The rise and decline of filibusters

The rise and decline of filibusters West Indies in the XVII century was a special world, which presented himself as a motley jumble of possessions Spanish, British, French and Dutch. Under the control of Spain had the largest island — Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti), and several small ones. The British established themselves in Jamaica, Barbados, Antigua, Montserrat, and a number of other areas. They tried intensively to expand their holdings in the main due to an old colonial empires — Spain. France belonged to Tortuga, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Marie-Galante, Holland — Curacao, Aruba and Bonaire. Prior to the Old World (Europe), the monarchs. Governments were far away, because in the West Indies ruled its laws and regulations.

Spain was practically the only state, which at that time to establish and maintain productive economy — agriculture, mining, industry, made the trade network. A major influx of settlers in the British, French and Dutch colonies provided and sweet tobacco industry. Sugar and tobacco brought huge profits. But the farmers, the colonists could not compete with the big planters and quickly went bankrupt. For example, the English in Barbados in 1645 was 11 thousand farmers and 6 thousand slaves, and by 1660 already left seven hundred planters, which batrachit more than 80 thousand slaves.

Large profits brought human trafficking. In slave favorites were Dutch. The main focus of this "business" was the capital of the West India Company — Curacao. Sold not only blacks captured in Africa, but snow-white — criminals from Europe, the people captured by pirates. In the West Indies, and was such a specific tradition to which the local authorities have turned a blind eye (the colonies were necessary manpower), the colony rushed young people, adventurers, resources, or people who looked modern life, fleeing from poverty in Europe, they paid the fare, practiced by his work, and on their arrival fools and sold in the slave markets. Because in the middle of slaves working in the French and English colonies had a lot of white. In Europe, there were special even recruiters who were lured to America, promising freedom, land and the highest earnings.

When Jean-Baptiste Colbert founded the French West India Company, to Tortuga was appointed governor Ozherona. On the peninsula brought 220 employees of the company to make the reception of ships from France and sent to the metropolis of local products. But local growers refused to obey, they were profitable instead of French products take more than a cheap Dutch contraband. The governor did not dare to use force, free local orders have been saved. Authorized companies dropped to the metropolis, and employees, not to spend money on their home delivery, simply sold into slavery. However, according to local regulations, previously free of snow-white (non-offenders) are not sold into slavery for life. In the French colonies were more myagenkie orders snowy sold for three years, in English — for 7 years. But taking into account unusual for snowy climate and environment appeals to freedom, not all survived. With white-treated even worse than with blacks, dark were the "eternal possession" and economized, and the Europeans "squeezed out" completely, economized on food. In addition, from the slave owners had one more trick — for a day before the release of a slave could resell new and it worked a full term (three or seven years).

In the West Indies was vserasprostraneno and debt slavery. Thus, the indebted 25 shillings sold for 1.5 years. Punishments were very fierce. During the escape attempt could have scored before his death, but still not right away. After whipping wounds smeared texture of fat, pepper and Limonov juice or salt, a man was left for the night, so could last for a few days. Some slave-owning planters were frank sadists. The Dutch planter Balteste on about. San Christopher, his hands ruined a hundred slaves and servants.


Impoverished peasants, various adventurers and wealth, freed slaves found themselves for fishing. It was more lucrative piracy. Spanish colonies differed wealth, which is not allowed to sleep quietly not only to the poor beggars, and the French and British authorities, which have encouraged the attack on the ownership of the Spanish Empire.

Robbers who attacked the Spanish possessions, called filibusters, from the Dutch «vrijbuiter», in English — freebooter-«free earner", "free sailor," from flyboat, light ships that pirates made their raids. Often they are called Buccaneer: from Fr. — Boucanier, the word "portfolio" meant an array of raw green tree on which hunters Huge Antilles (first in Haiti), smoked meat, is long in the rain did not spoil the criteria. Hunters hunted buccaneers on the Spanish countryside (Haiti, Hispaniola belonged to Spain), because the Spaniards often tried to kick nahodnikov with their own possessions. But the buccaneers were experienced fighters and quite successfully resisted the Spanish attack.

Attracted by greed in the ranks of filibusters flocked impoverished nobles, various kinds of offenders, deserters, vagrants. Hollywood images of pirates of the Caribbean are very far from reality. Ruthless, but generous people, "gentlemen of fortune" fighting despotism of Spaniards ("totalitarianism" since), it's just a myth. The two sides differed ruthlessness, cruelty, committed mass murder. Pirates moved not "love of freedom" and "struggle against the oppressors", and greed. Pirate flag initially was not black. In the middle of filibusters at first dominated by the French and the English term "Jolly Roger" (English Jolly Roger) came from the distorted French «Joli Rouge» — «Beautiful Red" ("Jolly Red"). Flags of different pirate leaders were mostly multi-colored, but the predominant color of blood — reddish. In filibusters were practically no large ships, multi-gun frigates and galleons. Among them was generally not enough prof gunners and sailors. They are usually as Russian Cossacks, used small vessels which had on board a small 5-10 whacked with shot guns, or large boats. About any gun fights, "side by side" with bolshennymi Spanish ships was out of question. Defeat in the right fight at the filibusters had no chance. They used a different strategy. Flibusterskogo ships and boats waiting for prey in the straits between the islands, where trade routes. They were covered islands, islets, reefs and waited in ambush. Having found a target, usually a single ship, behind the caravan, secretly followed him. At night quietly rake up, climb on board, cut the watch and clock, seized the ship. In the battle in the main manual used firearms and a cool tool, small kartechnitsa.

More profitable venture in attacks on rich coastal Spanish town. To do this, filibusters were combined into meaningful units. The raid took place on the standard template: exploration (attacked the settlement, where there was no significant garrisons and a large force of Spanish fleet), a sudden attack (often at night), slaughter and plunder, care. Over the years, pirates ravaged Havana, Valparaiso, Cartagena, Puerto Carabelli, Bayu, Vera Cruz, etc.

So Makar, the Spaniards were "treacherous villains" only in the descriptions of the French and the British. Britain and France were young colonial empires who were willing to press an old "mistress of the seas" — Spain, plunder and seize its ownership. Filibusters were inventory in the Great Game. Spanish settlers often become vi
ctims of various international trash. Fascinating that even the local Indians in the conflicts often perceived towards the Spaniards. The more progressive nature of Spanish colonial order confirms the fact that in the former Spanish possessions significant part of the Redskins (or their descendants — the mestizo) make up a significant portion of the population.

Filibusters were based on several bases: Dutch Curacao, French Tortuga, etc. But after the capture of Jamaica by the English from the Spanish in 1655 (Jamaica was officially declared a British colony in 1670), and other pirate bases evenly surpassed Port Royal. Soon he acquired a reputation of "the most vicious of the town throughout the Christian world" and became the capital of the pirates. The city remained the main base of the pirates before June 7, 1692, when a significant portion of this "depraved Babylon" as a result of the earthquake lost at sea. Pleased Catholics believed that "God has punished for the sins of the wicked city."

Port Royal has grown rapidly and headed for unusual prosperity. It settled traders — buyers loot their shops were full of luxuries and expensive products. Usurers, profiteers, slave traders and slave-owning planters built luxurious palaces for themselves. Nearby were "gay" neighborhoods "piracy Babylon", where with the help of taverns, brothels and gambling houses, stretched resources with filibusters. In the city came thousands of whores, others for this "business" specifically selected in the slave markets. The authorities turned a blind eye to violations of a large part of the local bigwigs could get at least some imperial bureaucrat.

Pirates called themselves "the Coastal Brotherhood." Some researchers have idealized life laws and "brotherhood", but serious criticism of these eyes can not stand. Laws filibusters — a set of common rules that allow crank case and not cut each other (though not always). Namely, it was a rule forbidding murder of a friend in the back. Destroy can be challenged to a duel, with eyewitnesses. Bane has relied for treason, concealment of prey. "Admirals" and the captains were chosen for one event. The captains did not have the right to kill a crew member without a collective "judgment." The robbers saw themselves as "business people", because before every raid consisted of the production sharing contract. Each fraction was determined: the captain, "officers", artillerymen, sailors, etc., to stipulate additional payments for injury, loss of arms, legs, eyes, etc. This "insurance" was a one-time, in the coming fate of the crippled no one becomes interested. At the same time, laws are often flouted, and made only when they were backed by force.

To be continued …

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