EXQUEMELIN, A.O. Bucaniers of America (London, 1684)
Sir Henry Morgan
Sir Henry Morgan (c.1635-1688) born in the county of Monmouth Wales. In 1654 he joined the expeditionary force which was going to capture Hispaniola. However, the forces were defeated and withdrew. After this defeat the General and Admiral of the expedition turned to raiding Spanish settlements, becoming privateers. Morgan engaged in these raids and was captain of one of the ships. After the death of the leader of the privateers Morgan took over and became the Admiral of the Brethren of the Coast, this was a collection of pirates and privateers. He was knighted by King Charles II as well as being made Lieutenant-Governor of Jamaica. He had an estate in Jamaica and with his wealth contributed to its development. Whilst Morgan was a buccaneer he was highly respected, so much so that upon his death he was granted a state funeral in Jamaica.
It is Morgan’s ship that Exquemein said he travelled on, and gave him the first-hand account of life on board a pirate ship.
The image itself is in fitting with other portraits of pirates. The pirates themselves in foreground, while the background contains a scene which are reflective of the pirates activities. The image in the book has been stuck back in, on a new sheet of paper, having been cut down just to the border of the image. New sheet of paper stuck into the book.
The Cruelty of L’Ollonais
Francois L’Ollonais was a French pirate who committed many acts of great cruelty. The one depicted in this image is of one of his last acts of cruelty. L’Ollonais had sacked the Spanish port of Puerto Caballo, and seized a Spanish ship with 24 guns mounted on it. He then went to march to San Pedro which was 10 to 12 leagues from Puerto Caballo with 300 of his men. However, three leagues en route he was ambushed by Spanish troops. The two sides fought but in the end the Spanish had to flee to save themselves, while they had killed and injured many pirates not all of the Spanish troops were able to flee.
L’Ollonais put to death the majority of the Spanish who were left after asking them the questions he thought would be helpful to him. Those that reminded were not injured and L’Ollonais learnt from them that there more Spanish waiting to ambush him. He proceeded to ask them one by one if there was another route to San Pedro, all informed him that there was not one. This anger L’Ollonais to such an extent that he cut open the chest of one of the Spanish with his cutlass, pulled out his heart and gnawed on it, and declared to the remaining Spanish that he would do the same to them if they did not tell him of another path. This is what is depicted in the print.
Roche Braziliano was not his real name, rather a nickname giving to him from his fellow pirates. He was born in Groningen United Provinces, at that time it was under the West India Company Amsterdam. When it was retaken by the Portuguese he fled to Brazil, giving him his nickname.
As a pirate he behaved in a way that gained him respect from his other seamen. When some men left the ship he was on he joined them, and after acquiring a ship he was proclaimed captain, soon after he captured a ship that contained an abundant quantity of plate. This act granted him great renown, as well as causing people to hold him in esteem as well as being feared.
Roche was known for his extremely cruel acts of violence, mostly towards Spanish, but when drunk he would run riot in the street acting anyone he came across. He once roasted alive two Spaniards who refused to sell him pigs.
Roche and ten of his men were captured not far from Campeachy, and were quickly placed in jail. To facilitate their release, Roche wrote a letter to the governor, seemingly written by those still on the ship, demanding his release otherwise the town and the area of Campeachy would be sacked. This led to his release. Soon after this the pirates were attacking the Spanish city of Merida, whereupon the pirates were ambushed, then by Spanish cavalry, who cut down the pirates. Roche escaped, but that was the last account of him, it is unknown what happened to him.
Cordingly, D. 1996. Life Among the Pirates: The Romance and the Reality. Abacus
Exquemelin, A.O. 1684. The Buccaneers of America. London.
Stevens, C.M. 1899. The Buccaneers and Their Reign of Terror: An Authentic History. New York: Hurst