Buccaneers, swashbucklers, pirates, privateers ...

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.






































Shiver me timbers.
That were fer certain the most colourful gathering of pirates, buccaneers, swashbucklers and freebooters ever seen in these parts!
First Mate Bo showed us why he was renowned as the best jigger in the English fleet back in ye 1670s.
Malibu Mallory spoke a dialect unknown to even them that had sailed all seven seas.
Jack Sparrow sailed in from San Francisco then sailed right out again amidst mysterious talk of a cruise to Virginia.
Blackbeard refuted the spurious claims of a young scullery maid regarding the year of his birth - an uncertain date which yet remains a subject of conjecture and debate.
A strange tribute was paid to that first seafarer Noah, with a choir of animalistic barks, chitters and roars intelligible only to the Brethren of the Coast. Shem, Ham and Japheth were assigned to swab the deck in the wake of this zoological celebration as their wives impassively looked on.
Captain Spence's French female pirates (Les Pirates Francaises) managed just barely to behave themselves though the Humboldt and Dewey crews were harder to command and ran their skiff aground subsequent to ye festivities.
Speaking of the French, Jean Lafitte, the most renowned of all the Gallic pirates, joined us from old Louisiana.
The Queen of the Portuguese pirates cut short a cruise off Mozambique to attend our Ball but saw little dancing due to an unfortunate mal de tete.
Ginger and MaryAnn had been rescued from an "uncharted desert isle" by Edward Teach and impressed into service as gunner's mates. A better task to be sure than shagging coconuts for their previous Skipper - though they appeared none too overly happy regardin' their fate.
Dread Cap'n Scott (reputed to be a relative of Lord Scott though that gentleman reportedly denies it) was saved from a near-marooning by the timely intervention of his good mates Joella and Jolly-Pegs.
We also hear tell that a bright and timely young lass saved Capt. Bartholomew Burgundy from a similar fate.
The former Lord Percy (or was it Stede Bonnet?) gambled away his sugar plantation and says he had no choice but to turn pirate - though others say 'twas a red-haired she-captain what drove him to it.
Dutch Lynn (though now known by some other name) brought along ye blond Sea Rovers from Mesa and a few dark haired Spaniards shanghaied from a Gilbert grog shop as well.
Anna-Maria, Giselle, Surly Sadie and Alura Keen were among the numerous fair-gendered freebooters of Yavapai County.
Smuggler Jane and Lightfoot Leigh again took to the gangplank and awed all with the latest in edgy nautical attire for the summer. (Fashion Tip: Red is IN this season.)
Speakin' of fashion pirates, we have an insiders' tip that many of our buccaneers will have their headshots featured in the next issue of BQ (That's Buccaneers' Quarterly for ye landlubbers!) in a section entitled "Faces to Watch." This issue ought to hit newsstands, taverns and pursers' offices later this week. (Or ye can look below. Below decks that is! Yaaar!)
Many were challenged to recite their knowledge of historic lore in order to gain their share of the booty. Some rolled the tales off their tongues with ease but a few showed but little grasp of their historical rigging and Pirate "Hook" stood ready to attend to any unfortunate who might be "voted off the island" by a crew of their peers. But all present were feeling the happy effects of pineapple-guava grog and generously pardoned the historically-challenged at the price of a lively solo jig apiece.
Strike up the fiddle! Yaaaaaarrrrrr.
Led by the likes o' Black Scarlott, Grace O'Malley, Red Handed Jill, Black Madge, Red Rissa and Mad Mary Rackham, several crews from Tucson sailed in on the high tide, staying just ahead of a typhoon which never amounted to a gale. They set sail the next day amidst scattered raindrops with bellys full of Cap'n Crunch and heads and hearts full of fond memories.
So sailed we all.
So sailed we.
Dread' Cap'n Scott
An' weren't the fine banquet after the Ball memorable all on its own? Ye pirates rattled ye forks, jabbed with ye knives and sharpened ye wits o'er goodly ship's fare and affable conversation. Arrrrrrr!












































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.







Letters from Shipmates & Seafaring Friends


My dearest Lord and Lady Scott & Family,

All I can say is WOW!!!!!! You guys amaze me. How can you pack so much fun and excitement into an evening?

I must say that this was the most FUN ball that I have been to. But I also have to say that my dad's jig in front of everybody made my evening all the more exciting. Believe me he won't hear the end of it. Anyways, thank you guys so much for all the hard work you put into making the balls the best nights of our lives.

Love to We Make History,

In Christ,

Miss Valerie B.



Lord and Lady Scott,

     Thank you so much for such a lovely evening!  I have been unable to attend for a while and this evening reminded me how very much I love the We Make History Family.  We all had an amazing time jigging away the nice night in beautiful Prescott.  Can't wait to see you all soon at the Highland Ball!  Thanks so much!  May the Lord bless you and yours for all that you have done for others! 


                                Cuba Kate and Family



July 1, 1706

Caribbean Sea    The Black Pearl

Ahoy Captain Scott!

The pirate ball was a smashing success!  I must admit, I can't remember when I last had since a good time.  The break from the life on a ship was also much appreciated.  My only disappointment was in missing my dance with you, but I hope to remedy that soon.

My "musical" dress, which was noticed by many, has now been hidden away for fear that the fame of the wealth of the coins may cause it's untimely disappearance.  Living among pirates, my valuables are often disappearing.  Thus, I shall keep it hidden away until this time next year and I defy any pirate to try to steal it!

It was a pleasure to meet many new people and also to see familiar faces.  Life on the ship can quickly become monotonous!  The chance for a waltz (with the charming and graceful Jack Sparrow), or a fast paced reel was a pleasure I wouldn't have parted with for the whole world!

I am now off to pillage and plunder in the Caribbean, but I will be bringing my ship into port in time for the next ball.

Until then I remain your respectful Pirate friend,

Anna Maria

A.K.A.  Miss Alia Michele

Bridgetown, Barbados


Dear Dread Cap'n Scott,

Me buccaneer heart is still a-flutterin' in the joy of ye ball amongst the pines -- and th' hearty feast afterward!
All thanks to you an' Bahama Becky an' The Plankwalkers for a splendid shindig!

One of me crew is beggin' me to share a memorable momen', so here 'tis.  It happen'd when I volunteered meself for a dance requiring two charming lady partners.  I had two doubloons... one in each of me hands... as a lil' incentive, right?  But it seems I wasn' moving swiftly enough to find me a dancin' companion, and I gotta admit, I'm still a bit shy meself when approaching th' fairer ones.

Just as I was about to abandon ship, I feel a tug at me side.  And bless her, there beside me is a beautiful wee lass accepting me invitation.  Together we foun' th' third member of our crew with all speed.

'Tis moments like this enough to melt me heart and bring a tear to me eyes.  I wouldn' trade me friends for all th' treasure in the world! 
God Bless Ye All!

Wishing Ye Most Pleasant And Bountiful Voyages,
Capt. Bartholomew Burgundy

Plymouth, England


Dread Cap'n Scott,

       Thank you for such a fine dance, er...ball.  I haven't seen such an array of fine lads and lasses (especially the lasses) since the time I impersonated a cleric of the Church of England.  (Though, I discovered the dancing with the ladies to be much easier at the ball.)  I must confess that I found myself in a most unusual situation.  As I am not accustomed to receiving gold coins from the feminine persuasion, you can imagine my surprise when I encountered a very restrained Giselle (a usually very impulsive creature) after dancing with her sister.  (Who was herself as pleasing to the ears as she was to the eyes.)  Aye, the whole night was a splendid affair.  I even happened to meet the biggest and prettiest mouse I have ever seen in all my days of piracy!  (Sort of puts our ship rats to shame, if you know what I mean.)

       On a more serious note, I'm glad to have been able to join such a fine crew at your many balls.  As I will soon be sailing to learn, grow, and serve, and otherwise study my measly, small brain out, I do not know when I will have another post-ball opportunity to thank you for keeping our heritage alive through the promotion of the social graces.

Until your next ball,

Captain Jack Sparrow

Parts Unknown


Dear Cap'n Scarlett,

The ball was so wonderful and refreshing. It was exactly what I needed. I missed all my friends and forgot how very wonderful they are. I always enjoy my times with the We Make History family, and that night was no different. Thank you so much for all you regarding the events, but also for being such a good friend.

Your Truly,

    Dangerous Deuwel or Dangerous D or Double D

St. Kitts


Cap'n Scott,
Ye pirate ball twas a fine and spendid affair enjoyed by all?
Best regards and thank from the Henry crew!

Curacao, Netherlands Antilles


My dear Lord and Lady Scott,

          As always, this last evening of piracy was a magnificent success. Your efforts and energy are always appreciated. Only with We Make History do I find the opportunity to pursue true dancing (I contrast against my generation's definition of the word.) and good company. Thank you once again and I look forward to seeing you both in August.

         In Christ,

             Miss Katie E. of  Nassau, Bahamas


Captain Scott – I once again had a most enjoyable time at the Ball in Prescott.  The night was even more pleasurable than I expected, and it is always a joy to spend the evening with your lovely family and guests.  My compliments to Miss Emily and her beautiful new dress.  While she was one of the standouts, many other pirates, ruffians, maidens, wenches and castaways really got into the spirit of the evening. 

After giving it some thought, I think we were all treated to a fraud at the ball.  The gentlemen who impressed everyone with his amazing jig most likely ‘pretended’ not to know his historical fact just so he could show off his talents!  Anyone would have been a fool to attempt a jig after his display.

Your Humble Servant,

Private M. J. C.


Key West, Florida


The Pirates Of Prescott 

Raising the Jolly Roger and getting “jiggy” with We Make History!

Log of the “Wayward Star”
Capt. Bartholomew Burgundy
June 24, 1699

Ah… such wonder rattles me brain. Never in this life of mine 'ave I witnessed such merriment 'an revelry! Word came to me via reliable courier that I was invited to a large get-together of seafaring folk.

Mind you, I had me suspicions. The location, for starters: not a navigable drop of water in sight, at least according to the charts of the Wayward Star. And what dangers might be lurking for me? Ye never know who's after you nowadays, with all sorts of scoundrels out to plunder ye best privateering efforts. Used to be th' business was honorable... well... honorable to the best degree possible in these things, but I digress.

So now I gotta think like a landlubber. I arranged suitable transport by carriage, which saved me the unpleasantries of confronting somebody at the point of me cutlass for a lift like yer common amateur highwayman.

The hall of this fair shindig quickly be fillin’ with a stew of pirates and their wee ones, and a few landlubber ladies and gentlemen are joinin’ in. I spot a few familiar mates. I think, is that Cap’n Hook over there? And over there be that pirate star Cap’n Jack Sparrow, always the life of the party!

“We declare a truce!” say Dread Cap’n Scott, our gracious host in the red coat, a big red rose decorating ‘is hat. He immediately pushes all rivalries aside. This is to be a night of song ‘n dance and no pullin’ knives out of ye pants. No swordplay, no lootin’. Good fer me, as I come unarmed anyhow.

I be goin’ in style, as they say. For many pieces of eight, I’m dressed to th’ nines. Although I do get to thinkin’ about me cocked hat. Tis’ hard finding what I consider a suitable cockade, so I decide to improvise with a lil’ something I found in me trunk. Blimey, that bow is as big as the bow of me ship, but ya gotta look good to charm th’ ladies.

It’s been a long time since we las’ did this, declares Cap’n Scott. Too long, almost. “Maybe some of you have been dancin’ a jig in the mirror!”

Well enough waitin’. Time to get down to th’ business of pleasure. The good cap’n suddenly asks me for a lil’ help.

“Give us a cheer!”

“HUZZAH!” shout I at the top of me lungs, me hand in the air as if I was about to capture a Spanish warship … nay a whole fleet full o’ galleons.

The fest begins wit’ a promenade, and here’s me problem. Not only do I be unarmed, I be unaccompanied. Never fear! I spot a young lady standin’ in the middle of the floor, flanked by two of her fine friends. I kinda get this feelin’ they be looking for a partner, but ‘tis hard for me to pick from one from three and disappoint the other two.

Fortunately fer me, that decision resolves itself quite swiftly when one of the ladies nudges her compatriot forward. She be volunteered!

I could sense she was a lil’ nervous as we paraded ‘round the hall, but I made sure she got me best words of encouragement: “Yer doin’ just fine!” say I with a smile, and she returns it. I must a’mit I still be a little rusty with showin’ a lady a good time, but I’m learnin’.

Me pirate papa once told me, “No matter what ye do, son, when ye go out into the world, always be a gentleman!”

As for the rest of the evenin’, it flies by faster than the swiftest current I ever seen! If time were the ocean, I could’ve sailed from the West Indies back to me home port in England in just one night!

We dance all manner of sets an’ circles like the landlubbers do, and granted not all of us know th’ steps called out by the gracious Bahama Becky with the Plankwalkers at her command. But we keep on dancin’, makin’ things simpler for ourselves if need be.

At one point, we get to jiggin’ out there on th’ floor with the ladies, cuttin’ in nice and polite like. I see an opportunity to cut in, an’ great gusts! Several of the fair ones take turns cuttin’ in to share a dance wit’ me. Nearly lost me hat as it flew off during a few steps. I wound up finishin’ the caper wit’ a young lass who had quite the fancy footwork.

Now I said some of th’ dancin’ was tricky like. So we do this one number that involves us mixin’ things up so we pass hand to hand through seven partners so tha’ we all end up with new ones, see? Only some of me mates I’m thinkin’ are countin’ off pieces of eight and when some of ye do the math like that, a fella’s gonna end up marooned. So pirates ‘is runnin’ trying to find new partners on the other side of the hall.

It happens to me, too. I get caught without me partner, and here I am, runnin’ into the middle of the ring like we’ve been told to do, wavin’ about like me ship is sinkin’ as I try to signal a lady in the same boat. It takes a bit than I bargain for, but I find me new partner, and by stroke of luck she be the same lass I originally asked to start the dance with!

Our hearty host Cap’n Scott announces somethin’ to raise all our ears: booty! We’ve all agreed on a drawin’ to share the wealth, but the Dread Cap’n adds a twist: recite a historical fact relatin’ to the year number on ye ticket, or ye dancin’ the jig alone in front of ye mates if they gives the thumbs down!

Well, some hearties ‘ave boned up on their history between voyages. But a few hadn’t, and we take great delight in orderin’ them jig for ten ticks of th’ watch to the fiddle to earn their share. One mate in particular impresses us with his high jumps! Might he actually be one of those Cossacks I hear ‘bout?

All this dancin’ puts all our feet to quite th’ test, a perfect time to take a few breaks, raise a glass of tropical ale or two, enjoy th’ pleasantness of the evening and sing a few shanties, one praisin’ tha’ old sailor Noah. Gotta honor any captain who has t’ work with a crew of such animals.

Many times these shindigs woul’ end with a final pirate waltz. But ‘tis not over yet, for after th’ last dance, a few scores of us set a course for dinner at the local alehouse. Feasting with friends provides a wonderful diversion from th’ usual seafaring fare. Through salads and sandwiches, we pick up where we left off, talking about We Make History, our other lives and times and future balls and adventures in the past to come. The Highland Ball approaches. So does the American Heritage Festival, where I plan to march with the Continental Line, I explain. We talk about past balls. And then my conversation drifts back where I know it’s going to go… to my first ball. That wonderful first ball! The ball that changed my life for the better.

Among dinner companions I’m trying to resist the inclination to wear my heart on my sleeve, but it’s impossible to talk about that first Ball without relating how much it uplifted me. “I was awake for hours,” I said. “I was so happy.” “In every life there’s a turning point, and this one was mine. I made the decision I wanted to be a different person.”

Inside, part of me groans. What am I saying? What am I doing? Why do I have this urgency to relate this? Here? Now?

“Thank you for sharing that,” my friend across the table says with a warm grin.

I chow down and finish up, sharing a few more conversations with some new friendly faces before everything wraps for the night.

And in the darkness of the motel room, I find myself with another old friend: afterglow. I must say, we might not ‘ave looted an enemy ship this night, but all of us surely found treasure!

I’d call it Providence.






Go to

We Make History

Delve here for

Buccaneer Lore

Visit the

2005 Buccaneers' Ball

See the

American Heritage Festival

Read about

Reenacting 1607-1795

Message in a Bottle

Write to

Dread Cap'n Scott

































BQ Talent Search: Fashion Pirates - Summer 1706

The staff of Buccaneers' Quarterly sailed the Seven Seas, scoured taverns, inns and grog shops and searched every hold in every harbour to find this years' winners. In the Print category our "New Faces" are Valerie de Williamson Valley and Capt. Bartholomew Burgundy. The Gangplank (runway) category was won by veteran Buccaneerettes Smuggler Jane and Lightfoot Leigh who definitely proved that RED IS IN and they can WEAR IT WELL. Honourable mention to Malibu Mallory, pictured in retro green. (Sooooo 1680s!)

















































































































































"Mr. C" as he is often called, is a valued member of the We Make History family who can commonly be seen with camera in hand. In fact, nearly every new photo you see online subsequent to a Ball is either the work of myself or of Mr. C.

Thanks to Mr. C. and to each one who does what they are able for the benefit of all.








Premiere Issue Coming Soon!