07.09.

1695: The Biggest Robbery in the History of Piracy

1695: The Biggest Robbery in the History of Piracy
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 7 September 1695
  • The main ship of the Indian fleet was named Ganj-i-Sawai ("Excess goods"), and carried an enormous fortune. It was not an easy prey – it had 80 guns, a mass of 1600 tons, about 400 men armed with muskets, and another 600 passengers.

This day marked probably the biggest robbery in the history of piracy.

The English pirate Henry Every, nicknamed “King of the Pirates” stole loot worth up to $400 million (in today’s currency).

On this day he robbed a fabulously rich fleet, which belonged to the ruler of the Indian Empire, the Great Mogul Aurangzeb. He and his companions wanted to make the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

The mighty Aurangzeb was an Orthodox Muslim, unlike his father Shah Jahan, who built the famous Taj Mahal, and was much more “liberal” regarding his faith. Aurangzeb expanded his empire, which also included India, and made huge profits.

Aurangzeb’s fleet was returning from Mecca to India, when they were attacked by Henry Every (his flagship was named Fancy). The battle took place in the Arabian Sea.

The main ship of the Indian fleet was named Ganj-i-Sawai (“Excess goods”), and carried an enormous fortune. It was not an easy prey – it had 80 guns, a mass of 1600 tons, about 400 men armed with muskets, and another 600 passengers.

Every decided for a salvo attack, using his broadside guns, and hit the main mast of the Indian ship.

One of the Indian guns exploded, and caused chaos among the Indians. The pirates then boarded the Indian ship. The battle lasted for two or three hours. Ultimately, the Indians surrendered themselves.

The robbery was quite terrible. Pirates allegedly killed and tortured the Indians, raped women and slaves.

Every became the richest pirate in the world. There is a legend that the biggest “jewel” he took was an Indian princess, Aurangzeb’s daughter or granddaughter.

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