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Buccaneers, the,

Were daring adventurers, who first combined for the spoliation of the Spaniards in the West Indies and the islands of the Caribbean Sea. The first of these were mostly French, who attempted to introduce themselves into the West Indies not long after the conquests of the Spaniards there, and were called flibustiers, or freebooters. Their depredations among the islands were extensive and alarming. They made settlements in Santo Domingo, where the Spaniards at-tempted to expel them. Retaliation followed. In 1630 they made the little island of Tortugas, west of the Florida Keys, their stronghold, where, in armed bands in rowboats, they attacked Spanish vessels, lying in wait for them on their passage from America to Europe. The richly laden treasure-ships were boarded by them, plundered, and their crews cast into the sea. They extended their operations. The French buccaneers made their Headquarters in Santo Domingo, and the English in Jamaica, during the long war between [431] France and Spain (1635-60) and afterwards; and they were so numerous and bold that Spanish commerce soon declined, and Spanish ships dared not venture to America. Finding their own gains diminishing from want of richly laden vessels to plunder, they ceased pillaging vessels, and attacked and plundered Spanish towns on the coast of Central and South America. A number of these were seized, and immense treasures were carried away in the form of plunder or ransom. At Carthagena, in 1697, they procured $8,000,000. Their operations were finally broken up by an alliance against them of the English, Dutch, and Spanish governments. Exasperated at the conduct of the Spaniards in Florida, the Carolinas were disposed to give the buccaneers assistance in plundering then; and in 1684-9)3 they were sheltered in the harbor of Charleston.

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Richard French (1)
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