Fundamental to the historiography of Central America is the assertion that Englishmen began settling along the Mosquito Shore in the early seventeenth century in order to procure logwood for Europe’s emerging textile industry. Indeed, according to Troy Floyd, “the most important event for Central American history was the English occupation of the coast at Cabo Gracias a Dios” in the 1630s. Attracted by the abundance of logwood and other dyewoods, so the story goes, Englishmen from the failed colony at Providence Island initiated the first of several Anglo settlements along the Caribbean coast of Central America (see figure 1). Logwood’s alleged role in shaping regional dynamics only grew after European nations began to restrict privateering in the second half of the seventeenth century. At this time, Mary Helms claims, dozens of retiring pirates established logwood encampments “at virtually every cove and river mouth”...

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