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Selling Criminals to the Colonists

In the last few years, Great Britain has been adding to the list crimes deserving of the death penalty including highway robbery, cattle rustling, and hiding assets from one's creditors while declaring bankruptcy. For lesser crimes, punishments range from public humiliation to exile in the British colonies. Giving the boot to the bad boys has been going on for many years, but the British courts are now SELLING them to Maryland and Virgina colonists to work off their sentences in the tobacco fields. About 15% of the criminals are dying in transit across the Atlantic. The rest arrive so ill that it is difficult for the colonists to justify the shipping costs. Nevertheless, it looks like a good deal for Great Britain. They are getting rid of all their rebels, troublemakers and malcontents and dumping them on a continent far, far away. In 1788, Australia will benefit from a similar transfer of undesirables when the British establish a penal colony at Botany Bay. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I am delighted to know that the United States and Australia have the distinction of being large scale dumping grounds for people who just refused to toe the line. Great Britain was creating the American Revolution in more ways than one by simply collecting all the troublesome eggs into one basket. In the modern day we no longer banish prisoners to a penal colony, but putting prisoners to work remains a touchy subject. For example, if prisoners grow their own food then the local farmers lose a government contract to sell food to the prison. Farmers vote. Prisoners don't, so the taxpayer foots the bill. Years ago communist China used prison labor to make products sold in the USA. As far as I know, using prison labor is no longer the official policy in China, but there are reports of Chinese prisoners being forced to play video games to build up the scores for their guards. I suppose there are worse things. [3] [4] [5]

Remember the Alamo? A New Mission Is Built in Texas

A Roman Catholic Mission is built this year at the headwaters of San Pedro Creek as part of a project to establish way stations for Spanish colonists as they move into Texas. It also serves to covert the Indians to Christianity. It is named Misión San Antonio de Valero and in later years it will be known simply as The Alamo. A fort is built nearby and a small community springs up called San Antonio de Bexar. Currently the mission is not much more than a mud hut. By next year a more substantial facility will be built close to the Alamo's modern site but in 1724, a hurricane will damage the buildings and the mission will be relocated yet again... where the Alamo will remain into the modern day. [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Exactly why the mission was called "The Alamo" is a matter of speculation. In Spanish it means "cottonwood" or "poplar" and may have referred to trees in the area, but another theory is that in 1803 a military company occupied the compound. It was known simply as the Alamo Company and the name became associated with the mission itself. Of course in 1836 during the Texas Revolution for independence from Mexico, President Santa Anna laid siege to the Alamo and in a vicious battle killed all the defenders including Davie Crockett, Colonel James Bowie, and Colonel William B. Travis, the commander of the forces at the Alamo. Later, the cry of "Remember the Alamo!" drove the Texans to victory at the Battle of San Jacinto. The Texas Revolution lasted all of 6 months and the Republic of Texas was born. [8]

Yo, Ho, Ho! Blackbeard and Queen Anne's Revenge!

Blackbeard the Pirate has many names. The most used by historians is Edward Teach, but this is likely a false name. It is the Golden Age of Piracy and most pirates expect to return to their previous lives once they have made their fortunes. Blackbeard gets his name from a description of him as having a "very black beard which he wore very long". Last year he waylaid a ship which he took for himself and renamed it "Queen Anne's Revenge." It boasts 40 guns and with it, Blackbeard builds up a fleet of ships. He grants himself the rank of Commodore and uses his fleet to blockade the port of Charles Town (now known as Charleston, South Carolina). Several ships are ransacked and he threatens to send the heads of his prisoners to the Governor if he isn't provided the medical supplies that he needs. The supplies arrive late but excuses are accepted and Blackbeard sails on. A large reward is offered for him, dead or alive. He is finally killed in battle when he tries to capture a ship that has troops hidden below decks. It is a trap and it works. Blackbeard's body is thrown overboard but his head is carried back to collect the reward. [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I've left a lot out of this story. It is worth looking into but Blackbeard's story runs along the same lines as Captain Kidd. The English government didn't like piracy near home but it tolerated it near the colonies as long as the pirates were not too successful. (Blockading Charleston was probably going a little too far.) The pirates remained a ready resource as privateers and the English were willing to issue pardons in order to gain the pirates' support in disrupting Spanish shipping. Not much is known about Blackbeard's past but he was educated and gave the appearance that he was comfortable dealing with government officials. That suggests that he was once part of those circles, but it is only a supposition. The fact that he named his ship "Queen Anne's Revenge" suggests that he once participated in Queen Anne's War... but then again... who didn't?

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1718, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 328-329. “Founding of New Orleans by Mississippi Company” 
  2. Botany Bay - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 January 2016. “Eighteen years later, in 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip sailed the armed tender HMS Supply into the bay on 18 January. Two days later the remaining ships of the First Fleet arrived to found the planned penal colony.”
  3. Primark investigating 'forced labor' notes found in clothes. CNN (June 26, 2014). Retrieved on 26 January 2016. “Since 2009, the company's ethical standards team has carried out nine inspections of the supplier who made the garment, and found no prison or forced labor of any kind, the statement said.”
  4. China used prisoners in lucrative internet gaming work. The Guardian (May 25, 2011). Retrieved on 26 January 2016. “Liu says he was one of scores of prisoners forced to play online games to build up credits that prison guards would then trade for real money. The 54-year-old, a former prison guard who was jailed for three years in 2004 for 'illegally petitioning' the central government about corruption in his hometown, reckons the operation was even more lucrative than the physical labour that prisoners were also forced to do.”
  5. Doing Time on a Southern Prison Farm. Mother Jones (April 19, 2013). Retrieved on 26 January 2016. “In 2005, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that only 298 facilities still employed inmates in agricultural labor, a 12 percent drop from 1990. The nation's remaining farms, such as Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, feel anachronistic, or like relics of a system that reduced convicts to sheer manpower.”
  6. Alamo Facts - Interesting facts you may not know about The Alamo.. The Alamo (OFFICIAL SITE) (2015). Retrieved on 12 September 2015. “The original mission was founded near the headwaters of San Pedro Creek in 1718. In 1719 the mission was relocated a short distance to the south of where we are today. A 1724 storm destroyed structures at the new site, prompting Spanish officials to relocate the mission to its present spot. It was the mission compound constructed here at the 1724 location that later gained fame as the Alamo.”
  7. Alamo Mission in San Antonio - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 27 January 2016. “Within a year, the mission moved to the western bank of the river, where it was less likely to flood.[10] Over the next several years, a chain of missions were established nearby. In 1724, after remants of a Gulf Coast hurricane destroyed the existing structures at Mission San Antonio de Valero, the mission was moved to its current location. At the time, the new location was just across the San Antonio River from the town of San Antonio de Bexar, and just north of a group of huts known as La Villita.”
  8. Texas Revolution - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 27 January 2016. “Many Mexican soldiers retreated through the marsh to Peggy Lake. Texian riflemen stationed themselves on the banks and shot at anything that moved. Many Texian officers, including Houston and Rusk, attempted to stop the slaughter, but they were unable to gain control of the men. Texians continued to chant 'Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!' while frightened Mexican infantry yelled 'Me no Alamo!' and begged for mercy to no avail.”
  9. Lee, Robert E.. Blackbeard the Pirate: a Reappraisal of his Life and Times. J. F. Blair. ISBN 0910244774. 
  10. Blackbeard - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 January 2016. “He may have been a sailor on privateer ships during Queen Anne's War before settling on the Bahamian island of New Providence, a base for Captain Benjamin Hornigold, whose crew Teach joined sometime around 1716.”

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