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Famous Pirates Gallery

Barbarroja Brothers
Arug and Khair ben Eddin


Barbarroja I. (1474-1518)

Original of Island Mitilene, of Greek parents, had embraced the Islam and the Turks, conquerors of his mother land, called him Arug. From his adolescence he became a corsair. At the age of twenty he obtained the first control to maraud for the Aegean Sea, where he didn’t took long in acquiring reputation of intrepid and crafty. With the emir of Tunisia he made an agreement, he would give him 20 % of the product of his robberies in exchange for having free entry in the port and commercial facilities. He armed a small fleet and having as first mate his brother Khair ben Eddin, he began a campaign extremely profitable. The capture of two papal galleys reached such impact that many Moors from Granada offered him to practice piracy under his orders. This way began the devastation of the riverside populations and the Mediterranean navigation was submitted to the hardest test that untill then it had known. In 1516 he was proclaimed sovereign of Algiers.

In a battle with the Spanish in Tlemcén he was pulled down.

Barbarroja Brothers
Arug and Khair ben Eddin


Barbarroja II. (1465-1546)

Khair ben Eddin had inherited from his brother ships, some thousands of supporters, Barbaroja’s nickname and the pretension to subdue the Algerian territory. Khair decided to offer himself as vassal of the Great Turk; Turks were a great power, indisputable masters of the oriental Mediterranean. The sultan granted him the title of “Bajá”, confirming to him the government of Algiers for when this position they could be snatched from the Spanish. There were moments that Barbaroja was dominating absolutely the western Mediterranean, where not only merchant ships, but those of war too, were caught by the Berber ones. Having reached such level the maritime banditry, navigation diminished since the Spanish, Genovese and Venetian merchants began to withdraw. Then pirates crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, to go to the Atlantic Ocean to chase galleons proceeding from America, while the furtive disembarkations on Italy and Spain coasts were becoming more frequent and bold.

After the plunder of Regio and Fondi’s destruction, Khair undertakes a more important venture: the conquest of Tunisia, which sultan, Muley Hassan, is protected by Spain. Emperor Carlos V sends a set square of 600 ships and 50.000 men against Barbaroja, supervised by admiral Andrés Doria, of Genovese origin, the only sailor capable of rivalling with the pirate in fearlessness and skill. For many years they chased each other, victories and defeats distributed equally. Soliman nominates Barbaroja an admiral of all the Ottoman fleets and confirms to him the domain of Algiers.

At the end of 1543 he retired to Constantinople to rest and turn to a pleasant and magnificent life. Great part of his immense fortune he used it in constructing a monumental, worthy pantheon of his ashes and of his glory. There he was buried in 1546. They tell that the disorder in pleasures precipitated his end.

Sir John Hawkins

Plymouth 1532 – Puerto Rico 1595


Distinguished for his merits as sailor, pirate and slave trader; combined corsair’s activities with the slave trade. The West Indian sea was the theatre of operations for assaults and incursions in colonial Spanish cities, where he obtains great benefits. Queen Isabel appointed him Treasurer of the Royal British Sea-coast and Counselor of the Admiralty for having an outstanding action in the defeat of the Invincible Navy, in August, 1588. This fact marks the beginning of Spanish Empire decadence.

In addition he received the title of Sir. In 1595 he made his last trip to America. In this expedition to the New World, he shared the control of the fleet with Francis Drake, corsair at the time and rear-admiral; the fleet consisted of 27 ships. November 22nd dies consumed by fever in front of the coasts of Puerto Rico; his body was thrown to the sea.

Sir Francis Drake

Crowndale 1543- Portobello 1596


From 1570 he already was marauding for the Caribbean, attacking God’s Name, in the Isthmus of Panama, accompanied by the Frenchman Guillaume Le Testu. In this assault they obtained an enormous booty: 100.000 golden “pesos” and fifteen tons of silver. In 1577 he set sail with the aim of conquer the Pacific Ocean crossing the Streat of Magallames. Sailing along the South American coast he attacked the Spanish ships that he found in the way, took the city of Valparaiso and plundered the Port of the Callao; he arrived to Mexico and devastated entire populations, continued up to the unexplored California and entered the Pacific Ocean by Molucca Islands.

He crossed the Cape of Good Hope and arrived to England in November, 1580, repeating the exploit of Magellan-Elcano’s expedition only 58 years later. He gave treasures to nobles and dealers and also he enriched British cooking with the potato, which was soon adopted by the English palate. The queen Isabel filled him with honours and appointed him Gentleman and member of the Parliament. Drake returns to the Caribbean in 1585; by the way he attacked Vigo, Redondela and Bayonne. In West Indies he devastated the city of Santo Domingo and besieged Cartagena de Indias, obtaining 110.000 ducats with which he returned to England.

After contributing to the defeat of the Invincible Navy of Philip II, Drake left for the Caribbean for the last time in September, 1595, where he died of dysentery.

Edward Teach

Bristol 1680- 1718


He was probably the most famous pirate. His real name was Edward Drummond. His ship “Queen Anne’s Revenge “ was taken to the Frenchmen. He had an enormous black beard adorned with ribbons; before a battle he tied slow fuses to his hat, which were leaving a cloud of black smoke to terrify his victims. He treated his prisoners wildly. His activity lasted only two years. In 1718 the governor of Virginia offered a reward for him alive or dead. The Lieutenant Robert Maynard from the Royal Navy chased him with two ships and they fought hand to hand on deck. He died with twenty wounds of machete and five pistol shots. Maynard cut his head, hung it on his ship and returned for the reward.

Henry Morgan

Gales 1635- Port Royal 1688


His first action as a leader was the assault of Port Prince, in April, 1668. Later the assaults to Portobello in July, 1668 ; Maracaibo, in March, 1669 ; Santa Catalina (Providencia), in the Christmas of 1670 and, finally, the plunder of Panama in January, 1671.

He was arrested in Jamaica, and taken to London in 1672, but he wasn’t judged. Appointed gentleman, returns to Jamaica as Lieutenant of governor Lord Vaughan. He occupied the position of provisional governor for some months in 1681. He died in his plantation of Jamaica.

Jean David Nau
“El Olonés”

Sales d’ Olonne 1630- Darién 1669


At the age of 20, he travelled to the Caribbean as “engagé” (galley worker). It was a buccaneer in “La española” and finally filibuster in the “Brotherhood of the Coast “. He was distinguished especially for his extreme cruelty with prisoners. In 1668 he captured a frigate close to Key Frogoso in Cuba, killing with a knife to all his crew members. He became partner of Miguel, the Basque and other filibusters, with whom he attacked Maracaibo and Gibraltar in 1668, taking an important booty. Returning to the Caribbean, planned to take Nicaragua but the currents took him to Honduras, where he assaulted and took Port Caballos. After many desertions he kept one ship with which he went to the Darién. Cannibals of the zone did justice to all his victims, being devoured alive by his captors.

Anne Boney

Illegitimate daughter of an important Irish attorney, and of a servant of the family; in 1698 after the scandal, her parents went to Charleston where his father exercised as attorney and became a rich merchant. Ann’s temperament was well-known and they tell she stabbed a girl with a butcher’s knife. She married to James Bonny, a hunter without fortune who took her to the Bahamas as pirate after his father disinherited her. James became an informer of the governor Woodes Rogers in his fight against pirates. Ann left him for John “Calico Jack“ Rackham who had left piracy after he got a royal pardon. Ann and Jack decided to escape and return to piracy. Ann was dressing masculine clothes, was expert in the use of pistols and the machete. She was considered as dangerous as any man pirate.

Cornelius Cornelizoon Jol’s
“Pata de Palo” (Wooden Leg)

1580 – 1650


This Holland sailor dedicated his first activities to piracy and, later, he led armed squadrons for the “Dutch Company of The Indies “. Very young he was hurt in the Mediterranean Sea by a bullet of cannon that cut his left leg, which substituted for a piece of wood, knowing him since then for the nickname of “Wooden Leg “. The Caribbean Sea, the coasts of Mexico and Central America were afraid of him, from 1600 until 1640. His raids were famous for the enormous booties and the successful assaults by surprise. On October 17th, 1640 he set sail to Europe, eliminating the danger in the Caribbean of the fearsome Dutches.

Jack Rackham



The beginning of John “Calico Jack ” Rackham in piracy are uncertain, it is known that he used to do it before the royal pardon issued by  English government in the beginning of 1718; and he was the commander of Charles Vane. Calico Jack knew Anne Bonny, while he was enjoying the Royal Pardon, and he urged her to leave his husband for him; they decided to flee and return to piracy activities. Jack left Anne in Cuba accompanied by a few friends to give birth his son, and they met again in the sea after leaving the child to the care of the friends in Cuba. September 24th, 1718 was the first day in which he was in charge, and his first cruise did it between the islands of the Caribbean, where he captured and plundered several vessels. His framework of action in the exercise of piracy would be the Caribbean, the West Indian islands and the Atlantic coast of North America. In the first days of November, 1720, his crew was imprisoned and brought to Port Royal, Jamaica; after two weeks of prison they were found guilty and sentenced to death.