Woodes Rogers had a varied and eventful life, enjoying successes as a privateer, a politician and a pirate hunter. He was also involved in an event that would go on to inspire one of the great works of literature.
Rogers’ seafaring career began in 1708 when he embarked on a privateering mission against the Spanish. He was plagued with problems from the outset. Numerous crewmen mutinied, his ships were ill-equipped to deal with the voyage and the Vitamin C deficiency ‘scurvy’ took its toll along the way. However, it was during a quest to find citrus fruits on the island of Juan Fernandez that Rogers encountered the marooned sailor Alexander Selkirk – the man whose exploits would later be immortalised in the novel ‘Robinson Crusoe’.
Better fortunes followed as Rogers harassed shipping and settlements along the South American coast. But he found his true calling in 1718 when he accepted a commission to become the Governor of the Bahamas and set out to administer the King’s pardon for pirates operating in the region. The majority of them were quick to accept this offer, and some even joined Rogers in hunting down those who didn’t. Blackbeard and Charles Vane were among the few who refused the amnesty.
Woodes Rogers is at the height of his powers by the time of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag. He is a proud and methodical man, and has enjoyed some fame as an author too – read his account of his first globetrotting voyage for free here. Given his anti-pirate predilections, though, it shouldn’t be too hard to guess where his true allegiances lie.