Of Pirates and Manatee's : The Kingdom of Bartholomew Roberts Chapter 1: The Second war of the Quadruple Alliance Contemporary illustration of King Bartholomew I "The Second war of the Quadruple Alliance" by Wilhelm Habsburg, 5th Duke of Nanzig The Treaty of the Hague in 1720 had been signed with the purpose of ending conflict on the European continent for the next decade at least. But as history shows, it was not to be. King Phillip V of Spain was a cunning figure, and though detractors would claim otherwise, was not blind to the issues his kingdom faced. The Treaty of the Hague and the prior Treat of Utrecht had taken what much of the nobility considered to be rightful territory of the Kingdom of Spain. A minor revolt in 1723 had firmly convinced Phillip that the status quo was not sustainable, and that if no action was taken the first king of the house of Bourbon could well be its last. Thus in the two years leading up to 1725, Spain made preparations for war. Arms were stocked and plans drawn up, while fresh galleons were built in the ports of the Mediterranean sea. But the other powers at be were not blind fools, and if Spain did not wish to find itself the victim of a preemptive attack it needed to convince the rest of Europe that it had goals other than Sicily and the French throne. Phillip accomplished this by making threatening moves towards its longtime rival in Africa, Morocco. The arab-berber kingdom had long been unstable, and the untimely death of Sultan Ismail from smallpox had lead to a civil war between his sons, which was still ongoing when Phillip declared Casablanca to be apart of the Spanish Empire. The Moroccan civil war stopped almost as swiftly as it had started and the new affirmed Sultan Abu'l Abbas responded by increasing the garrison of the city threefold and asking the Ottoman Empire, the distant if nominal protector of the Barbary states, for assistance, which while limited was given. Phillip backed down from the situation, and Europe breathed a sigh of relief. Until a Spanish fleet was sighted off Palermo, where it made landfall and captured the city without a fight on the 21st of June 1725. Sparking the second war of the Quadruple Alliance. .......... Jamaica prior to conquest ........... The Caribbean theatre of the war would rapidly prove to be one of the most bloody. Colonial garrisons fought each other tooth and nail as the armies of Europe clashed in France, while privateers and pirates alike targeted merchant shipping. Puerto Rico was invaded by an English force which besieged besieged the islands capital, while Hispaniola was completely occupied by Spanish forces. One of the keys to the success of the Spanish war effort was cutting off their enemies from their colonies. While this was of little effect in the northern part of the American continent, in the Caribbean the entire region was thrown into anarchy as Spanish ships and hired privateers struck every colony they could. By February of 1726, only Jamaica remained in English hands. Jamaica was not intended to be a target, the Island was widely reputed as both to heavily fortified and being far to valuable to the English crown for the meagre amount of men that the Spanish colonies could muster to have any hope of taking it. But Dionisio Martínez de la Vega, the governor of Cuba, was an ambitious man. In 1725 he had made contact with one of the more odd figures of the 18th century, the pirate Bartholomew Roberts, who had been raiding English shipping in the west Atlantic for a year by the time the war started. Roberts commanded a fleet of 7 ships by the time Governor Martínez made contact with him, and was interested at the prospect of capturing Jamaica, having hear well of the wealth the island possessed. Martínez supposedly said Roberts could make off with as much gold as his ships could carry if he assisted in seizing the island, and Roberts, not one to turn down such an offer, accepted. On the 13th of March 1726 Spanish fleet, supported by Roberts and a collection of other pirates, landed at Port Antonio. They then began a campaign of destruction as they conquered the entire eastern half of the island within 3 months, barring Kingstown which was kept under siege. Roberts distinguished himself greatly during the early phase of the campaign, defeating an English fleet in an ambush and adding three vessels to his armada, while also using his pirates to keep occupied territory calm. At some point during these three months, Roberts made contact with the Maroons, the escaped slaves and taino's who inhabited the uplands of Jamaica. Guided to Nanny town by freed spanish slaves, Roberts met with "Queen Nanny", an Ashanti woman who ruled the largest group of Maroons present in Jamaica and Quao, the other major leader of the Windward Maroons. It is unknown how Roberts convinced Queen Nanny to support the Spanish, folklore claiming anything from gold to a magic pact, but when he left Nanny town, it was at the head of a thousand strong army of Maroons. Queen Nanny, as depicted by an Illustration Roberts led this newly formed army on a spree of raids and skirmishes. Defeating the hastily assembled army which had gathered in the western half of the Island under Duke Henry Bentinck in a pitched battle east of Negril, and with the help of the Leeward Maroons and an army of freed slaves in addition to his pirates, conquered the entire western part of Jamaica by January of 1727. This combined with the Spanish capture of Kingstown the day before Christmas meant that Jamaica was completely lost to the British. The Spanish left much of the governance of Jamaica to the coalition of Roberts and the Maroon leaders Quao and Queen Nanny, only exerting their presence in Kingstown and the surrounding area. At some point during the following year, Roberts met the woman who history knows as Queen Ruth, a former slave who became first Roberts lover, then later his wife. The state of affairs, with Roberts controlling the coastal settlements with his ships while the Maroons ruled the entire interior with the vast number of freed slaves, continued until July of 1729. At this point the news of the end of the Second war of the Quadruple Alliance, and the following Treaty of Cadiz, reached Jamaica. Jamaica was officially to be returned to English control in exchange for other territories, and the Spanish withdrew from the island altogether. But this did not mean the Maroons, who had no mention in the treaty, accepted this. Panic was widespread amongst the Maroon leaders, many of whom worried about what would happen since the English were coming back. Roberts himself, immensely rich thanks to his plunder accumulated over two years, is said to have been considering abandoning the island and retiring to somewhere in Spain, when his lover Ruth, who had been with him for over a year at that point convinced him otherwise. Folklore says that Ruth (who was a former maid in the Governors household) pointed out that the English were bankrupt from the loss of so many colonies and four years of war, and that with the destruction of the main fleet in the Bay of Biscay, they had no way of effectively challenging his or the Spanish control of the Caribbean. Whatever actually happened, when the prospective new governor arrived at Kingston, he did not find a British colony waiting to be taxed for badly needed riches. He arrived to the sight of King Bartholomew the 1st, offering to purchase the island from the British crown. Authors Note For those unaware, Bartholomew Roberts was a welshmen often considered the most successful European pirate of all time, capturing 400 ships before his death off west africa in 1722. My POD for this timeline is that he survived what would have been his final battle OTL and after such a close call, he decided that heading to the Caribbean where the spanish treasure fleets were at was a better idea than picking on the west african trade. Also whew! This was not a story I ever expected to write.