Cities and towns
Antigua: English, loc 21 degrees N, 62 degrees W. Colonized in the 1640s, this island is a small pleasant backwater with a classic plantation economy. In the 18th century it will become one of the two great British Royal Navy bases in the Caribbean.
Barbados: English, loc 18 degrees N, 59 degrees W. Founded in the 1620s, Barbados is the first major English colony in the Caribbean. Barbados is the economic capital of the Caribbee Islands (Lesser Antilles) throughout the middle and later parts of the 17th century.
Campeche: Spanish, loc 23 degrees N, 90 degrees W. A well-established "old" Spanish city with aristocratic tastes, Campeche is an important port serving the island provinces of New Spain and Yucatan.
Cartagena: Spanish, loc 16 degrees N, 75 degrees W. This is the largest port city on the Spanish Main, protected by a supposedly impregnable fortress. The Treasure Fleet winters here before it's return voyage via Havana and the Florida Channel. Cartagena has a powerful garrison of troops and a thriving economy with little need for illegal trade. Coro: Spanish, loc 17 degrees N, 70 degrees W. This small city on the east side of the Gulf of Venezuela thrives in the 16th century, but later on is overshadowed by the new ports to the east.
Cumana: Spanish, loc 16 degrees N, 64 degrees W. With a strong fortress and good harbor, Cumana forms the eastern anchor on the Spanish Main.
Curacao: Dutch, loc 17 degrees N, 69 degrees W. Despite rigorous attempts by the Spanish goverment to suppress or destroy this Dutch island town, Curacao is one of the great free ports of the Caribbean, Dutch merchants bring smuggled produce here, which they exchange for European products to be smuggled back to the Spanish.
Eleuthera: English, loc 26 degrees N, 76 degrees W. Starting it's existance as a primitive anchorage for privateers, Eleuthera eventually becomes an English colony. Even then it never really thrives, remaining a backwater haven for pirates, privateers and other riff-raff.
Florida Keys: French, loc 26 degrees N, 81 degrees W. This port represents the many primitive transitory anchorages to be found among this chain of tiny islands and reefs. No permanent colonies are found here - it is far too close to powerful Spanish Havana.
Gibraltar: Spanish, loc 15 degrees N, 71 degrees W. Gibraltar is a modest-sized port serving the inland farms and plantations of Caracos province. Repeatedly pillaged by French and English pirates, the town is virtually destroyed by the 1680s.
Gran Granada: Spanish, loc 17 degrees N, 86 degrees W. Situated on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, this is the largest and wealthiest city in the Honduran province. Grand Bahama: English, loc 28 degrees N, 79 degrees W. This primitive port in the northern Bhamamas begins it's existence as a privateering anchorage. It does not become an English colony until the very end of the era.
Guadeloupe: French, loc 20 degrees N, 61 degrees W. Colonized by the French, by the 1640s Guageloupe becomes an economically viable port. Guadeloupe and it's sister city, Martinique, rapidly become the cornerstones of French power in the eastern Caribbean. The French goverment greatly strengthens the city's fortress and garrison in the 1660s.
Havana: Spanish, loc 25 degrees N, 82 degrees W. One of the old cities of Cuba, Havana provides protection for the Treasure Fleet as it prepares for the dangerous journey up the Florida coast, across the Atlantic and back to Spain. Havana is a rich town, very heavily garrisoned and fortified. Prices are extremely high, and all mercantile activity is done to strict accordance to Spanish law.
Leogane: French, loc 22 degrees N, 73 degrees W. One of the new French buccaneer ports of the 1660s, Leogane serves the unofficial but rapididly-growing French presence in Western Hispaniola.
Maracaibo: Spanish, loc 16 degrees N, 72 degrees W. This is the chief port on the Gulf of Venezuela. Maracaibo sits at the neck of Lake Maracaibo. It has more than it's share of aristocratic families with expensive tastes in European luxury goods.
Margarita: Spanish, loc 17 degrees N, 63 degrees W. In the early part of the 16th century Margarita was one of the richest pearl fisheries in the world. However by the 17th century the pearl beds are depletd and Margarita has since sunk into poverty and decline.
Martinique: French, loc 19 degrees N, 61 degrees W. Though first colonized somewhat earlier, this French port becomes economically viable in the 1640s. Martinique and it's sister city, Guadeloupe, are cornerstones of French power in the Eastern Caribbean. The French goverment greatly strengthens both cities' fortresses and garrisons in the 1660s.
Montserrat: English, loc 21 degrees N, 62 degrees W. Founded around 1640, this English colony concists primarily of small plantations run by "gentlemen farmers" (the non-inheriting second and third sons of the English nobility.) There is nothing much of note here.
Nassau: English, loc 26 degrees N, 77 degrees W. This Bahaman island port appears in the mid 16th century as a pirate haven. It is eventually captured by the English, and in the 1680s is designated a formal English colony. English attempts to civilize the place areless than successful, however, and the port remains a loud, aqualid place full of evil men.
Nevis: English, loc 21 degrees N, 63 degrees W. This pleasant island and it's nearby neighbor, St. Kitts, are both colonized during the 1620s. While St. Kitts eventually becomes a port of some importance, Nevis remains an agricultural backwater.
Nombre de Dios: Spanish, loc 15 degrees N, 79 degrees W. This town serves as the Caribbean port for Panama and Peru throughout the 16th century. However, Nombre de Dios is sited in an unhealthy swamp, is almost impossible to fortify, and is plundered mercilessly by English sea hawks. By centuries end the unfortunate city is finally abandoned in favor of a new and healthier and defensible port, Puerto Bello.
Panama: Spanish, loc 15 degrees N, 80 degrees W. Panama is a large, rich trade city on the Pacific Ocean and a cruicially important link in the Spanish trade empire. All silver and goods from Western South America travel up the coast to Panama, and are then carried by mule train over to a Caribbean port (Nombre de Dios in 16th century, Puerto Bello in 17th.) This very wealthy city is periodically attacked by French and English pirates and privateers, occassionally with great success.
Petit-Goave: French, loc 22 degrees N, 73 degrees W. Originally settled by buccaneers and French Huguenots, by 1620 Petit Goave has become an important trading post in Western Hispaniola. As the port becomes wealthier, planters and plantation lords begin to push out the buccaneers, amd by the 17th century the rude frontier settlement has become a civilized colonial port.
Port Royale: English, loc 21 degrees N, 77 degrees W. By 1660, just 5 years after the English capture of Jamaica from Spain, Port Royale has become a booming buccaneer town, and it quickly gains the reputation of being one of the most corrupt and debauched places in the entire Caribbean. Port Royale is almost totally wiped out btý earthquake at the end of the century, and most everybody believes it is an act of Divine justice.
Port-de-Paix: French, loc 23 degrees N, 73 degrees W. This later French Huguenot settlement becomes a significant port in the 1660s, and by the 1680s, Pert-de-Paix is the informal capitol of the French colonies in Western Hispaniola.
Puerto Bello: Spanish, loc 15 degrees N, 80 degrees W. By 1600 this city has replaced pestilential Nombre de Dios as home of the Viceroyalty of Peru and as the Caribbean terminus for Panama. Each year, when the Treasure Fleet arrives to pick up the Peruvian silver, Puerto Bello becomes a rich boom town. Weeks later, when the fleet departs for Cartagena, this town lapses into malarian somnlolence once more.
Puerto Cabello: Spanish, loc 16 degrees N, 68 degrees W. This secondary port along the Spanish Main is a city of note through the 1620s. However Caracas and the new Dutch port, Curacao take most of it's business as the century progresses. Puerto Principe: Spanish, loc 24 degrees N, 78 degrees W. This was one of the first cities founded on Cuba. Located deep inland, Puerto Principe is a wealthy city surrounded by cattle ranches. It suffers from occational Indian and buccaneer attacks.
Rio de la Hacha: Spanish, loc 17 degrees N, 73 degrees W. This is one of the two major ports serving the Colombiam highlands. (Santa Marta is the other.) San Juan: Spanish, loc 22 degrees N, 66 degrees W. This is the great port city of Puerto Rico, and one of the most powerfully fortified cities in Spanish America. San Juan was settled early and it remains a bastion of old Spanish aristocracy. Ultimately it becomes a base for Costa Guarda raids on the Caribbean.
Santa Catalina: Spanish, loc 18 degrees N, 82 degrees W. When Spaniards take Providence Island from the English in the 1640s, they rename it Santa Catalina. Though they do not bother to colonize the isolated rock, the Spanish maintain a garrison on Santa Catalina to prevent it from falling into English hands once more. Santa Marta: Spanish, loc 17 degrees N, 74 degrees W. Santa Marta and Rio de la Hacha are the principal ports serving the Colombian highlands.
Santiago: Spanish, loc 23 degrees N, 76 degrees W. Santiago is the original capitol of Cuba, and it remains a large, strong city until very late in the era. Santo Domingo: Spanish, loc 22 degrees N, 70 degrees W. This is the great capitol of hispaniola, one of the largest and oldest settlements in the entire American Empire of Spain. In the 17th century it's power and importance are fading, but the Spanish aristocrats and ranchers in the city remain vigorous enough to defeat a major English invasion in 1655. (The disappointed English invade and conquer Jamaica instead.)
St. Augustine: Spanish, loc 30 degrees N, 81 degrees W. Originally a French colony, in 1565 Spain captures St. Augustine, massacring the Frenchmen and establishing their own fortress and garrison in it's place. Though the city is repeatedly attacked and pillaged ny British pirates and privateers, Spain retains control of St. Augustine well into the 18th century.
St. Eustatius: Dutch, loc 21 degrees N, 63 degrees W. Settled in the 1640s by the Dutch, this island becomes one of the great free trade ports in the Eastern Caribbean. Unfortunately, the Dutch do not garrison or fortify the city sufficiently, and it is repeatedly attacked by it's greedy French and English neighbors. The unending political and military turmoil badly damage the port's economy.
St. Kitts: English, loc 21 degrees N, 63 degrees W. This settlement is first colonized in the 1620s by Frenchmen and Englishmen. The French rule the colony un the early days, and the port is known as "St. Christophe." Eventually the English gain dominance and anglicize the settlement's name to "St. Kitts." Trade expands greatly, and the port thrives under English rule.
St. Martin: Dutch, loc 22 degrees N, 63 degrees W. This island is colonized by the Dutch in the 1640s. It remains a quiet, peaceful plantation island for the remainder of the 17th century.
Tortuga: French, loc 23 degrees N, 73 degrees W. First settled in the 1620s by French buccaneers and Huguenots, Tortuga rapidly becomes a haven for pirates and privateers preying on the heavily-trafficked Windward Passage. The settlement is blessed with extremely strong natural and man-made defenses, and despite repeated Spanish attack it continues to grow and prosper throughout the 1650s and 1660s. Though nominally under French control, Tortuga remains a buccaneer town with all the drunkeness, debauchery, corruption and naugthiness that title suggests.
Trinidad: Spanish, loc 16 degrees N, 61 degrees W. Though a Spanish possession, Trinidad is virtually ignored by Spain and for much of the century remains a small isolated colony on the verge of extinction. Trinidad enjoys a brief notority /and wealth) as a haven for smugglers in the early 1600s
Vera Cruz: Spanish, loc 23 degrees N, 96 degrees W. This sleepy and unhealthy city is the main port for the great inland Viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico) Once a year, when the Trasure Fleet arrives, Vera Cruz becomes a rich boom town.
Villa Hermosa: Spanish, loc 22 degrees N, 93 degrees W. This inland city is the capitol of Tobasco province, a wealthy region of New Spain (Mexico)
Famous and infamous pirates
Bartholomew Roberts: On June 15, 1719, in the English trading station Anamaboe on the Guinea coast of Africa, pirates under the command of Howel Davis captured a Dutch slaving vessel named the Princess. Several merchant seamen were forced to join the pirates as crew, including the Princess' third mate, Bartholomew Roberts. Roberts was a fine sailor and natural leader, and when Davis was killed several months later, the men elected him captain. In a very short time Roberts was to prove himself one of the greatest pirates who ever lived. Somewhat of a dandy, Roberts dressed in a rich crimson damask waistcoat and breeches, wore a red feather in his hat and a large gold cross around his neck. He carried two braces of pistols on a silk sash and a heavy sword at his side. He drank great quantities of tea and disliked alcohol aboard his vessels. Upon assuming command, Roberts sailed south along the coast of Africa, picking up several prizes. Then he took the ship to Brazil where they captured the richest prize out of a fleet of 42 merchants awaiting military escort. Then the pirates turned north to Newfoundland where Roberts captured 22 merchants and 150 fishing ships in harbor without firing a shot. He headed south once again, capturing half a dozen French prizes off the Newfoundland banks and several English ships off New England. Roberts then entered the Caribbean. Basing himself off of St. Lucia, he launched upon a campaign of such brilliance and ferocity that he single-handedly brought trade in the Caribbean to a standstill. Among other exploits, he sailed boldly into St. Kitts and ravaged a number of English merchantmen at anchor there. Later on, he seized, burned, or sank 15 French and English vessels in a 3-day period. The local authorities were helpless and the naval forces in the area refused to challenge him. By spring of 1721 there was no shipping left in the Caribbean to capture and Roberts set sail for Africa. The pirates spent several months rampaging up and down the coast, until at last the British 50-gun HMS Swallow found them at anchor. For a time the pirates mistook the approaching vessel for a merchantman, and it wasn't until the warship was quite near that Roberts realized what he was facing. Roberts did not savor an encounter with the more powerful vessel, and he planned to flee as fast as his sails could bear him. But before he left he wanted to give his attacker one parting shot, perhaps hoping that his fire would damage his enemy's sails or otherwise slow the pursuit, so he gave orders to close with the approaching ship. In the event , the Swallow's cannon-fire proved the more deadly; her first broadside tore Robert's throat out and he died almost immediately. During his 4-year career, Roberts pillaged, captured or sank over 400 ships and took untold millions in treasure. He rampaged across the entire Atlantic, from Brazil in the south to Newfoundland in the north, from Caribbean in the west to Africa in the east. His death brought profound relief to merchants and naval officers on four continents.
Blackbeard: Born Edward Drummond in England in 1680, the pirate known as "Blackbeard" learned his trade as an English privateer during the war of Spanish Succession. When that war ended in 1714 he drifted into outright piracy, operating up and down the North American East Coast, attacking English shipping and anything else that came within his grasp. Blackbeard operated under the pseudonym of "Edward Teach." His nickname came from the beard that he let grow to cover almost his entire face. In combat, he stuck burning slowmatch (a slow-burning fuse used to fire cannon) under his hat; with his face wreathed in smoke and flame, he was said to resemble a fiend from hell. Legends about Blackbeard's ferocity abound. Once, while he and his navigator were peacefully drinking in Blackbeard's cabin, the pirate pulled out a pistol and shot the man in the knee without warning. When asked why he had crippled the navigator, Teach relied that if he did not now and then kill one of them, his crew would forget who he was. Blackbeard met his end in the fall of 1718 in the narrow channels of Ocracoke Inlet, where he had stopped to refit his vessel. There he and 19 men were discovered by a superior English force of two sloops carrying 60 men. Blackbeard and his men fought fiercly despite the odds. His first broadside blasted one sloop right out of battle, and his second almost clearde the deck of the remaining sloop. Blackbeard then rammed the second sloop and led his men to attack, where he found himself facing Lieutennant Robert Maynard, the commander of the vessel. Maynard and Blackbeard both had pistols, which they fired at nearly point-black range. Blackbeard's shot missed the Lietennant, while Maynard'shit Blackbeard in the body. But Blackbeard didn't fall. Instead he took a swing at Maynard with his cutlass, shattering the astonished Englishman's sword with one mighty blow. But before Blackbeard could finish the helpless Maynard, another sailor attacked him from the side, slashing his throat so badly that blood gushed everywhere. Still Blackbeard fought on, but soon he was surrounded by English sailors, and they hacked and cut Blackbeard until he finally toppled over, dead. Seeing their leader fall, the remaining pirates also surrendered. The short battle had been remarkably bloody and savage. Of the 19 pirates, ten were dead and the surviving nine were all wounded. Of Maynard's crew of 35, ten were killed and 24 wounded. Maynard examined Blackbeard's body and found that he had taken five bullet wounds and twenty cutlass blows before finally succumbing to death.
Henry Morgan: Without doubt, Henry Morgan was the greatest English privateer in the 17th century. A bold, ruthless and daring man, Morgan fought England's enemies for over thirty years - and made himself a very wealthy man in the process. In 1655, at the age of twenty, Morgan volunteered to join an English expedition against the Spanish Caribbean city of Santo Domingo. When the assualt failed, the expedition attacked and captured the island of Jamaica, which was virtually undefended at the time. In 1663, Morgan was leading indepentant raids against the Spanish from the new English base of Port Royal, Jamaica. Bearing an English Letter of Marque, Morgan and 200 men set sail for the Yucatan, where they hid their vessels, marched 150 miles through jungle and sacked the town of Villa Hermosa. The force then proceeeded to Honduras, where they captured the inland city of Gran Granada. Morgan returned to Port Royal in triumph, an extremely wealthy and popular man. In 1666 he was made Colonel of Port Royal militia and was made "Admiral" by the Brethren of the Coast. Over the next several years Morgan and his men were to sack Puerto Principe, Puerto Bello, Maracaibo and Cartagena, an incredible list of success. In 1670, Morgan launched an attack against Panama, the greatest Spanish city of all. After capturing the fort guarding the Charges River (which leads inland towards Panama), Morgan and 1600 privateeers boarded canoes and headed up the river. After a nightmarish trip of almost a week through pestilentil swamp and heavy jungle, the exhausted and starving buccaneers reached Panama. The enemy awaited them on the far side of a clearing. Consisting of 1700 infantry and a couple of hundred cavalrymen, the force was at least the equal of Morgan's. Disliking the idea of sending his weakened men in a frontal assualt across open ground, Morgan dispatched 300 men to sneak through the forest and hit the enemy in the flank. When the surprised enemy turned to face this new threat, Morgan and the remaining men would come in and finish them. Then the defenders made an incredible blunder. Ignoring orders to hold ground, the Spanish cavalry began to charge Morgan's position. Caught up in the exitement, the un-trained infantry followed, Once the enemy was in the open, Morgan's men opened fire while his flanking party attacked the enemy from behind, sending the Spanish army reeling back in confusion. The enemy broken, Morgan and his men marched into Panama. Morgan's sack of Panama was a grievous blow to Spanish pride and power in the Caribbean. He was knighted and made Lieutennant Governor of Jamaica. Though an able administrator, Morgan was unsuited for the life of a beurocrat. He spent his nights roistering with his buccaneer comrades in Port Royal, and 1683 he was removed from Jamaica's governing council for his "passions and irreglarities." The unrepentant Morgan died in his bed, five years later. He was killed by dropsy, an ailment caused by gross overindulgence in food and drink - probably just how the old rascal wanted to go.
Jack Rackham: Rackham began his meteoric career in 1717, when he convinced his fellow pirates to depose their captain, Charles Vane, for cowardice and appoint him as their new leader. Within just three short years he would gain notoriety both for his piratical exploits and for his choice of Liuetenants. Known as "Calico Jack" for his bright clothing, Rackham cut a dashing figure in the pirate havens of the Caribbean. In New Providence, Bahamas, he won the heart of Anne Bonny, a wild and tempestous young woman who he dresses as a man and smuggled aboard his ship. Soon afterwards he discovered that yet another woman was aboard his ship, one Mary Read, also disguised as a man. By all accounts the two women were as fierce - or fiercer - than any man aboard his ship, and the women became his trusted liuetenants. Over the next several years Rackham played merry hell among the shipping in the Caribbean. He primarily subsisted on fishing vessels and lightly-armed merchants, but he'd take on larger and more powerful targets when necessary. Rackham's piratical career came to an abrupt end in 1720, when an English warship engaged him in a night battle. The two women fought like heroes but most of the pirates - Rackham included - were dead drunk and they surrendered without putting up much of a fight. Put in irons and taken to Jamaica to stand trial, on November 28, 1720, Calico Jack and his crew were found guilty and sentenced to death. "Pleading their bellies", the pregnant Bonny and Read had their sentances commuted until they bore their children, but there was no reprieve for Rackham. According to legend, as he went to his death the unforgiving Anne Bonny told him, "Had you fought like a man, you need not have been hanged like a dog."
Jean Lafitte: He was born sometime around 1778. He and his older brother, Pierre, went to sea at an early ag; somewhere off the west coast of Africa the two quarreled with their captain, and began new careers as privateers. An extremely brave, skilled, dashingly-handsome and peronable young man, Jean Lafitte quickly earned himself captaincy. After a good run in the Indean Ocean, the Lafittes moved to the Caribbean, where they established a base of operations on Grand Terre, an island in the mouth of the Mississipi. Lafitte ran a tidy little criminal empire in th Loisinana bayous. His men ranged far and wide over the Caribbean while he and his brother fenced much of the loot in New Orleans, where they became something akin to folk heroes. When the US took possession of New Orleans, the new Governor tried to have the rogues arrested, but without success. With intimate knowledge of the swamps and bayous of Louisiana - as well as the enthusiastic support of the locals of New Orleans - the Lafittes were virtually untouchable. In 1812 the US declared war on England. An admirer of the United States, Jean Lafitte offered his services to the US Governor in return for full amnesty for him and his men, but the Governor declined the offer. When the British invasion was imminent, the Governor launched a surprise attack against Grand Terre, driving Lafitte and his men into the dismal swamps. Lafittes men wanted to join the British to exact revenge against the Americans, but Lafitte stood firm. Staking his freedom and his life on one last throw of the dice, Lafitte decided to meet in person with General Andrew Jackson, the newly-arrived commander of the New Orleans defense. A dormer Tenessee lawyer and politician, "Old Hickory" was known as a brilliant soldier and an honest, straightforwatd man. Much to everyones surprise the general and the pirate got along famously, and Jackson quickly accepted Lafittes offer. The events of the Battle of New Orleans are well-known. Lafitte and his men acted as guides for the US forces, allowing them to launch a surprise attack against the approaching British, delaying their advance until the American defenses were in place below the city. In the final battle Lafitte led an independent force of sharpshooters against a regiment attempting to outflank the American position, while his other men worked the American artillery, earning Jackson's admiration for their coolness under fire. The American position was unassailable, and the British Army was driven back with heavy losses, securing New Orleans for the United States. General Jackson was true to his word, and Lafitte and his men recieved full pardons.
L'Ollonais: Born in Olonne, France, Jean David Nau arrived in the Caribbean in the 1650s as an indentured servant. By 1660 his indenture was over, and he turned to a potentially more lucrative career of piracy. By 1668 he was dead. In his brief career L'Ollonais would prove himself to be one of the bravest and most cunning pirates who ever sailed the seas. He would also prove himself to be one of the most brutal and evil men who ever lived. Stories of L'Ollonais outrageous cruelty abound. On one occation he was interrogating prisoners, seeking a safe way past a fortification. When the terrified men said they didn't know of any such route, he cut the heart out of one prisoner and "began to bite and gnaw it with his teeth, like a ravenous wolf, saying to the rest: 'I will serve you all alike, if you show me not another way.'" On another voyage L'Ollonais captured a Spanish ship carrying 50 soldiers sent out to capture him. L'Ollonais promptly killed all of them except one, who he sent to Havana with the message, "I shall never henceforth give quarter to any Spaniard whatsoever." During one famous cruise L'Ollonais amassed around 600 pirates and took them to the Gulf of Venezuela, where he sacked the city of Maracaibo, sacked the city of Gibraltar, and then sacked Maracaibo again on his way home to Tortuga. In the course of two short months L'Ollonais took treasure and cargo valued in excess of 600.000 pieces of eight. L'Ollonais was recieved as a hero in Tortuga, and when he announced that he was going on another expedition, this time to Venezuela, he recieved over 700 volunteers. The voyage began well and the pirates captured the city of Puerto Bello and, after a hard fight the nearby town of San Pedro. Satisfied with their takings thus far, many of the pirates decided to return to Tortuga to spend their loot, while L'Ollonais continued on with a smaller force of around 300. Some time later, his ship went hard aground on a sandbar. Unable to dislodge the vessel, L'Ollonais built a smaller boat from the wreckage and with about half of his men sailed to the coast of Cartagena, looking for canoes and other boats to carry the remaining crewmen. But at last his luck ran out. Once ashore L'Ollonais and his men were repeatedly attacked by both Spaniards and natives, and the pirates were eventually overwhelmed and massacred by a party of Darien Indians. Alexandre Oliver Exquemelin, author of "The Buccaneers of America", describes L'Ollonais' ending thusly: "The Indians within a few days of arrival took him prisoner and tore him in pieces alive, throwing his body limb by limb into the fire, and the ashes into the air; to the intent no trace nor memory might remain of such an infamous, inhuman creature."
Rock Brasiliano: Rock Brasiliano (a.k.a. "Roche Brasiliano") was one of the more successful Dutch pirates in the Caribbean. Little is known of Rock's early life, except that he was born in Groeningen, The Netherlands, and at an early age relocated to a Dutch settlement in Brazil. The Portuguese captured the colony sometime in 1650-1655, at which point the young man relocated to Jamaica, where he joined the buccaneers as a common sailor. A brave man and a fine sailor, Brasiliano was popular with his fellow pirates, where he earned the nickname "Rock of Brasiliano" (his real name has been lost to history.) In a short time he was elected captain of his own vessel, a barque stolen from other pirates. Brasiliano liked to cruise the rich waters off of Campeche, picking off treasure ships sailing from New Spain (Mexico) to Havana or Europe. Between voyages Brasiliano would return to Port Royal, Jamaica to rest, refit and recruit, and he quickly gained a reputation as one of the most dangerous men in that dangerous city. Rock would get roaring drunk and roam the city, waving his cutlass and attack passers-by as the whim took him. He was equally brutal at sea, where he badly mistreated prisoners - particulary Spanish prisoners - torturing and killing them without justification. At one point Brasiliano was captured and imprisoned in the Campeche dungeons. The city had suffered much pain and hardship at his hands, and the Governor decreed that Brasiliano would hang. But Brasiliano was too clever for him. Somehow acquiring pen and paper, Brasiliano forged a letter, which he got smuggled out of the dungeon and delivered to the Governor of Campeche. The letter purported to come from a group of buccaneers cruising outside of the city; it stated that if the governor harmed Brasiliano they would have no mercy on the city, it's shipping, or it's people. As the city had previously fallen into buccaneer hands, the Governor took this threat most seriously indeed. Looking for some way to save face (while keeping his own skin intact), the Governor had Brasiliano brought before him. He told Rock that he would send him back to Spain if he would swear to give up piracy forever; if not, the villain would be hanged immediately. Rock readily gave his solemn oath, and the governor put him on the first ship heading to Europe. Predictably, once in Spain, Brasiliano took passage back to Jamaica, where he quickly resumed his piratical cruises. Not much is knnown of Brasiliano's career nor his end. No one ever reported capturing or killing him; it is possible that his blood-hatred of Spain slaked, Rock retired to live out his days in anonymity in some quiet corner of the world. It is more likely, however, that his vessel was lost at sea with all hands.
Stede Bonnet: Famous in history as "the gentleman pirate" Stede Bonnet might more accurately be called, "the dumb pirate", or "the inept pirate", or "the cowardly pirate". Stede Bonnet is primarily remembered for two things: first, for being a snappy dresser, and second for having no sense whatsoever. Bonney lived on the island of Barbados, where he owned a large estate. With apparently no warning, in 1717 the young man purchased a 10-gun sloop, named it Revenge, and sailed off to be a pirate. No one is sure exactly why he did this - the best guess is that he turned to piracy to get away from his shrewish wife. Once at sea Bonnet made his way up the coast of North America. His relations with his crew quickly detoriated as they discovered that he had no knowledge of the sea at all. In March of 1718 the Revenge fell in with the Queen Anne's Revenge, commanded by the pirate Blackbeard. It didn't take Blackbeard long to determine the true measure of his compatriot, and he politely insisted that Bonnet remain aboard his own ship as a "valued guest", assigning one of his own lietenants to command Bonnet's vessel in his absence. Blackbeard was so polite and deferential that it took Bonnet quite some time to realize he had been deposed. After cruising up and down the coast for a while, things began to get a little hot for the pirates, and both decided to accept a pirate amnesty being offered by the British. Back in command of his own ship, the "reformed" Bonnet then headed out to sea, where withing a few short weeks he was once again attacking British shipping. Eventually two British Navu sloops caught up with him in Cape Fear River. After a nasty river battle Bonnet and his crew were captured and taken in chains to Charles Town. There, after a failed escape attempt, Bonnet stood trial and was sentenced to death. Bonet did not go down with dignity. When he learned of his sentence, Bonnet said to the judge, "Cut off my arms and cut off my legs so that I may sit and read from the scriptures and, please sir, I will for ever sing praises to our Lord. But, whatever you do, please don't hang me!" The ladies present at court were much moved by the handsome young man's pleas - the judge wasn't. Bonnet was hanged on December 10, 1718. Bonnet's body was buried secretly in the marshes outside of town. Local legend says that Bonnet requested that his bones be hidden because he feared that his wife would seek vengeance on his body after death.
William Kidd: Captain Kidd's story serves as a cautionary tale of the dangers of privateering and of the blurry line between that occupation and outright piracy. In December, 1695, a privateering vessel named Adventure Galley was launched at Deptford, England, on the Thames river. The ship was to sail around Africa and destroy pirates operating in the Red Sea and to harass French shipping there. She was commanded by William Kidd, an experienced captain and privateer. The Galley's maiden voyage was beset by ill luck and delay. Upon departure Kidd promptly lost almost half his crew to the English navy's press hangs and was forced to make up for the missing men by recruiting the dregs and scum of New York harbor. It took five long months for Kidd to make the voyage around Africa, and on arrival he immediately lost another fifty men to a tropical disease. By the time he reached the Red Sea the surviving ce´rewmen were almost in open mutiny and Kidd was ready to resort to almost any means to keep them in line. Unfortunately, most of the French shipping had been driven out of the area, and all Kidd encountered were neutral vessels. But Kidd was desperate, probably fearing for his life, and he attacked and captured a number f neutrals, believing (or hoping) that ambiguities in their ownership and papers made them legitimate prizes. On January 30th of 1698, Kidd encountered the Quedah Merchant. Owned by Armenians and flyimg under false French colors, the Mechant was one of the richest prizes ever taken at sea. Kidd was enormously pleased with his good fortune - until he discovered that the Merchant had an English captain, which made his attack an act of outright piracy. In horror, Kidd ordered that the ship be freed, but his crew angrily refused. Instead, they sailed the ships to the African island of Madagascar and divided the plunder. (Surprisingly, they gave Kidd a full privateer captain's portion of 40 shares) Then all but a handfull of men deserted Kidd for another pirate in the area. Convinced that he was an innocent victim of the actions of his mutinous crew, Kidd took the remainder of his men back to New England, where he his some of his treasure before reporting to the local authorities. The authorities made Kidd reveal where he had hidden the treasure, then shipped him back to England in irons. After rotting in prison for a year, Kidd was put to trial. He was quickly found quiltly of piracy and sentenced to be hanged. Even then his bad luck didn't desert him: the rope broke and it took his executioners two tries to kill him. (Incidently, this is the only known instance of a pirate burying any substantial amount of treasure. Most everybody else spent their loot as quickly as they got it.)
Ships of the era
Barque: Barques are shallow-draft three-masted ships with one or more of the masts being fore-and-aft rigged. The fore-and-aft rigging makes these ships fast when sailing close-hauled, but slow when sailing large. The standard Barque design has been around for a very long time, and is extremely popular in the tranquil waters of the Mediterranean and Caribbean. They are not good vessels in rough seas, and few dare to take them out into the stormy North Atlantic. Barques are larger than Coastal Barques but smaller than Ocean Barques. They are slightly more powerful than Coastal Barques, but still not very popular as military or pirate vessels.
Brig: The brig is a two-masted vessel sporting a fore-and-aft mainsail and square-rigged foremast. The Brig possesses some unique sailing qualities, and a skilled master can maneuver her with great ease and elegance. Brigs are employed both as merchant vessels and warships. The Brig is a medium-sized ship with fairly potent gun and crew capacity. They "have teeth" as the expression goes. Pirates have made many successful cruises in captured Brigs. The Brig is closely related to the smaller Brigantine and the larger Brig of War.
Fast Galleon: This is a revision of the basic galleon design, featuring a rduced upper-works and an updated sail plan, resulting in a somwhat smaller vessel that is faster in light winds and considerably more maneuverable than the original model. Despite these changes the Fast Galleon still suffers the disadvatages of all galleon types : poor speed when close-hauled. Still, a Fast Galleon in the hands of a competent and determined captain can be very dangerous indeed. Other related ships include the War Galleon and Flag Galleon.
Fluyt: Fluyts were invented by the Dutch around 1600, then widely copied throughout norhern Europe. Fluyts are cargo vessels especially designed to be cheap to operate and able to get in and out of poor anhorages. The Fluyt can be sailed with a tiny crew (12 to 15 men is not uncommon) Despite it's cargo capacity, the Flutyt possesses a draft so shallow that it can enter rivers, coves and small harbors inaccessible to larger craft. Thse slow and unmaneuverable vessels make poor warships and horrible pirate vessels (although lucrative pirate prey) The Large Flutyt and West Indiaman are bigger versions of this ship.
Frigate: Square-rigged Frigates are exellent ships of war, fairly handy to maeuver and faster than most square-rigged ships when close-hauled. A Frigate is extraordinarily useful for patrols and independant cruises. Almost all Frigates are built for the Crown as naval warships. With their well-drilled and professional crews, Frigates are dangerous opponents at any time. Most pirates and buccaneers disappear over the horizon whenever one approaches. Capturing a Frigate is an extraordinary coup for any pirate, as is capturing one of it's larger cousins, the Large Frigate or Ship of the Line.
Merchantman: Square-rigged Merchantmen are well-designed seaworthy vessels. They have large cargo capacity, can carry numerous guns, and have plenty of room for crew and passengers. Furthermore, they can be sailed with a smallish crew to save money. Often not carrying enough crew to man all guns, most Merchantmen are extremely disinclined to fight: when facing pirates they almost always seek to run away. Beware, however: some Merchanten have been converted to pirate ships, with stronger armament and sailed by a ferocious crew of cutthroats. These ships are extremely dangerous. The Large Marchantman and East Indiaman are larger variants of this ship design.
Pinnace: Until the advent of the sloop, Pinnaces were the primary small craft of the Caribbean. Like the Sloop, the Pinnace is very fast, very maneuverable, and has a shallow draft that permits sailing in shoal waters. The fore-and-aft rigged Pinnace carries oars, allowing it to move directly into the wind. Pnnaces have made successful pirate craft in the Caribbean. Though small in size and unable to stand much pounding in battle, the Pinnace's speed and maneuverability (particulary in light winds) allows it to sail rings around stronger opponents, and it's shallow draft lets it sail into places where larger ships dare not follow. War Canoes are smaller versions of the Pnnace, and Mail Runners are somewhat larger variants.
Sloop: The Sloop is a Dutch designed small, fore-and-aft rigged vessel equipped one or two square sails before the mast. This vessel becomes very popular in the Caribbean during the 1630s and 1640s. It is extremely fast and axceptionally maneuverable - better than almost any ship in light winds (in strong winds, though, a Sloop can be considerably slower than a larger ship.) Under oars the Sloop can move directly into the wind. A Sloop has a shallow draft, allowing it to sail over shoals with no risk. Despite it's modest size and cargo capacity, the Sloop's maneuverability is so great that many buccaneers prefer it to larger, more powerful craft. Indeed, the English Royal Navy has built a number of Sloops for it's own use as pirate hunters. The Sloop of War and Royal Sloop are larger variations of this vessel.
Trade Galleons: Trade Galleons are large merchant vessels used extensively by the Spanish in the Caribbean. These ships are designed for stability and reliability and are well-suited for the long and dangerous voyages across the North Atlantic Ocean. However, seaworthiness has been achieved at the expense of maneuverability: Galleons are slow to turn and sepecially slow when sailing close-hauled. Tacking into the wind is very difficult for this type of ship. Though these vessels can carry a large number of cannon and crew, their poor agility make them vulnerable to attack by a fast and maneuverable opponent. - as long as the opponent manages to stay out of the way of the Galleon's broadsides. The basic Galleon has been modified extesively over time, and there are a number of common variations, including the Royal Galleon and Treasure Galleon.