the ship of the richest man in the world, the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb of India, and found himself at the head of a group of pirates. Huge treasure. He then becomes the most wanted criminal of his time, dead or alive. But they disappear forever, or almost.

Because, in a book published Tuesday, April 2, entitled The Pirate King: The Strange Adventures of Henry Avery, Sean Kingsley, marine archaeologist, and Rex Cowan, wreck hunter, unveil the best-preserved mystery in the history of piracy. As he narrated it guardianHenry Avery is undoubtedly the pirate “To whom most of the books, poems and plays were dedicated.”. But the secret of his disappearance lies in a signed encrypted message “Avery the Pirate”, dated 1700, four years after his disappearance. This letter links Avery to one of the first major spy networks, which allegedly included Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, and Thomas Tennyson, Archbishop of Canterbury.

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The pirate who became a spy in the service of the king

This letter has remained forgotten, and has been misclassified in the archives of Scotland, but its authenticity leaves no room for doubt. We discover that Henry Avery, who was sometimes said to have died penniless in Devon, and sometimes to have fled to Madagascar, had in fact entered the service of King William III of England, as a spy, having exchanged part of his spoils for a royal pardon. Which explains it, Celine wrote “Everything that is interesting certainly happens in the shadows.” and that we often have to wait a very long time before we know the true history of men.

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