Source: The History of the Bucaniers of America
Staff Person: Ralph Scott
Esquemelin, Alexandre Oliver
The History of the Bucaniers of America; from the first original down to this time; written in several languages and now collected into one volume. London: Newborough, Nicholson and Tocke, 1704.
Rare Book Collection: In Conservation
Alexandre Esquemelin (ca. 1645-1707) first published the most important 17th century history of the pirates in Dutch in 1678 under the title De Americaensche Zee-Roovers (Amsterdam, Jan ten Hoorn). Believed to be a French Huguenot refugee, Esquemelin traveled with the French West India Company to Tortuga in 1666. There he encountered many famous pirates including Henry Morgan, with whom he worked in a vague medical capacity until 1674, at which point Esquemelin returned to Europe. His name appears later as a “surgeon” during the French surprise attack on Cartagena, Colombia, on May 6, 1697. This raid was conducted with the assistance of “buccaneers” who became upset when the French carted all of the loot back with them to France, leaving extortion and murder. It is probably from these exploits that Esquemelin drew his pirate portraits found in his History of the Bucaniers of America.
The portrait shown here is of the pirate Roche Brasiliano (formerly of Brazil), who lived with the “Society of Pirats” on the island of Jamaica, from which he plundered the Spanish galleon fleets in the Caribbean.