buccaneers were English—they saw fighting Spain and defeating
Catholic power as patriotic activities. Whether war with Spain
was official or not, the power of the Spanish Empire in the
Americas made it a target.
Sir Francis Drake:
Born in Devon, England in 1540, Francis Drake took part
in the expeditions of his uncle, John Hawkins, collecting slaves
in Africa and selling them to Spanish colonists in return for
Caribbean produce. In
1572 he led his own expedition to the Spanish Main, attacking
and plundering the Spanish treasure port of Nombre de Dios, then
attacking a mule train carrying the silver from the mines in
prize was the Manila galleon Cacafuego, which was filled
with silver, gold, jewels and pearls.
To avoid capture he continued round the world, arriving
back in England. He launched devastating raids on San Domingo, Cuba, Cartagena,
Colombia, and St. Augustine, Florida.
He died off Panama in 1596 while leading yet another raid
into the heart of the Spanish New World.
Henry Morgan: Henry
Morgan is regarded as the greatest buccaneer of them all.
In 1668, he sacked Puerto Principe, then Porto Bello,
near Panama. The
buccaneers captured and looted the town and returned home laden
with booty. The
following year he raided Maracaibo in Venezuela.
His greatest success came in 1671, when he launched an
attack on Panama. The
buccaneers won, then captured and sacked the city. They stayed
for a month, gathering a huge amount of treasure.
his return to Jamaica he was arrested on charges of piracy and
shipped to England to stand trial.
He was released by King Charles II, who even knighted him
and made him Deputy Governor of Jamaica for “services to the