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A handful of coins unearthed from a pick-your-own-fruit orchard in rural Rhode Island and other random corners of New England may help solve one of the planet’s oldest cold cases.
The villain in this tale: a murderous English pirate who became the world’s most-wanted criminal after plundering a ship carrying Muslim pilgrims home to India from Mecca, then eluded capture by posing as a slave trader.
“It’s a new history of a nearly perfect crime,” said Jim Bailey, an amateur historian and metal detectorist who found the first intact 17th-century Arabian coin in a meadow in Middletown.
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That ancient pocket change — among the oldest ever found in North America — could explain how pirate Capt. Henry Every vanished into the wind.
On Sept. 7, 1695, the pirate ship Fancy, commanded by Every, ambushed and captured the Ganj-i-Sawai, a royal vessel owned by Indian emperor Aurangzeb, then one of the world’s most powerful men. Aboard were not only the worshipers returning from their pilgrimage but tens of millions of dollars worth of gold and silver.
What followed was one of the most lucrative and heinous robberies of all time.
Historical accounts say his band tortured and killed the men aboard the Indian ship and raped the women before escaping to the Bahamas, a haven for pirates. But word quickly spread of their crimes, and English King William III — under enormous pressure from a scandalized India and the East India Company trading giant — put a large bounty on their heads.
“If you Google ‘first worldwide manhunt,’ it comes up as Every,” Bailey said. “Everybody was looking for these guys.”
Until now, historians only knew that Every eventually sailed to Ireland in 1696, where the trail went cold. But Bailey says the coins he and others have found are evidence the notorious pirate first made his way to the American colonies, where he and his crew used the plunder for day-to-day expenses while on the run.
The first complete coin surfaced in 2014 at Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, a spot that had piqued Bailey’s curiosity two years earlier after he found old colonial coins, an 18th-century shoe buckle, and some musket balls.
Waving a metal detector over the soil, he got a signal, dug down, and hit literal paydirt: a darkened, dime-sized silver coin he initially assumed was either Spanish or money minted by the Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Peering closer, the Arabic text on the coin got his pulse racing. “I thought, ‘Oh my God,'” he said.
Research confirmed the exotic coin was minted in 1693 in Yemen. That immediately raised questions, Bailey said, since there’s no evidence that American colonists struggling to eke out a living in the New World traveled to anywhere in the Middle East to trade until decades later.
Since then, other detectorists have unearthed 15 additional Arabian coins from the same era — 10 in Massachusetts, three in Rhode Island, and two in Connecticut. Another was found in North Carolina, where records show some of Every’s men first came ashore.
“It seems like some of his crew were able to settle in New England and integrate,” said Sarah Sportman, state archaeologist for Connecticut, where one of the coins was found in 2018 at the ongoing excavation of a 17th-century farm site.
“It was almost like a money-laundering scheme,” she said.
Although it sounds unthinkable now, Everyone was able to hide in plain sight by posing as a slave trader — an emerging profession in 1690s New England. On his way to the Bahamas, he even stopped at the French island of Reunion to get some Black captives so he’d look the part, Bailey said.
Obscure records show a ship called the Sea Flower, used by the pirates after they ditched the Fancy, sailed along the Eastern seaboard. It arrived with nearly four dozen slaves in 1696 in Newport, Rhode Island, which became a major hub of the North American slave trade in the 18th century.
“There’s extensive primary source documentation to show the American colonies were bases of operation for pirates,” said Bailey, 53, who holds a degree in anthropology from the University of Rhode Island and worked as an archaeological assistant on explorations of the Whydah Gally pirate shipwreck off Cape Cod in the late 1980s.
Bailey, whose day job is analyzing security at the state’s prison complex, has published his findings in a research journal of the American Numismatic Society, an organization devoted to the study of coins and medals.
Archaeologists and historians familiar with but not involved in Bailey’s work say they’re intrigued, and believe it’s shedding new light on one of the world’s most enduring criminal mysteries.
“Jim’s research is impeccable,” said Kevin McBride, a professor of archaeology at the University of Connecticut. “It’s cool stuff. It’s really a pretty interesting story.”
Mark Hanna, an associate professor of history at the University of California-San Diego and an expert in piracy in early America, said that when he first saw photos of Bailey’s coin, “I lost my mind.”
“Finding those coins, for me, was a huge thing,” said Hanna, author of the 2015 book, “Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire.” “The story of Capt. Every is one of global significance. This material object — this little thing — can help me explain that.”
Every’s exploits have inspired a 2020 book by Steven Johnson, “Enemy of All Mankind;” PlayStation’s popular “Uncharted” series of video games; and a Sony Pictures movie version of “Uncharted” starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and Antonio Banderas that’s slated for release early in 2022.
Bailey, who keeps his most valuable finds not at his home but in a safe deposit box, says he’ll keep digging.
“For me, it’s always been about the thrill of the hunt, not about the money,” he said. “The only thing better than finding these objects is the long-lost stories behind them.” (VOA/KB)
Singer Rihanna was honoured by Prime Minister Mia Mottley at an event which marked Barbados's new status as a republic, which was attended by Prince Charles. Addressing the pop star by her real name, the PM said: "Robyn Rihanna Fenty tomorrow morning shall have conferred upon her the order of national hero of Barbados."
Rihanna was then summoned from her seat to accept the honor, with the Prime Minister managing to rouse a laugh from the singer when she referenced her 2012 hit 'Diamonds', reports femalefirst.co.uk. She added: "On behalf of a grateful nation, but an even prouder people, we therefore present to you, the designee, for the national hero of Barbados." "And to accept on behalf of a grateful nation - you can come my dear - ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, may you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." Rihanna, who was born in the St Michael parish of Barbados, found fame in 2005 after being spotted by a record producer and has since gone on to become one of the most successful female artists of all time with sales of over 250 million and recently reached billionaire status through her Fenty beauty brand.
The Prime Minister continued in her speech: "Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth. "Having satisfied that, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados." It comes after a historic move for Barbados, which has become a republic after almost 400 years and welcomes its first president, Sandra Mason, after removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: National hero of Barbados, Robyn Rihanna Fenty, Prince Charles, Barbado, Mia Mottley, Prime Minister, Rihanna)
By Manav Bhatia
It's that time of the year when there are festivities galore and entertaining comes to the fore. Manav Bhatia, Founder Trunkin shares some tablescapes for the season
Christmas Tablescapes: Whether it's cherry red tablecloths or plush green napkin rings, there's something for everyone. Red and green are synonymous with colour themes this time of year.
Red and green are synonymous with colour themes this time of year. | Photo by Libby Penner on Unsplash
Finish it off with Royalty: Jewelled napkin rings are an essential table accessory. Jewelled beads in the centre of a napkin ring surrounded by metal carving can be combined in a variety of forms and sizes and gives a touch of glamour.
Jewelled napkin rings are an essential table accessory. | Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash
Touch of Smoke: Winter is the season when evening decor is especially important for parties, get-togethers, and bonfires. Colours in grey and ivory combine night with the day. Embroidered tablecloths, paired with lit glass votives, adds refinement to the evening.
Embroidered tablecloths, paired with lit glass votives, adds refinement to the evening. | Pxhere
Smearing of Wood: Nature's finish using ferns and drift wood for decor instead of flowers add to the winter feels.
Wall Hangings: Embroidered and beaded hangings add a touch of elegance and are traditional accessories for Christmas. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Wall Hangings, Wood, Winter, Smoke, Royalty, Christmas, Festivities, Perfect Setting)
Have you ever faced eye redness? Or have witnessed blurry or foggy vision? Or experiencing halos around lights? Or nausea and vomiting are very common for you. You may well be suffering from Glaucoma which needs immediate attention.
Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). Typically, it occurs in people with over the age of 60 however it can occur at any age. It is also estimated that globally 79.6 million people are affected with glaucoma, half of them being Asian population. While in India, around 11.9 million people suffer vision impairment and out of which 1.2 million cases are due to Glaucoma. It is a growing concern for the population in India. Even after these high numbers, the enormous majority remains undiagnosed, and untreated. More than 90 percent of cases of Glaucoma remain undiagnosed.
Glaucoma is the second most common causes of blindness worldwide, according to a report by World Health Organisation (WHO). | Wikimedia Commons
Glaucoma is a condition that damages the nerve of the eye. The increased pressure in the eye, which is known as intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve which is responsible for sending images to the brain. If the damage worsens, glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even total blindness within a few years. According to WHO, there are different kinds of glaucoma, though, the two most common are, primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), having a slow and slow and asymptomatic onset, and angle-closure glaucoma (ACG), which is less common, yet more acute. Hence, it is important for everybody over the age of 40 years to have a regular eye check-up.
The eye disorder may be treated with the help of eye drops prescribed by Ophthalmologist. There are various options available to lower intraocular pressure to the desired level. Depending upon the need of the patient, doctor may recommend combinations of eye drops, but it is of utmost importance to use the drops on a regular basis. However, consulting a specialist should be the first priority if diagnosed with glaucoma, but most of the population will first opt for home remedies then will consult chemists' shops for medicines and if the issue is still not resolved then will they think of a specialist. There is a need to modify the mindset of the people and when it comes to sensory organs zero negligence rule should be followed.
The eye disorder may be treated with the help of eye drops prescribed by Ophthalmologist. | Photo by CDC on Unsplash
Awareness is the key to managing Glaucoma better. The need of the hour is to include eye care as part of the health check-up. Timely detection of Glaucoma will lead to proper medication and diagnosis by an Ophthalmologist. Talking about prevention, early detection will help in managing glaucoma before significant damage occurs. Glaucoma can be because of genetics as well hence knowing the family's eye history is important. Regular and moderate exercise may help prevent glaucoma by reducing eye pressure also eye drops can significantly reduce the risk that high pressure will progress to glaucoma.
Also, there are few home remedies that anyone can follow to avoid glaucoma. Consuming healthy food, using eyewear, avoiding head-down position, keeping oral hygienic, and protecting eyes from sunlight are a few of such remedies. One should be mindful of the fact that Glaucoma is irreversible blindness and awareness can help us in fighting it. Depending on the condition an Ophthalmologist may prescribe an oral medication or may suggest therapies. In severe conditions, doctors can also recommend surgeries like Laser therapy, Filtering surgery, Drainage tubes, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS). (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: eye disorder, eye, India, World Health Organisation, blindness , foggy vision, eye redness, Glaucoma, Ophthalmologist