Thursday, 25 March 2010


During the 1620s, English and French sailors settled on Hispaniola (now Haiti). They were called ‘boucaniers’, a name which came to be known as ‘buccaneers’. In the 1630s the Spanish attacked them and drove them from Hispaniola, but they built a stronghold on the island of Tortuga and hit back, attacking Spanish ships whenever they could. In 1655 the British fortified Port Royal in Jamaica, and many buccaneers moved there from Tortuga.

You Must Be Joking
The buccaneer capital was destroyed by the Spanish.
Port Royal was destroyed on 7 June 1692 by a massive earthquake. The whole city slid into the sea and 2,000 people died.

Can You Believe It?
Buccaneers are named after their favourite food.
YES. The first buccaneers made a living by smoking meat and selling it to passing ships. This meat was called "boucan" in the local language, so the men who made and ate it were "boucaniers", or buccaneers.

The Buccaneer Author
In 1683 the buccaneer Alexander Esquemeling retired from the sea and wrote a book about his adventures. "Buccaneers of America" was an instant bestseller. Esquemeling made more money from the book than he had done as a buccaneer. The book is still in print today, and many of our pirate legends are based on it.

This is an extract from History Makers - Pirates by Rupert Matthews

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