Buccaneer Lore

Buccaneers, swashbucklers, pirates, privateers, seadogs, corsairs ...

They all sailed "the Spanish Main" during the days of frigates and sloops, brigs, schooners and galleons.

The heyday of the buccaneers was from circa 1650-1725 when working either individually or in great pirate fleets out of strongholds like Port Royal of Jamaica, they raided as far north as Canada and as far south as Brazil and equatorial Africa. Their targets of choice were not only Spanish treasure galleons and rich merchant vessels but also coastal towns and cities in Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela and the many small but valuable islands of the Greater and Lesser Antilles chains of the Caribbean Sea. Though mainly a 17th and 18th century phenomenon, piracy in the Caribbean did have a brief resurgence around 1820 before disappearing.

Some swashbucklers operated legally, by commission, in time of war such as the privateers (private vessels licensed by their government with a "letter of marque" to prey upon enemy commerce) which abounded during the naval wars of the 1600s, the American Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. Others were entirely outside the law. Still others moved in and out of legality with ease as the circumstances suited them.

They were Englishmen, Scotsmen, Welshmen, Dutchmen, Frenchmen, Spaniards, Portuguese, Danes, Americans, Indians and Africans. Some were loyal to their king, some to their fellow buccaneers and some only to themselves. Some had impeccable manners, some were implacable thugs. Now and again they would gather and celebrate the success of a great raid from which all returned laden with booty.

Yohoho...  Avast there matey... Pieces of eight, pieces of eight... Dance a proper jig or walk the plank.  Booty for all and plunder a'plenty.  Shiver me timbers and boarders away...  A r r r r...

Sail on to

The 2007 Buccaneers' Ball

The 2006 Buccaneers' Ball

The 2005 Buccaneers' Ball

17th & 18th Century Reenacting

The American Heritage Festival

We Make History





































Sir Henry Morgan  1635-1688



Spanish "Piece of Eight"



Allow us to state the obvious.

The real pirates of history were not nice people.

No one wants to recreate negative aspects of their behavior or activities in any actual or literal sense.

But after 300 years of time passage and accompanying cultural drift, the idea of a pirate has become a mere caricature, a light hearted bit of play acting which many have a good time with.

For us the idea of the Buccaneers' Ball is simply to "open things up a bit" with an unusual theme for our guests to enjoy and in which to exercise their creativity and imaginations.







Charles Vane


John "Calico Jack" Rackham

Stede Bonnet

For possibly the best pirate movie ever made see "Captain Blood", the 1935 production starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland. The film begins in England in 1685 against the historic backdrop of the aftermath of Monmouth's Rebellion. In fact as the film progresses it keeps apace with real historic events and personalities of the times. Also a treat is the liberal sprinkling of 17th century vocabulary, phrases and grammar which ought to be obligatory for a period piece and add so much to the enjoyment thereof.










Jean Lafitte






Edward "Blackbeard" Teach  1680?-1718





William Kidd 1645-1701



Anne Bonny & Mary Read



Howell Davis

Francois L'Olonnais

Bartholomew Roberts 1682-1722











Female Pirates?  Arrrrrrrrr....

Anne Bonny and Mary Read sailed with Anne's husband(?) Calico Jack. The women were known to dress in female attire during quiet times but to don male apparel when battle was imminent. They had quite a piratical career before being captured in 1722, only escaping the gallows by claim of pregnancy. Mary Read died in prison but Anne Bonny's fate is unknown.

Apparently marooned along with "The Skipper" in 1964, Ginger Grant and Mary Ann Summers soon became active participants in the adventures of the crew of the S.S. Minnow.






Anne Bonny & Mary Read




Ginger Grant & Mary Ann Summers





Brief Pirate Biographies

Sir Henry Morgan was undoubtedly the most successful of all buccaneers. Operating sometimes legally and sometimes questionably, his greatest adventures took place during time of war against Spain. Sailing out of Port Royal, Jamaica he led huge raids capturing Spanish cities in Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela. In his 1670 expedition against Panama City he commanded over 2,000 English, French and Dutch buccaneers in 40 ships and captured 100,000 English pounds worth of booty.

William Kidd, originally of Scotland had been a legal British privateer before being commissioned by the colonies of New York and Massachusetts to hunt down pirates. Unfortunately, he then appears to have become a pirate himself in a seafaring example of "good cop gone bad." Though protesting his innocence to the end he was hanged in 1701.

Edward "Blackbeard" Teach is possibly the most infamous of all pirates. At one time commanding four ships and 300 men he was a force to be reckoned with and captured over forty vessels during his brief but violent and notorious career. Teach was a large man and opted for an intimidating appearance, wearing a long black beard (at a time when men were clean shaven) and separating his hair into longs strands some of which were tied with ribbons but others with smoking tapers which he would light when going into battle thus looking unusually ferocious. At one point Teach accepted an offer of amnesty from the Governor of North Carolina but soon went back to his old ways. In 1718 his ship was boarded in Ocracoke Inlet by government troops and a savage melee ensued with Blackbeard finally going down after receiving five bullet wounds and over twenty cuts from swords.

Stede Bonnet was a gentleman planter of means who owned a lucrative sugar plantation on the island of Barbados. For reasons never known for certain to any but himself (though it was rumored he desired to escape a nagging, shrewish wife) he suddenly purchased and armed a ship which he named the "Revenge", hired a crew and turned pirate. For a time he even fell in with the infamous Blackbeard. After one failed attempt at reform, Stede went back to piracy but was captured and hung at Charles Towne, South Carolina in 1718.

John "Calico Jack" Rackham earned his nickname by the calico coats and breeches he wore. He advanced from pirate to pirate captain when the former captain refused to attack a certain French ship and was deposed. In company with Anne Bonny and Mary Read his piratical career ended  in 1720 when their ship was boarded and the three were captured. Taken to Jamaica he was hung along with most of his crew.

Bartholomew "Black Bart" Roberts was one of the most bold and feared pirates. Known as both "brave" and "wicked" he had a fondness for flamboyant silk clothing including crimson waistcoat and breeches. Unusual for a pirate he neither drank liquor not gambled. During his four year career Roberts captured 400 ships and raided all the way from Newfoundland to South America and from the Caribbean to Africa where he was finally killed in naval combat with the British ship HMS Swallow in early 1722.

Jean Lafitte was a French pirate and smuggler operating from Louisiana when he offered the services of himself and his men to General Andrew Jackson in defense against British invasion. The British were defeated at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 and Lafitte was pardoned for his former activities. Though he never troubled American shipping again he renewed depredations against the Spanish and even held Galveston for a time. He died circa 1822.

The Skipper was a mercurial man with a quick temper who often beat his first mate with his hat. Through several decades of the late 20th century his afternoon excursions held millions captive.

Edward England




The music playing is "Maid of Amsterdam," a favorite of sailors since it was written in London in 1608.

Henry Every

Jonas "The Skipper" Grumby



















17th century pirates celebrate with fiddling and dancing.















































































Captain Kidd in New York circa 1700. The ladies are wearing "fontange" hairstyles. Very fashionable!