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Henry Morgan.gif
Henry Morgan


Ethnic group


Hair color





Sir Edward Morgan (uncle)
Mary Elizabeth Morgan (wife)


Pirate Lord[1]
Lieutenant governor[2]

Also known as

Shadow Lord

Weapon(s) owned


Ship(s) captained or crewed

HMS Oxford


Battle of Portobello[3]
Battle of Maracaibo[3]
Battle of Panama[3]
Day of the Shadow


King Charles II
Brethren Court

Behind the scenes
First appearance

The Caribbean

Latest appearance

Day of the Shadow


"I am not just the Shadow Lord. Nor am I the useless pirate Henry that you found so very amusing. In fact, I am much older than you know, because I devised a way to live forever. I have been around for over a hundred years. I was a Pirate Lord myself. The truth is...I am Captain Henry Morgan of the second Brethren Court!"

Sir Henry Morgan was a legendary Welsh privateer and a Pirate Lord of the Brethren Court. While working for England, he attacked Spanish possessions including Venezuela and Panama. Among his accomplishments were helping write the Code of the Pirate Brethren with "Bartholomew" at the dawn of the Golden Age of Piracy, becoming a knight of England, and being appointed lieutenant governor of Jamaica. During the late 1680s, through unknown circumstances, he retreated to a secret hideout where he began to study alchemy, eventually discovering the secret of immortality and becoming known as the Shadow Lord. As the Shadow Lord, he was the greatest alchemist the Seven Seas had ever known and the fiercest pirate in the Caribbean, though no one knew it but him.


Early life[]

Henry Morgan was born in 1635 to a prosperous Welsh farming family, but he chose life at sea while a young man. After starting as a buccaneer on Tortuga and later in Barbados, he settled around 1660 in Port Royal on England's newly acquired island of Jamaica. He was soon joined by his uncle, Edward Morgan, who was appointed lieutenant-governor of the island after the restoration of King Charles II in 1660. After marrying his uncle's eldest daughter, Mary Elizabeth, later that year, Henry Morgan began sailing in the buccaneer fleets that were employed by the English to attack Spanish settlements. In this new role, he served a captain in the fleet of Admiral Christopher Myngs in 1662-1663.

Morgan the Pirate[]

Building reputation[]

"Captain Henry Morgan sacked a dozen cities all across the Spanish Main."
Jack Sparrow to Will Turner[src]

Having taken part in Myng's successful plundering of Santiago de Cuba and Campeche, Mexico, Morgan returned to sea in late 1663. Sailing with Captain Jack Morris and three other ships, Morgan looted the provincial capital of Villahermosa. Returning from their raid, they found that their ships had been captured by Spanish patrols. Unperturbed they captured two Spanish ships and continued their cruise, sacking Trujillo and Granada before returning to Port Royal, Jamaica. In late 1665, Morgan commanded a ship in Edward Mansfield's expedition against Providence and Santa Catalina.

Henry Morgan's pirate flag.

Sent by Jamaican Governor Thomas Modyford, the expedition captured the islands, but encountered problems when Mansfield was captured and killed by the Spanish. With their leader dead, the buccaneers elected Morgan their admiral. With this success, Modyford began sponsoring a number of Morgan's cruises again the Spanish. In 1667, Modyford dispatched Morgan with ten ships and 500 men to free a number of English prisoners being held in Puerto Principe, Cuba. Landing, his men sacked the city and freed the prisoners before re-embarking and sailing south to Panama.

Coming ashore near Puerto Bello, Morgan and his men overwhelmed the garrison and occupied the town.[3] After defeating a Spanish counterattack, he agreed to leave the town after receiving a large ransom. Though he had exceeded his commission, Morgan returned a hero and his exploits were glossed over by Modyford and the Admiralty. Sailing again in January 1669, Morgan descended on the Spanish Main with 900 men with the goal of attacking Cartagena. Later that month, his flagship, Oxford exploded, killing 300 men. With his forces reduced, Morgan felt he lacked the men to take Cartagena and turned east.

Attacking Maracaibo, Venezuela, Morgan plundered the town before sailing south into Lake Maracaibo and occupying Gibraltar. After several weeks ashore, Morgan sailed north, capturing three Spanish ships before re-entering the Caribbean. As in the past, he was chastised by Modyford upon his return, but not punished. Having established himself as the preeminent buccaneer leader in the Caribbean, Morgan was named commander-in-chief of all warships in Jamaica and given a blanket commission by Modyford to make war against the Spanish.

Pirate Lord[]

"At any rate, the second Brethren Court drew up the Pirate Code which has served us well. Two of the Pirate Lords, Morgan and Bartholomew, figured it out and wrote it down, and that's what we've all lived by ever since."
Hector Barbossa[src]

Morgan's popularity among the buccaneers was so big, that he became a Pirate Lord of the Brethren Court. He attended the Second Brethren Court where, together with the fellow Pirate Lord Bartholomew, he wrote the Code of the Pirate Brethren.[4][1] Morgan solidified the Brethren Court, brought order among the buccaneers, and strengthened piracy in the Caribbean.[2]

Attack on Panama[]

Morgan's raid on Panama.

"They say Henri Morgan robbed a Spanish monastery of a gold cross and a chalice. The monastery was located somewhere on the coast of Panama."
Christophe-Julien de Rapièr to Jack Sparrow[src]

Sailing south in late 1670, Morgan recaptured the island of Santa Catalina on December 15 and twelve days later occupied Chagres Castle in Panama. Advancing up the Chagres River with 1,000 men, he approached the city of Panama on January 18, 1671. Splitting his men into two groups, he ordered one to march through nearby woods to flank the Spanish as the other advanced across open ground. As the 1,500 defenders attacked Morgan's exposed lines, the forces in the woods attacked routing the Spanish. Moving into the city, Morgan captured over 400,000 pieces of eight.[3]

During Morgan's stay, the city was burned however the source of the fire is disputed. Returning to Chagres, Morgan was stunned to learn that peace had been declared between England and Spain. Upon reaching Jamaica, he found that Modyford had been recalled and that orders had been issued for his arrest. On August 4, 1672, Morgan was taken into custody and transported to England. At his trial he was able to prove that he had no knowledge of the treaty and was acquitted. In 1674, Morgan was knighted by King Charles II[3]and sent back to Jamaica as lieutenant governor.[2]

Later life[]

Captain Henry Morgan.

"Morgan, on the other hand, was a pretty useless pirate. Kept losing his charts or dropping his compass over the side by accident, that sort of thing. But he had a flair for words. He's the one that gave the Code its character. And rumor had it that he used that brain of his for some pretty nasty plans here and there, at least until he settled down to be governor of Jamaica, the lazy sot."

Arriving in Jamaica, Morgan took up his post under Governor Lord Vaughan. Overseeing the island's defenses, Morgan also further developed his vast sugar plantations. In 1681, Morgan was replaced by his political rival, Sir Thomas Lynch, after falling out of favor with the king. Removed from the Jamaican Council by Lynch in 1683, Morgan was reinstated five years later after his friend Christopher Monck became governor.

According to various legends and lore, Morgan died in Port Royal on August 25, 1688. The official diagnosis was dropsy, but it was believed that he might have contracted tuberculosis while in England or had liver failure due to heavy drinking.[5]

The Shadow Lord[]


"First Panama, teach them the lesson they should have learned long ago. And then the rest of the world."
―The Shadow Lord[src]

However, Henry Morgan's death was only a legend.[1] Through unknown circumstances, he moved to the secret laboratory on a remote island where he began to study alchemy. Morgan spent years studying all sorts of science, sorcery, and black magic. He also discovered a way to live forever, and was able to prolong his life. By the 1710s, he was known as the Shadow Lord, a master of alchemy. With his power, he created the Shadow Army, an army of inanimate objects brought to life by magic.

For their first mission, the Shadow Army was sent against Panama. The town was mercilessly destroyed, though the Shadow Lord's ship was destroyed in the process. Despite this small problem, the Shadow Lord knew he needed more practice before he'd be ready for his day of vengeance. Remembering the injustice done to him long ago, the Shadow Lord was bent on having his revenge on the Pirate Lords on the Day of the Shadow. However, the Shadow Gold, a magical elixir and the source of his power, was stolen from him. So now he had to find it, but not before getting a new ship.[1]

Jack Sparrow[]

"I am Henry. Are you really the great Captain Jack Sparrow?"
"I most certainly am. Unless he owes you money. In which case, no, never heard of him.
―The Shadow Lord and Jack Sparrow[src]

Disguised as an ordinary pirate, Morgan went to Tortuga, intending to join the crew of Jack Sparrow. He found Jack inside the Faithful Bride tavern, and, after introducing himself as Henry, they shook hands, and Morgan used the opportunity to curse Jack with the Shadow Sickness. However, before he could join Sparrow's crew, he was recruited by Eduardo Villanueva, the Spanish Pirate Lord of the Adriatic Sea.

Morgan boarded Villanueva's ship, the Centurion, which sailed for Europe. At some point during the journey, Morgan revealed his powers, captured the whole crew, and took control of the ship. With Morgan at the helm, the Centurion docked in Marseilles. Once on the land, Morgan found a sailor and forced him to tell him where he could find the French Pirate Lord Chevalle.

An alliance with the Huntingtons[]

"I will contact you again when you are near enough to be of use. And then I will tell you where to go to find Jack Sparrow. And then...then we can kill him together."
―The Shadow Lord to Barbara Huntington and Benedict Huntington[src]

Shortly after ariving to France, Morgan used his powers to contact Benedict and Barbara Huntington, the officials of the East India Trading Company from Hong Kong. They were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean aboard the HMS Peacock, sailing for Europe. Morgan spoke to them through Barbara's enchanted mirror and promised them that despite their recent failures in preventing Jack Sparrow from reaching the African Pirate Lord, they'll have the chance to kill him in Europe.

Personality and traits[]

"He was a cruel man, Captain Jack Sparrow."

Where Blackbeard was a demon, Sir Henry Morgan was a downright devil. Morgan was a cruel man, ready to kill any man who would stand in his way. As a buccaneer leader, he would order the torture of his prisoners to force them to reveal the exact locations of their hidden treasures. Treachery was also among his many and habitual transgressions.[2] Despite this, those who remembered Morgan thought he was an "incompetent buffoon", saying he was a terrible pirate and that he could barely stand upright on a ship. As a lord of alchemy, he was the greatest alchemist the Seven Seas had ever known and the fiercest pirate in the Caribbean, though no one knew it but him.[1]

Equipment and skills[]

"I don't need enchanted devices to do what I'm doing right now. My powers are much stronger than that."
―The Shadow Lord to Benedict Huntington[src]

Being one of the greatest alchemists of his time, Henry Morgan used his powers to do whatever he wanted. His Shadow Army was an unstoppable force which no human power or army could match. He could also speak through enchanted mirrors to people far away from him.

Behind the scenes[]

"If you have sailed with Morgan for ten years like I have, you'd know not to question me!"
Hector Barbossa[src] (first draft screenplay)

Morgan's ghost onboard the Black Pearl.

  • In real-world history, Henry Morgan died in Port Royal in 1688. There is also no record of Morgan studying alchemy or doing anything relating to the supernatural.
  • Marc Davis originally intended to put historical pirates like Sir Henry Morgan, Blackbeard, Anne Bonny, and Captain Kidd into the Pirates of the Caribbean ride but he eventually decided to "find ways to add something that people could get a laugh out of" instead.[6] However, he did make an artwork of Morgan holding the red Jolly Roger with the white skull and crossbones. In real-world history, the Jolly Roger wasn't used by pirates before the end of the 17th century, more than a decade after Morgan's historical death.
  • Henry Morgan had a cameo appearance in Jay Wolpert's drafts of The Curse of the Black Pearl story, expanded from the story developed by Walt Disney Studios executives Brigham Taylor, Michael Haines, and Josh Harmon.[7] In the first screenplay draft of The Curse of the Black Pearl, Hector Barbossa claims to have sailed with "Morgan" for ten years.[8] However, with the Captain Morgan introduced in Dead Men Tell No Tales, it's unknown if this is canon or not and if Barbossa was referring to that Morgan or Henry Morgan.

The ghost of Captain Morgan, as imagined by Chris Schweizer and Joe Flood.



External links[]

Notes and references[]

Members of the Brethren Court

First Court
Pirate Kings
First Pirate King
Pirate Lords
First Pirate Lord of the Atlantic Ocean
Aides: Davy Jones

Second Court
Pirate Lords
Henry MorganBartholomewGrandmama

Third Court
Pirate Lords
Sao Feng's father
Others: Tartaglia

Court of inquiry
Pirate Lords
ChingBoris PalachnikRafaelEdward TeagueEduardo Villanueva
Aides: Davy Jones
Keeper of the Code: Edward Teague
Others: Hector BarbossaJack SparrowEsmeralda
Prison Dog

Fourth Court
Pirate Kings
Elizabeth Swann
Pirate Lords
AmmandSumbhajee AngriaHector BarbossaChevalleChing
Sao FengJocardJack SparrowElizabeth SwannEduardo Villanueva
Aides: AskayPusasn
Keeper of the Code: Edward Teague
Others: Prison Dog