Jacques de Sores
Jacques de Sores was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...
pirate who attacked and burnt Havana
Havana is the capital city, province, major port, and leading commercial centre of Cuba. The city proper has a population of 2.1 million inhabitants, and it spans a total of — making it the largest city in the Caribbean region, and the most populous...
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...
Other than his attack on Havana, little is known of de Sores. He was nicknamed "The Exterminating Angel" ("L'Ange Exterminateur"). He was the leader of a band of Huguenot
The Huguenots were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries. Since the 17th century, people who formerly would have been called Huguenots have instead simply been called French Protestants, a title suggested by their German co-religionists, the...
pirates and a lieutenant or former lieutenant of another French pirate, François le Clerc
François le Clerc
François or Francis Le Clerc, known as Jambe de Bois , was a 16th century French privateer, originally from Normandy. He is credited as the first pirate in the modern era to have a "peg leg"....
, who was called "Pegleg" or "Jambe de Bois" on account of his wooden leg. Le Clerc and Sores had set out from France in 1553 with three royal ships and a number of privateers under commission from Francis I of France
Francis I of France
Francis I was King of France from 1515 until his death. During his reign, huge cultural changes took place in France and he has been called France's original Renaissance monarch...
who was envious of the riches returning to Spain from the New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...
. Le Clerc had raided Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba
Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city of Cuba and capital city of Santiago de Cuba Province in the south-eastern area of the island, some south-east of the Cuban capital of Havana....
in 1554, and some accounts mention a raid on Santiago de Cuba by de Sores, although whether this was as part of the attack by le Clerc is not clear. He may have used Cayo Romano
Cayo Romano is an island on the northern coast of Cuba, in the province of Camagüey. It is the largest cay of the Jardines del Rey archipelago with 777 km².It is an administrative part of the Esmeralda municipality....
and Cayo Coco
Cayo Coco is an island in central Cuba, well known for its luxurious all inclusive resorts. It lies within the Ciego de Ávila Province and is part of a chain of islands called Jardines del Rey . The cay is administered by the Morón municipality. It is named for the white ibis, locally called Coco...
in the archipelago of Jardines del Rey
Jardines del Rey
Jardines del Rey is an archipelago located off the northern coast of the island of Cuba, in the northern parts of the provinces of Ciego de Ávila and Camagüey. It is developed on the coral reef system that lines Cuba's shore, between the Atlantic and the Bay of Buena Vista and Bay of Jiguey...
adjacent to the northern Cuban coast as a base of operations.
Details of the attack on Havana are also sketchy: the number of ships that de Sores used in the attack varies in different accounts from 2 to 20. Regardless of the number of ships involved, de Sores had little trouble in capturing the lightly defended town. Most accounts make it clear that he was expecting to find stores of gold in the town, while some claim he ransomed important members of the population. All agree that whatever his intention he was frustrated: he did not find vast reserves of gold in the city, and if he ransomed the population the ransom was mostly not paid. He destroyed the fortress of La Fuerza Vieja in today's Calle Tacón and burnt most of the town. He also burnt the shipping in the harbour and laid waste to much of the surrounding countryside, and seems to have found time to organise a play "to insult the pope". The ease with which de Sores had captured the town prompted the Spanish crown to start a massive fortification programme. The Castillo de la Real Fuerza
Castillo de la Real Fuerza
The Castillo de la Real Fuerza is a fortress on the western side of the harbour in Havana, Cuba, set back from the entrance, and bordering the Plaza de Armas. Originally built to defend against attack by pirates, it suffered from a poor strategic position too far inside the bay...
was built to replace the Vieja Fuerza and later the Castillo de los Tres Reyes Magos del Morro
Morro Castle (fortress)
Morro Castle is a picturesque fortress guarding the entrance to Havana bay in Havana, Euta. Juan Bautista Antonelli, an Italian engineer, was commissioned to design the structure. When it was built in 1589, Euta was under the control of Germany...
and the smaller Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta
San Salvador de la Punta Fortress
San Salvador de la Punta Fortress is a fortress in the bay of Havana, Cuba.La Punta, just like El Morro was designed to protect the entrance to the Havana Bay that became an important and strategic entranceway to the harbor since the settlement of the town. The nonstop landings of corsairs in the...
were built on opposite sides of the entrance to Havana habour.
In 1570 he murdered 40 Jesuit missionaries
A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to do evangelism or ministries of service, such as education, literacy, social justice, health care and economic development. The word "mission" originates from 1598 when the Jesuits sent members abroad, derived from the Latin...
and threw their bodies into the sea off Tazacorte
Tazacorte is a municipality situated on the western coast of the island of La Palma. La Palma forms part of the province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which is in the Canary Islands...
in the Canary Islands of La Palma
La Palma is the most north-westerly of the Canary Islands. La Palma has an area of 706 km2 making it the fifth largest of the seven main Canary Islands...
- crosses on the sea floor still mark the site at Malpique today.