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#ThrowBackThursday: Pirates in Plymouth, Then and Now

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Plymouth Colony was not immune to the dangers of pirate attacks, and history books contain references to several pirate crews visiting the area.
In 1633, French pirates robbed a Plymouth Colony settlement, according to Clayton E. Cramer’s book Armed America.  Then in 1646, Captain Thomas Cromwell and approximately 80 of his crew, whom William Bradford described as “like madmen” in Of Plymouth Plantation, descended upon Plymouth Colony. Bradford wrote that the pirates remained in Plymouth for about a month, and while they were there they partook in “scattering a great deal of money among the people,– and even more sin than money.”
The pirates arrived drunk and distempered, and some were arrested and imprisoned. One pirate was so unruly that he assaulted his captain. The situation ended badly when Captain Cromwell fought back and gave the pirate a blow which caused him to hit his head so hard that his skull was pierced and he died within three days. Captain Cromwell was charged with murder, but because of the pirate’s unruly actions, Cromwell was cleared of all charges by the court.
This little-known piece of history will be reenacted this weekend by the New Plimmoth Gard and the Plymouth Historical Society. 
The weekend will kick off with a lecture on “Caribbean Buccaneers in Early Plymouth” at Pilgrim Hall Museum on Thursday, May 14 at 7 pm called, presented by Associate Director and Curator Stephen O’Neill. The lecture will provide the overall historical context for the reenactment events.
The pirate-themed events continue through the weekend with a reenactment of the murder trial at 3pm at the Mayflower Society House.
These events are free and open to the public.
For a full list of Pirates Ashore events, visit the Massachusetts Society of Mayflower Descendants website.

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