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Charles Davis (New Orleans, 1823-1903) was a sailor and then an American corsair who served under William Walker in the Filibusteros wars in Nicaragua.
Charles, as a child, was enlisted by his father on a ship that traveled the Mississippi River carrying merchandise. There, under the tutelage of Captain Gerald Cornn, he undertook several trips, first through the interior territory of the United States and then through the Caribbean Sea. He participated in several skirmishes with Spanish military ships that did not allow US trade in Cuba. In these skirmishes the ship in which Davis was traveling, the SS Orleans Indian, was sunk by the Spanish fleet, which took the survivors prisoners and shot Captain Cornn.
Captive of the Spanish
Captured the young Davis, was taken to Havana, in Cuba, where he spent 5 years as a prisoner. Despite the negotiations that the US government made for the Spanish governor of Cuba to release the prisoners, there were no results until the year 1845, when the captives were released. Davis experienced several situations when he was a captive that changed his ideology, now he would become a corsair.
Return to the United States
In 1845, Davis landed in New Orleans, plunged into misery, because his parents had died. He moved to California, which at that time was experiencing the Gold Rush. He made the trip alone, on horseback, until arriving in San Francisco in a few months, where he did not get a stable job, realizing that the work in the rivers was very heavy and also that the working poor were exploited by the foreman, looked for and found work in a fishing boat, earning enough money to live well.
He suffered an accident in 1848 in which he almost lost a leg. He became addicted to opium as a consequence of pain treatment. Immersed in misery, he spent the last thing he had left in the taverns of San Francisco. In one of those places, he met the recently acquitted William Walker, who was returning from trying to conquer the Mexican territory of Baja California with about 45 men. Walker convinced him to accompany him on a new expedition he had planned, this time in Central America, to establish a US colony. The chosen territory was Nicaragua. Walker needed an experienced sailor to take his expedition to conquer that territory.
Davis, with financial help from Walker and some businessmen, bought a sailing boat, which he named SS Golden Pellican. In 1852, the expedition of Walker and Davis left California towards Central America. When they arrived in two weeks, they immediately proceeded to make war on the democratic party, which at that time was in conflict with another Nicaraguan faction. Nicaragua was going through a civil war, so the situation was exploited by the filibusters, who managed to seize the government in two months. Walker ordered the authorities to be shot and proclaimed his Republic. The governments of Central America, seeing that this interference was an attack against their sovereignty, formed an alliance to demand from the United States that attitude of colonialism. The US government ignored these protests, but later, under threat from Britain, ignored Walker’s expedition, and authorized Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala to end Walker’s expedition by armed means. p>
Battles in Nicaragua and execution of Walker
The Costa Rican army, with 2,500 men, disembarked in Nicaragua, to put an end to this situation. The Walker government exhorted the Nicaraguan people to join the filibuster army, but only managed to gather about 25 men across the country, so Walker and Davis set out to go and confront the Costa Ricans. Near the coast, the 140 men of Walker and Davis were defeated and captured most of their troops, decided to barricade themselves on the island of San Juan del Mar, taking advantage of the fact that the Costa Ricans did not have enough boats to invade the island. / p>
The Honduran Navy, which did have ships, decided to take the situation into their hands, invading the island, but not being able to capture Davis and Walker, who along with ten of their men, took refuge in a house, offering a two day resistance After this, the ammunition of the filibusters was over and William Walker arranged for Davis to give an account of the surrender to the Hondurans. They captured the filibusters and declared them guilty of various charges. Then, the filibusters were hanged and Walker shot.
Davis was released for certain reasons and traveled to Mexico, where he lived until the day of his death, on February 23, 1903.
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