Studying Newfoundland history in grade school, I heard rumblings about pirates. And growing up in Corner Brook, with a dad that loved everything to do with the water, and who studied the lore of Captain Cook and the various island shipwrecks, I knew the name Peter Easton. Funny how it surprised me to learn of W5’s recent underwater chase for “The Pirate Admiral.” Was it possible that people in different parts of Canada didn’t know the story of Easton?
Newfoundlanders certainly know the stories of the early 1600’s pirate. Blackbeard and Jack Sparrow begone. To heck with the Caribbean. Peter Easton was a British naval officer turned pirate, and he made his base in Conception Bay, Newfoundland. He lived in Harbour Grace and Ferryland. And Peter Easton was the most successful pirate of his time – he plundered ships, amassed a fortune, and retired a rich man living in the lap of luxury in France.
And as Jason Crummey, author of Pirates of Newfoundland was interviewed in the W5 piece says, Peter Easton’s greatest coup was probably the capture of “three Spanish treasure ships off the Strait of Gibraltar in about 1615. It was the largest pirate heist in world history at that time,” said Crummey, worth the equivalent of $50 million today. ”
So, go chase some real pirates off the coast of Newfoundland. You might just find some sunken pirate guns and anchors, if you go scuba diving like W5’s folks did – but at the very least, you’ll discover the treasure that is Newfoundland.