The famous pirate of Josť Gaspar.


Who was Josť Gaspar?

Spanish pirate Josť Gaspar, who was also known by the nickname Gasparilla, is said to have been actively involved in pirating and pillaging during the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries.

He has since then passed into legend and the Gasparilla Pirate Festival celebrates him annually in Tampa, Florida which was one of the places he was said to have raided and where he is a very popular legend.

Gaspar was said to have served in the Spanish navy on which it is perpetrated that he led a mutiny sparking him to embark on his pirating career. His initial crimes are said to have involved kidnapping a maiden for the ransom money and some to have involved plans to burgle the crown jewels. A jilted lover is alleged to have spun untrue yarns of his crimes to exact revenge which is later said to have resulted in his arrest, escape and the exacting of his own revenge on the nation by turning to piracy.

Stated as having had his own island called Gasparilla Island is the Gulf of Mexico where he hoarded his wealth of raided treasures. He killed male prisoners and kept women prisoners as potential concubines/slaves or held them for ransom money.
Another legend interwoven with the legend of Gasparilla is the one of Useppa or Josefa. A young lady often said to be a Spanish princess she was reportedly carried off by Gasparilla but refused his advances. In a fit of rage he beheaded her and it is said her headless ghost still wanders Gasparilla Island's beaches apparently searching for her head. The Old Port Boca Grande Lighthouse is near her haunting ground and is also reportedly haunted by yet another ghost, the daughter of one of the innkeepers.

In the year 1821 Gasparilla was ready to retire from piracy but decided to attempt one last act of piracy. Together with his crew Gasparilla intended to loot what they though was a British merchant navy ship but what in actuality turned out to be a pirate hunting vessel. Gasparilla's ship was badly damaged though the pirate himself decided to take his own life rather than be captured. In his own words "Gasparilla dies by his own hand, not the enemy's!" He chained himself to the anchor and jumped to his death in the sea. Juan Gomez was a pirate of his crew who lived on to propagate the tale of Gasparilla while most of the others were either killed or captured and then executed.

Josť Gaspar.

 The famous pirate of Josť Gaspar.

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