Governor Woodes Rogers

Governor Woodes Rogers
Governor Woodes Rogers

When Woodes Rogers first arrived in The Bahamas to take administrative control, he found that the islands were in a general state of neglect. Prior to this, The Bahamas had been governed by governors sent over by the Lord Proprietors who had been granted these islands, by Charles II in 1670 for colonization purposes. These governors were inefficient and very little was done to develop the islands. The social conditions were also very bad. There was general lawlessness and rebellion against authority and the islands were overrun by pirates. The local government allowed the pirates use of the harbour for a share of their booty.

Born in Bristol,  Rogers had been a privateer from 1708 to 1711. He gained renown during the War of the Spanish Succession when he returned to England after a voyage with much booty. Consequently he was considered to be an excellent candidate for the expulsion of the notorious pirates who roamed Bahamian waters using New Providence as their base.

In 1715 the proprietors leased the island to Rogers for 21 years. On February 6, 1716, Rogers was officially appointed Captain - General and Governor in Chief in and over the Bahama Islands by King George I. Thus he became the first Royal Governor of The Bahamas. Rogers arrived at New Providence on July 26, 1717. He had with him a Royal proclamation of Pardon from King George I for the pirates.

The pirates were not surprised by Rogers arrival. They had discovered a document on a captured ship that stated the English government's plan to eradicate piracy. The pirates met and discussed the situation. Most decided to surrender but some refused.

On his arrival Rogers was faced with some serious problems. The Bahamas is in a poor state. It is filthy, in disrepair, the fort is in ruins, buildings are dilapidated, and the roads overgrown. Rogers has had to use his own money to try to overcome these problems.

Return to Directory