William Penn, Sr. Thanks for the Reggae and Rum, Mon

I was pretty fascinated by the fact that Jamaicans today speak English because of William Penn’s father (as we learned this week in quizzo), but I was unable to find a lot of information about the English takeover of the island. Apparently, Penn and his crew had tried to attack Hispaniola in 1655 but were repelled, so they had to settle for Jamaica, which was not considered very valuable at the time and was much less heavily fortified. He defeated the Spanish and took over the island, and it remained in English hands until 1962.

Here’s another interesting fact I came across about Penn Sr.:
The origin of grog lies with Vice-Admiral William Penn, father of the founder of Pennsylvania. In 1655, during Penn’s campaign for Cromwell in the Indies, Penn arrived in Barbados and captured Jamaica. Unfortunately Jamaica had few stores of beer or wine. Jamaica did, however, have rum. Penn, therefore, began the use of rum as a ration.

This makes it seem more like Penn introduced the English world to rum than to grog, as the origins of grog don’t date until 1740. So not only did the Penn family give us Pennsylvania, they gave us reggae (if it wasn’t for the William Penn it would be in Spanish, and probably use a bunch of horns) and rum. And is that a baseball bat in his right hand? Did the Penns invent baseball too?

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