Popular Pirate Lore

Popular Pirate Lore   

The subject of many a tall tale, pirates, privateers, or buccaneers, gained in folklore with their expertise in capturing vessels off the main shipping lanes as well as the Caribbean as early as the sixteenth century.  Whether they plundered, stole, killed, or executed missions on orders, most came to an ignominious end.

     Sir Francis Drake (English, 1540). One of the earliest and most celebrated privateer of his time, Captain Drake sacked the Spanish army many times with the blessing of Queen Elizabeth I. Spain was repeatedly sacked and plundered at Spanish cities off the coast of Florida. Before his death of dysentery, he become the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe and he rescued the unsuccessful English colonists of Roanoke Island off the coast of the Carolinas.Edward Teach

     Captain William Kidd, a Scotsman (1645), began his career some said as a privateer originally commissioned to rid the seas of pirates. He was reluctantly elected captain by his crew. After learning that he was being hunted, he buried some of his treasure on Gardiners Island, but he was eventually captured, sent to England for trial and sentenced to death.

 Edward Teach “Blackbeard” (English, 1680). Blackbeard is one of the best-known and probably most widely-feared of his time. At the height of his career he commanded four ships and had a pirate army of 300. He captured over forty merchant ships in the Caribbean and killed many a prisoner. He was eventually overtaken by the Royal Navy and beheaded. Continue reading “Popular Pirate Lore”

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Revisit Cocos Island

It is said that Jacque Cousteau called Cocos Island the most beautiful island in the world, and the island is also on the short list to become one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”[1]. The island has long been declared to be hiding more than just natural beauty within its rugged landscape:

William Thompson loaded jewels, gold, silver, heavily adorned candlesticks, and two life sized gold statues of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus aboard the Mary Dear and left the harbor as expected. Thompson was overcome with temptation, however, and he and his crew killed the Spanish guards and changed their original course from Spain to Cocos Island[2], (Isla del Coco) located 340 miles off the pacific coast of Costa Rica where they buried the treasure said to be worth well over $160,000,000 (now known as “The Loot of Lima”. Whether buried above ground in the sand of one of two bays (Chatham Bay or Wafer Bay) or below the water, no one has yet recovered any riches.

But Thompson wasn’t alone in thinking Cocos Island represented a quick and safe haven for secreting away pirated treasures from the hapless ships sailing on the main shipping channels toward destinations many never completed successfully!

My grandfather, Patrick John Rose (pen name Stanley McShane who wrote “Cocos Island Treasure“), separately ventured to the island in the early 1900’s about the same time as John Keating spent nearly 12 years (from 1897 to 1908) searching for the treasures that so many pirates reportedly buried on Isla del Coco (Cocos Island). In total, it was reported that Keating eventually found 6 gold coins. (No information documented on the location of the find.)

But it was the buccaneer Edward Davis that was the subject of my grandfather’s book and goal of his trip to Cocos Island. Edward Davis was one of the earliest (1680) recorded (by writer William Dampier) buccaneers to have buried treasure on Cocos Island. According to Wikipedia[3], Davis with his flagship, the Bachelor’s Delight anchored in “Chatham Bay and supposedly left behind several chests containing ingots, pieces-of-eight and £300,000 in silver bar and plate taken from settlements in Peru and Chile.” They also go on to say that he may have been the same privateer to accompany Captain William Kidd to America after a meeting at St. Mary’s Island in 1697.

The jungle infested island described in the book by my grandfather also alludes to the waterfalls from almost perpendicular rocks and feral pigs deposited on the island by the many treasure laden visitors over the years. The shear cliffs testify to the uninhabilitability of the island though the island purportedly boasts fresh water, as well as the namesake, coconuts, lending a siren call to either bay whether for depositing ill-gotten gains or to find a safe haven from the frequent tropical storms that assail the area. The tropical trees and plants, choking vines and creepers apparently hide quagmires or deep crevices, which, following a misstep, can swallow a human whole. Millions of insects inhabit vapor laden air while the raucous cries of birds careen overhead. Patrick describes a stream west of the bay shore of Chatham Bay that they followed by laboriously hacking bushes and vines as they went. The party ascended up and over immense boulders where they eventually discovered a pool created from waters from above. It was within the pool that water also disappears into a hidden, underwater cave.

It is definitely the stories handed down from generation to generation and writers such as Dampier and my grandfather that lend themselves to the folklore of the romantized pirate legends. That and the occasional find of a golden doubloon!

Cocos Island

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] http://www.new7wonders.com/ You can view the “new” 7 wonders as listed. There are continuous feeds on Twitter, Google, and You Tube.

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocos_Island

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Davis_(bucccaneer)