James Watkins1

M, #16260, b. circa 1660

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Last Edited10/05/2015
Birth*James Watkins was born circa 1660.1
(Crew) ShipVoyage On 27 January 1696 the Amity, purporting to be an English trading ship arrived at the Cape from the East via Madagascar with a load of spices and slaves from different locations. She had been preceeded by the London Frigate on the 12th January; and was followed a few days later by the Charming Mary on the 29th January. The Amity's captain was in some instances in the record said to be James Minty and on others, Richard Glover. The latter was more likely the overall commander of the three vessels, and he weaved a convoluted tale of his escape from a pirate sloop a few days before his arrival at the Cape, and of an encounter with a pirate ship on Madagascar whose captain he managed to sweet talk into allowing him to retain his vessel. Whilst at the Cape, Glover, Minty and several others, including Rob Silvastar, Thomas Thornhill and James Watkins sold dozens of slaves of various origin to residents at the Cape. However, these men and their ships were not ordinary traders nor even slavers, they may have been privateers, but were pirates from New York who wreaked havoc on numerous vessels from the Mediterranean to the East. This only became clear to officials at the Cape in 1697.2,3,4,5,6 
Occupation* On 9 February 1696 James Watkins was a bookeeper on the Amity.1 
Slave TransactionsOn 9 February 1696 Antony van Tabarats was sold by James Watkins to Hendrick Mulder, for Rds. 90.7


  1. [S418] Anna J. Böeseken, Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700 (Cape Town: Tafelberg, 1977), p.172.. Hereinafter cited as Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700.
  2. [S418] Anna J. Böeseken, Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700, p.57, 72, 171, 172.
  3. [S576] Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope, Letters Despatched 1696-1708, H.C.V. Leibrandt; CD-ROM (Cape Town, South Africa: W.A. Richards & Sons, Government Printers, 1896), pp.5, 18, 43, 73. Hereinafter cited as Precis of the archives of the Cape of Good Hope.
  4. [S831] Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham A history of New York City to 1898 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 19 November 1998), No. 106 In addition to rewarding his friends with the crown's territory, [colonial governor of NY 1692-1697, Benjamin] Fletcher gave them free rein in the piracy business...
    With Fletcher's blessing, some of New Yorik's best-known captains hoisted the black flag and sailed off to ply the waters between Africa and India, trailing mayhem and murder in their wake. Richard Glover, captain of the Resolution, seized two East India Company ships off the coast of Aden, burned their crews alive, and then blockaded the port of Calicut for ransom.. Hereinafter cited as Gotham A history of New York City to 1898.
  5. [S832] David Marley, Pirates of the Americas Vol 1 (Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, 2010), pp.570, 784-785, 814. Hereinafter cited as Pirates of the Americas Vol 1.
  6. [S833] E.T. Fox, Pirates in Their Own Words (United Kingdom: Fox Historical, 8 July 2014), pp. 178-9, 348, 350. Hereinafter cited as Pirates in Their Own Words.
  7. [S418] Anna J. Böeseken, Slaves and Free Blacks at the Cape 1658-1700, p.172. 9.2.1696. pp. 28 (verso) 29: Antony from Tabarats (14), sold by James Watkins, bookkeeper of the Amity, to Hendrik Mulder for Rds. 90.

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