- The Washington Times - Monday, January 17, 2005

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

KEY WEST, Fla. — An original Jolly Roger banner and a treasure chest that belonged to pirate Thomas Tew are the crown jewels of Pirate Soul, a museum that opened recently in Key West.

A “Welcome to Port Royal” sign greets visitors to the colonial-style building. Located in southeastern Jamaica, Port Royal was the epicenter of golden-age pirate activity in the late 17th century and early 18th century and was dominated by legendary captain Henry Morgan.

Other prominent pirates of that era include Captain Kidd and Black Beard. The Caribbean pirates settled in Port Royal after fleeing the island of Tortuga, north of Haiti, in the face of a threatened Spanish invasion.

During those turbulent years, France, Britain and the Netherlands disputed Spain’s control of the Caribbean and attacked its ships carrying fabulous treasures.

Pirate Soul was created by millionaire Pat Croce, a former owner of the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Mr. Croce began his collection of pirate artifacts 20 years ago.

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