The famous pirate of Francis L’Olonnais.


Who was Francis L’Olonnais?

Francis L’Olonnais was born in France in 1635. In the early 1650s he worked in what is today Haiti and the Dominican Republic as a hunter with the Buccaneers. However, he soon saw how much money could be made in the career of pirating and so, he soon moved to Tortuga Island to pursue this career.

The governor of Tortuga Island was a pirate as well and made L’Olonnais captain of his own ship in 1655. L’Olonnais used this ship to attack Spanish ships and the sailors on those ships. It was at this time that he earned the nickname, “The Flail of the Spaniards” due to his merciless ways.

His first obstacle came when his ship became shipwrecked when he was caught in a storm. Most of the crew fled to shore only to soon be killed by Spanish soldiers. To avoid the same death, L’Olonnais hid amongst the dead. He then dressed like a Spaniard and went into Campeche. Slaves helped him leave the area in a canoe in the middle of the night and go back to Tortuga where he became even more angry and vicious due to his wrath against the Spaniards.

In 1667 L’Olonnais partnered with Michel deBasco and together they sailed to the Gulf of Venezuela with an army of eight ships and approximately six hundred men. They attacked on land and succeeded in taking the cities of Maracaibo and Gibraltar. Those who tried to run were captured and tortured so L’Olonnais could find out where their valuables were.

After these cruel and merciless attacks, L’Olonnais and his men returned once again to Tortuga to split up their loot and plan another attack. This time the attack was going to be at Lake Nicaragua. This attack was to be carried out by an army of six ships and seven hundred men. A bad storm blew them into Puerto Caballos and after they had tortured those living there, found out that there was more to be taken at San Pedro. However, San Pedro proved to be just as bankrupt as Puerto Caballos and the Spaniards had killed many of the pirates. L’Olonnias’ men that hadn’t been killed began to leave him at this time and it was also then that they tried to still attack Nicaragua but they ended up just leaving that destination.

While L’Olonnias’ men were leaving, he started to build another boat from scraps of material. He was determined to sail off on another lucrative trip. However, when he left for the Gulf of Darien, the Darien Indians met them at the Nicaragua River and L’Olonnias was killed. It has been reported that he was left to the cannibals.

Francis L’Olonnais.

 The famous pirate of Francis L’Olonnais.

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