Buccaneer
Overview
The buccaneers were privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

s who attacked Spanish
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

 shipping in the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 during the late 17th century.

The term buccaneer is now used generally as a synonym for pirate. Originally, buccaneer crews were larger, more apt to attack coastal cities, and more localized to the Caribbean than later pirate crews who sailed to the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 on the Pirate Round
Pirate Round
The Pirate Round was a sailing route followed by certain Anglo-American pirates, mainly during the late 17th century. The course led from the western Atlantic, around the southern tip of Africa, stopping at Madagascar, then on to targets such as the coast of Yemen and India. The Pirate Round was...

 in the late 17th century.
The term buccaneer derives from the Caribbean Arawak
Arawakan languages
Macro-Arawakan is a proposed language family of South America and the Caribbean based on the Arawakan languages. Sometimes the proposal is called Arawakan, in which case the central family is called Maipurean....

 word buccan
Buccan
A buccan is a native South American and Caribbean namefor a wooden framework or hurdle on which meat was roasted or smoked over a fire, similar to the original meaning of a barbecue....

, a wooden frame for smoking meat, preferably manatee
Manatee
Manatees are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows...

.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
The buccaneers were privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

s who attacked Spanish
Habsburg Spain
Habsburg Spain refers to the history of Spain over the 16th and 17th centuries , when Spain was ruled by the major branch of the Habsburg dynasty...

 shipping in the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

 during the late 17th century.

The term buccaneer is now used generally as a synonym for pirate. Originally, buccaneer crews were larger, more apt to attack coastal cities, and more localized to the Caribbean than later pirate crews who sailed to the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 on the Pirate Round
Pirate Round
The Pirate Round was a sailing route followed by certain Anglo-American pirates, mainly during the late 17th century. The course led from the western Atlantic, around the southern tip of Africa, stopping at Madagascar, then on to targets such as the coast of Yemen and India. The Pirate Round was...

 in the late 17th century.

History

The term buccaneer derives from the Caribbean Arawak
Arawakan languages
Macro-Arawakan is a proposed language family of South America and the Caribbean based on the Arawakan languages. Sometimes the proposal is called Arawakan, in which case the central family is called Maipurean....

 word buccan
Buccan
A buccan is a native South American and Caribbean namefor a wooden framework or hurdle on which meat was roasted or smoked over a fire, similar to the original meaning of a barbecue....

, a wooden frame for smoking meat, preferably manatee
Manatee
Manatees are large, fully aquatic, mostly herbivorous marine mammals sometimes known as sea cows...

. From this became derived in French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 the word boucane and hence the name boucanier for French hunters who used such frames to smoke meat from feral
Feral
A feral organism is one that has changed from being domesticated to being wild or untamed. In the case of plants it is a movement from cultivated to uncultivated or controlled to volunteer. The introduction of feral animals or plants to their non-native regions, like any introduced species, may...

 cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

 and pigs
Razorback
Razorback is an Americanism, loosely applied to any type of feral pig or wild boar in North America. The term has also appeared in Australia, to describe said animals in that country.-Introduction to the Americas:...

 on Hispaniola
Hispaniola
Hispaniola is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The island is located between the islands of Cuba to the west and Puerto Rico to the east, within the hurricane belt...

 (now Haiti
Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

 and the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

). English
Kingdom of England
The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

 colonists anglicised
Anglicisation
Anglicisation, or anglicization , is the process of converting verbal or written elements of any other language into a form that is more comprehensible to an English speaker, or, more generally, of altering something such that it becomes English in form or character.The term most often refers to...

 the word boucanier to buccaneer.

About 1630, some Frenchmen who were driven away from the island of Hispaniola fled to nearby Tortuga. The Spaniards tried to drive them out of Tortuga, but the buccaneers were joined by many other French, Dutch
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 and English and turned to piracy against Spanish shipping, generally using small craft to attack galleon
Galleon
A galleon was a large, multi-decked sailing ship used primarily by European states from the 16th to 18th centuries. Whether used for war or commerce, they were generally armed with the demi-culverin type of cannon.-Etymology:...

s in the vicinity of the Windward Passage
Windward Passage
The Windward Passage is a strait in the Caribbean Sea, between the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola. The strait specifically lies between the easternmost region of Cuba and the northwest of Haiti.80km wide, the Windward Passage has a threshold depth of 1,700m...

. Finally they became so strong that they even sailed to the mainland of Spanish America
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 and sacked cities.

English settlers occupying Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

 began to spread the name buccaneers with the meaning of pirates. The name became universally adopted later in 1684 when the first English translation of Alexandre Exquemelin
Alexandre Exquemelin
Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin was a French writer best known as the author of one of the most important sourcebooks of 17th century piracy, first published in Dutch as De Americaensche Zee-Roovers, in Amsterdam, by Jan ten Hoorn, in 1678.Born about 1645, it is likely that Exquemelin was a native of...

's book The Buccaneers of America was published.

Viewed from London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, buccaneering was a low-budget way to wage war on England's rival, Spain. So, the English crown licensed buccaneers with letters of marque
Letter of marque
In the days of fighting sail, a Letter of Marque and Reprisal was a government licence authorizing a person to attack and capture enemy vessels, and bring them before admiralty courts for condemnation and sale...

, legalizing their operations in return for a share of their profits. The buccaneers were invited by Jamaica's Governor Thomas Modyford
Thomas Modyford
Colonel Sir Thomas Modyford, 1st Baronet was a planter of Barbados and Governor of Jamaica, 1664-70.Modyford was the son of a mayor of Exeter with family connections to the Duke of Albemarle, who emigrated to Barbados as a young man with other family members in 1647, in the opening stages of the...

 to base ships at Port Royal
Port Royal
Port Royal was a city located at the end of the Palisadoes at the mouth of the Kingston Harbour, in southeastern Jamaica. Founded in 1518, it was the centre of shipping commerce in the Caribbean Sea during the latter half of the 17th century...

. The buccaneers robbed Spanish shipping and colonies, and returned to Port Royal with their plunder, making the city the most prosperous in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

. There even were Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 officers sent to lead the buccaneers, such as Christopher Myngs
Christopher Myngs
Sir Christopher Myngs , English admiral and pirate, came of a Norfolk family and was a relative of another admiral, Sir Cloudesley Shovell. Pepys' story of his humble birth, in explanation of his popularity, is said to be erroneous. His name is often given as Mings.The date of Myngs's birth is...

. Their activities went on irrespective of whether England happened to be at war with Spain or France.

Among the leaders of the buccaneers were two Frenchmen:
Jean-David Nau, better known as François l'Ollonais, and Daniel Montbars
Daniel Montbars
Daniel Montbars , better known as Montbars the Exterminator, was a 17th-century French buccaneer. For several years, he was known as one of the most violent buccaneers active against the Spanish during the mid-17th century...

, who destroyed so many Spanish ships and killed so many Spaniards that he was called "the Exterminator". Another noted leader was a Welshman
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 named Henry Morgan
Henry Morgan
Admiral Sir Henry Morgan was an Admiral of the Royal Navy, a privateer, and a pirate who made a name for himself during activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements...

, who sacked Maracaibo
Maracaibo
Maracaibo is a city and municipality located in northwestern Venezuela off the western coast of the Lake Maracaibo. It is the second-largest city in the country after the national capital Caracas and the capital of Zulia state...

, Portobello, and Panama City
Panama City
Panama is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Panama. It has a population of 880,691, with a total metro population of 1,272,672, and it is located at the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal, in the province of the same name. The city is the political and administrative center of the...

, stealing a huge amount from the Spanish. Morgan became rich and went back to England, where he was knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

ed by Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

.

In the 1690s, the old buccaneering ways began to die out, as European governments began to discard the policy of "no peace beyond the Line." Buccaneers were hard to control and might embroil their colonies in unwanted wars. Notably, at the 1697 joint French-buccaneer siege of Cartagena
Raid on Cartagena (1697)
The Raid on Cartagena was a successful attack by the French on the fortified city of Cartagena, Colombia, on May 6, 1697, as part of the War of the Grand Alliance....

, led by Bernard Desjean, Baron de Pointis
Bernard Desjean, Baron de Pointis
Bernard Desjean, Baron de Pointis was a French admiral and privateer.He took part in naval operations in the 1680s under Duquesne, like the bombardment of Algiers and the punitive action against Genoa...

, the buccaneers and the French regulars parted on extremely bitter terms. Less tolerated by local Caribbean officials, buccaneers increasingly turned to legal work or else joined regular pirate crews who sought plunder in the Indian Ocean, the east coast of North America, or West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

 as well as in the Caribbean.

Legal status

The status of buccaneers as pirates or privateer
Privateer
A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

s was ambiguous. As a rule, the buccaneers called themselves privateers, and many sailed under the protection of a letter of marque
Letter of marque
In the days of fighting sail, a Letter of Marque and Reprisal was a government licence authorizing a person to attack and capture enemy vessels, and bring them before admiralty courts for condemnation and sale...

 granted by British, French or Dutch authorities. For example, Henry Morgan
Henry Morgan
Admiral Sir Henry Morgan was an Admiral of the Royal Navy, a privateer, and a pirate who made a name for himself during activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements...

 had some form of legal cover for all of his attacks, and expressed great indignation at being called a "corsair
Corsair
Corsairs were privateers, authorized to conduct raids on shipping of a nation at war with France, on behalf of the French Crown. Seized vessels and cargo were sold at auction, with the corsair captain entitled to a portion of the proceeds...

" by the governor of Panama. Nevertheless, these rough men had little concern for legal niceties, and exploited every opportunity to pillage Spanish targets, whether or not a letter of marque was available. Many of the letters of marque used by buccaneers were legally invalid, and any form of legal paper in that illiterate age might be passed off as a letter of marque. Furthermore, even those buccaneers who had valid letters of marque often failed to observe their terms; Morgan's 1671 attack on Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, for instance, was not at all authorized by his commission from the governor of Jamaica
Jamaica
Jamaica is an island nation of the Greater Antilles, in length, up to in width and 10,990 square kilometres in area. It is situated in the Caribbean Sea, about south of Cuba, and west of Hispaniola, the island harbouring the nation-states Haiti and the Dominican Republic...

. The legal status of buccaneers was still further obscured by the practice of the Spanish authorities, who regarded them as heretics and interlopers, and thus hanged or garrotted captured buccaneers entirely without regard to whether their attacks were licensed by French or English monarchs.

Simultaneously, French and English governors tended to turn a blind eye to the buccaneers' depredations against the Spanish, even when unlicensed. But as Spanish power waned toward the end of the 17th century, the buccaneers' attacks began to disrupt France and England's merchant traffic with Spanish America
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

. Merchants who had previously regarded the buccaneers as a defense against Spain now saw them as a threat to commerce, and colonial authorities grew hostile. This change in political atmosphere, more than anything else, put an end to buccaneering.

Buccaneer lifestyle

A hundred years before the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

, the buccaneer companies were run on lines in which liberty
Liberty
Liberty is a moral and political principle, or Right, that identifies the condition in which human beings are able to govern themselves, to behave according to their own free will, and take responsibility for their actions...

, equality
Social equality
Social equality is a social state of affairs in which all people within a specific society or isolated group have the same status in a certain respect. At the very least, social equality includes equal rights under the law, such as security, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, and the...

 and fraternity
Fraternity
A fraternity is a brotherhood, though the term usually connotes a distinct or formal organization. An organization referred to as a fraternity may be a:*Secret society*Chivalric order*Benefit society*Friendly society*Social club*Trade union...

 were the rule, although only for white members of the crew. In a buccaneer ship, the captain was elected and could be deposed by the votes of the crew. The crew, and not the captain, decided the destination of each voyage and whether to attack a particular ship. The buccaneers' democratic model was adopted by many later pirate crews.

Spoils were evenly divided into shares; the captain received an agreed amount for the ship, plus a portion of the share of the prize money
Prize money
Prize money has a distinct meaning in warfare, especially naval warfare, where it was a monetary reward paid out to the crew of a ship for capturing an enemy vessel...

, usually five or six shares. Crews generally had no regular wages, being paid only from their shares of the plunder, a system called "no purchase, no pay" by Modyford or "no prey, no pay" by Exquemelin. There was a strong esprit de corps among buccaneers. This, combined with overwhelming numbers, allowed them to win sea battles and shore raids. There was also, for some time, a social insurance system guaranteeing compensation for battle wounds at a worked-out scale.

Tortugan buccaneers also lived in lifelong male partnerships. This institution of male partnership was called matelotage and the partners matelots. Matelots shared their beds, property, food, and loot with one another. The extent to which matelotage included homosexuality is controversial. Although a few historians have claimed, with no evidence, that homosexuality was universal among the buccaneers, it is recognized by most that matelots shared women as well as their worldly goods, and that buccaneers were frequent and enthusiastic patrons of female prostitutes. It is nevertheless agreed that a substantial minority of buccaneer matelots were likely homosexual.

Naval

Buccaneers initially used small boats to attack Spanish galleons surreptitiously, often at night, and climb aboard before the alarm could be raised. Buccaneers were expert marksmen
Marksman
A marksman is a person who is skilled in precision, or a sharpshooter shooting, using projectile weapons, such as with a rifle but most commonly with a sniper rifle, to shoot at long range targets...

 and would quickly kill the helmsman
Helmsman
A helmsman is a person who steers a ship, sailboat, submarine, or other type of maritime vessel. On small vessels, particularly privately-owned noncommercial vessels, the functions of skipper and helmsman may be combined in one person. On larger vessels, there is a separate officer of the watch,...

 and any officers aboard. Buccaneers' reputation as cruel pirates grew until most victims would surrender, hoping they would not be killed.

Land

When buccaneers raided towns, they did not sail into port and bombard the defenses, as naval forces typically did. Instead, they secretly beached their ships out of sight of their target, marched overland, and attacked the towns from the landward side, which was usually less fortified. Their raids relied mainly on surprise and speed.

Sports

The "buccaneer" name is the namesake for the NFL's
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a professional American football franchise based in Tampa, Florida, U.S. They are currently members of the Southern Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League – they are the only team in the division not to come from the old NFC West...

. Two shortened variations, "Bucs" and "Buccos", are also commonly used for both the American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 team and MLB's
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

 Pittsburgh Pirates
Pittsburgh Pirates
The Pittsburgh Pirates are a Major League Baseball club based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They play in the Central Division of the National League, and are five-time World Series Champions...

.

See also

  • Piracy in the Caribbean
    Piracy in the Caribbean
    ] The era of piracy in the Caribbean began in the 16th century and died out in the 1830s after the navies of the nations of Western Europe and North America with colonies in the Caribbean began combating pirates. The period during which pirates were most successful was from the 1690s until the 1720s...

  • Privateer
    Privateer
    A privateer is a private person or ship authorized by a government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping during wartime. Privateering was a way of mobilizing armed ships and sailors without having to spend public money or commit naval officers...

  • Henry Morgan
    Henry Morgan
    Admiral Sir Henry Morgan was an Admiral of the Royal Navy, a privateer, and a pirate who made a name for himself during activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements...

  • William Dampier
    William Dampier
    William Dampier was an English buccaneer, sea captain, author and scientific observer...

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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