Moses Cohen Henriques


Moses Cohen Henriques

Moses Cohen Henriques was a Dutch pirate of Portuguese Sephardic Jewish origin, operating in the Caribbean.

Henriques helped Dutch naval officer and folk hero Admiral Piet Pieterszoon Hein, of the Dutch West India Company, capture the Spanish treasure fleet in the battle of the Bay of Matanzas in Cuba, during the Eighty Years' War, in 1628.

Part of the Spanish fleet in Venezuela had been warned because a Dutch cabin boy had lost his way on Blanquilla and was captured, betraying the plan, but the other half from Mexico continued its voyage, unaware of the threat. Sixteen Spanish ships were intercepted; one galleon was taken after a surprise encounter during the night, nine smaller merchants were talked into a surrender; two small ships were taken at sea fleeing, four fleeing galleons were trapped on the Cuban coast in the Bay of Matanzas. After some musket volleys from Dutch sloops their crews surrendered also and the Dutch captured 11,509,524 guilders of booty in gold, silver, and other expensive trade goods, as indigo and cochineal, without any bloodshed. The Dutch didn't take prisoners: they gave the Spanish crews ample supplies for a march to Havana. The treasure was the company's greatest victory in the Caribbean.

Henriques then went on to lead a Jewish contingent in Brazil during the Dutch rule, and established his own pirate island off the Brazilian coast. After the Portuguese recapture of Northern Brazil in 1654, Moses fled South America and ended up as an advisor to Henry Morgan, the leading pirate of the time.

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