The Cultures and History of the Americas: The Jay I. Kislak Collection at the Library of Congress
Interactive Objects: The Buccaneers of America
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Buccaneers were a cross between genuine privateers, commissioned to defend a country’s colonies and trade, and outright pirates.
Typically English, French, and Dutch adventurers, the buccaneers plied the waters among the Caribbean islands, and along the coasts of Central America, Venezuela, and Colombia more than 300 years ago.
“The Buccaneers of America” is a remarkable eyewitness account by Alexander Exquemelin, first published in 1678.
Alexander Exquemelin, thought to be a French surgeon who enlisted with the buccaneers for a time, chronicles the bold feats of these raiders as they disrupted shipping on the high seas and terrorized Caribbean settlements.
Exquemelin provides fascinating details of the French presence in Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), describes the features of that country and its inhabitants, and comments at length on the origin of the buccaneers, vividly recounting their rules of conduct and way of life.
These bold plunderers come across as shrewd strategists, crack shots, fine navigators, wild debauchers, and greedy adventurers who frequently engaged in vicious acts of cruelty.
De Americaensche Zee-rovers.
By Alexander O. Exquemelin, 1645-1707.
Originally published in Amsterdam: Jan ten Hoorn, 1678.
English translations from “The Buccaneers of America.” Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 2000.
Translated from Dutch by Alexis Brown in 1969.