Short Seafaring Adventures and Conflicts in the Indian Ocean 1405-1811
With Reference to the Seychelles and
By Julien DURUP 2004
This work is far from
being complete the author would like to request from anyone who would like
to contribute more information to update this document.
Solomon’s fleet is said to have visited Kerala (from ‘Keralam’ the
land of coconuts) in India and started the Jewish religion at Fort Kochi.
Much later in 52 AD St Thomas the Apostle arrived at the same place and
large number of people arrived from Indonesia in their canoes and settled
in Madagascar and introduced Casuarinas (filaos) tree there and in
Arabs arrived and for commercial, religious and political measures settled
on the eastern coast of Africa and in India on the Malabar coastline. They
also introduced a brilliant civilisation, geographical science and gave
some islands Arabic names. They were followed by the Chinese who came with
large boats as travelling ambassadors to discover this part of the world
without the intention to colonising any country.
a very long time the Indian Ocean was known by the European as the sea of
spices, silks and precious stones. They wanted to get hold of the sources.
The Arabs were selling at high prize.
the project of Prince Henry the Navigator, the Portuguese was the first
European to arrive in the Indian Ocean. In 1498, Vasco de Gama with the
help of an Omani pilot Ahmed Ibn Madjid arrived at Calicut, in Kerala, de
Gama later established trading posts at Sofala and Mozambique in East
Africa and Kerala in India, he died at Fort Kochi.
1502 Mahé the main island in the Seychelles was known by the Portuguese
as ‘Y Rana’ or ‘Ganna’ four years later the Seychelles appeared on
the Portuguese maps as ‘As sete Irmas’ the seven sisters or ‘Os
Irmaos’ the brothers. The Mascarene Islands were also given Portuguese
names: Sao Lourenço (Madagascar), Ilhas do Comoro (The Comores), Glorioso
(Glorieuses), Apollonia (La Réunion), Cirné (Mauritius) and Dio
Portuguese came with Chinese maps and used Muslim pilots, which was why
they accomplished their task in exploring and mapping the Indian Ocean
very quickly. They also made some charts to confuse other European
The Spaniards and the Portuguese founded, East India Company in 1587, the
Dutch in 1595 were the first to start serious trading as monopolists under
the Dutch East India Company, and then the English arrived in 1600 with
their East India Company, followed
in 1664-1719 by the French with their Compagnie Française des Indes Orientales, then 1719-20 Compagnie des
Indes and in 1720-89 Compagnie
Française des Indes. They were followed by the Danes, the Austrian
and the American, all these are well known but little has been written so
far about the Swedish East India Company of 1731-1813.
Swedish. East Indiaman Götheborg
in Göteborg the company carried out a total of 132 expeditions to Java
and Wampoa in Canton China, using 37 different vessels their trade was
sometimes disrupted by the Dutch and English man-of-war, it stopped more
through disaster than conflicts.
main reasons for the French guerre
de course in the Indian Ocean, was the dominant rich British trade
with India. For the French the most important ships in warfare were the
private ship-owners with civilian crews, who had from the government a
special lettre de marque identifying
them as ships of war and such ships were the corsairs, this same name
designating the commander of the ship and his crew. For some years the
corsairs managed to make Mauritius and La Réunion very rich. From 1794 to
1810 there were about 110 French privateers and they made 193 cruises
around the Indian Ocean. Several privateers were based in Mauritius and
the Seychelles, amongst the most famous where three brothers are Robert,
Nicolas and Noël Surcouf of Mauritius and the Hodoul brothers, Jean-François,
Bathélémy and Antoine of Seychelles.
1803 with the appointment by the little
corporal the first consul
Napoleon Bonaparte (Napoleone
Bounaparte) of Charles Mathieu Isidore Decaen as Captain-General of
French establishments east of Cape of Good Hope and the expedition of
Admiral Charles Alexandre Durand de Linois to the Indian Ocean. This
marked the initiation and determined effort by the French to attack the
British by means of warships. Isidore Decaen a hot tempered Norman, bright
military man, a former law student, a lawyer’s articled clerk and
extravagant in money matters. He later used his forte in law to write his
famous Code Decaen which is still in use in Mauritius and Seychelles.
Durand de Linois was a calm and polite Breton very economical and was a
brilliant sea man. Both
their names are engraved on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
1808 France’s moves and tactics in despatching four newly armed frigates
was very successful, Napoléon acted on the advised of Robert Surcouf by
sending them individually they managed to capture large Indiamen and
destroyed many British frigates. Their success and that of the corsairs
forced Britain to build up a powerful force which later captured all the
French possessions in the Indian Ocean. The main consequence for the
French defeat was the failure of her high personalities (La Bourdonnais
and Dupleix; Decaen and de Linois) to work together. With strong forces from the Cape, Bombay and Madras the
British first took the Island of Rodrigues, in 1809, then La Réunion,
on 7th July 1810 where the British managed to take the battery
and a post at Ste Marie. Their landing of 4,000 troops (including a
detachment of Sepoys from Bombay) at Grande Chaloupe met little resistance.
On the next day the French Colonel Sainte Suzanne together with Commodore
Josias Rowley, Lieutenant-Colonel Keating and Robert T Farquhar signed the
capitulation of La Réunion. Later the main base of Mauritius was taken on
3rd December 1810, Tamatave on February 1811 and lastly the
Seychelles on 21st April 1811, even though the later was the
first to capitulate.
Chinese made many expeditions to the Indian Ocean in their bid to discover
the world; the main expedition was that of Admirals Hong Bao, Zhou Man,
Zhou Wen and Yang Qing. They established themselves in Malacha, Kerala,
Ceylon and in East Africa and they have left a lasting legacy in these
places like: The quaint Chinese Fishing Nets; that are still in use today
in Kerala. The Galle Stele in Sri Lanka, the Ming Porcelain used in old
constructions in East Africa and most of the Indian Ocean Islands
including Seychelles appears on Chinese Maps.
de Nova,a Portuguese during his visit came across a lot of small islands
in the Seychelles and named one Joâo de Nova in his honour this island
was later re baptised Farquahar.
Captain Anthony Sherley is apparently the best educated English pirate
that frequented the Indian Ocean, after some success in the Atlantic he
sailed to the Persian Gulf from his base in Italy. He was made ambassador
by the Shah to gain more support against the Ottoman Empire. He returned
to England and was forbidden to return to Persia. In 1609 he joined forces
with Spain and looted the Greek Islands. In 1637 he lost the Spanish
backing and died penniless in that country.
October, Captain Alexander Sharpeigh (during the 4th expedition
of the English India Company) arrived in the Indian Ocean from Woolwich,
in England, on board the Ascension stopping
at the Cape where they built another ship the Good
Hope. While sailing through the Mozambique Channel they lost sight of
the Good Hope, they visited
Grande Comore and Pemba Islands. On 21 January 1609 arrived at an unnamed
island [Mahé] which they described as an earthly paradise. Captain
Sharpeigh left on the 1st February for the Socotra and Aden
without naming and claiming this earthly paradise.
William Dampier was born in 1652, in Somerset, England, in his early
career as a buccaneer he was based on the Spanish Main. Later he became an
explorer and naturalist, the brilliant navigator three times circled the
globe and discovered Australia long before James Cook, and he gave the
English language many new words such as: avocado, barbeque, breadfruit,
cashew, sub pieces and chopsticks. Captain Dampier with two of his crew
where the first European to have landed on Christmas Island. He left his
ship the Cygnet which was under
the command of Captain Josiah Teat to maroon on Nicobar Islands where he
was later joined by three Englishmen, a Portuguese and four Chinese. On
the 15th May 1688 he set sail for Sumatra in a locally built
canoe which was exchanged for an axe from the natives. From Sumatra he
then sailed to Tonguing. In 1691 Dampier left the employment of Sondon the
English Governor of Bencouli, as a stowaway he boarded the Defence
under Captain Heath with all his notes accumulated in the past 10
years, from which he wrote A new
Voyage Around the World, 1697, Voyages
and Descriptions, 1699, and A
Voyage to New Holland in two volumes 1703 and 1709, all which later
inspired Charles Dawin, James Cook, Haratio Nelson and others.
On the way to the Cape most of the Defence’s crew were sick arriving
at South Africa the Defence was
taken to safety by the Dutch and all the sick including Dampier were taken
ashore to recover. In May of the same year they left for England and
Dampier later died in England in 1715.
Culliford, arrived in the Indian Ocean in December 1690 on the stolen Blessed
William of William Kidd under the command of William May an American.
After setting a base in Madagascar they went on the hunt on the Indian
Coast. Arriving at Nicobar Islands May and Culliford jumped ship and
returned to New York where May was given the command of the Pearl
and Culliford quartermaster. Together they sailed for Masore, India, soon
after arriving Culliford left the ship and signed aboard the Merchantman Josiah
as a gunner. In June 1696 while in Madras, Culliford led a mutiny and
seized the ship and sailed to Nicobar Islands, then the crew retook and
marooned Culliford on the islands. Culliford was later rescued by Captain
Ralph Stout of Mocha. Shortly
after joining the Mocha Stout
was killed and Culliford was elected Captain. He set sailed to the Strait
of Malacca, in a battle with a British ship the Dorrill the Mocha was
hit and had to retreat, en route to Sainte Marie’s Island, Madagascar he
captured several ships, his booty came to £2,000. While in Sainte Marie
he met his old one time friend William Kidd and apparently enjoyed company.
In June 1698 Culliford left Sainte Marie, with a lot of Kidd’s crew and
joined forces with Dirk Chivers in capturing the Great
Mohammed. In February while returning
to his base at Sainte Marie he captured a French ship and then encountered
4 British War ships which came to Sainte Marie and Culliford
accepted royal pardon and went to London, where he was arrested and
tried for piracy, saved from hanging because his affidavit was needed for
the coming trial of Samuel Burges. After his court case Culliford seems to
have disappeared from record.
William May, this American pirate was involved in the Nine Years’ War
and he became the captain of the Blessed
William when the crew stole the ship from William Kidd. May arrived in
the Indian Ocean in command of the 16 gun ship the Pearl,
after stopping in Madagascar he sailed to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. In
June 1695 he joined forces with Captain Henry Avery and shared the booty
of the Gunsway formerly the Fateh
Mahmammed . In 1695 Captain May went to the south western coast of
India where he captured 3 ships with booty totaling £200,000, he returned
to New York to conceal his prizes. In January 1699, Captain May was at
Sainte Marie’s Island, Madagascar where he learned that the British
where after him, he immediately sailed out to sea, pirating on his way
home and successfully arrived in New York with £300,000 that was in tow.
1690, Captain James Kelley alias James Gilliam started his pirate
activities in West Africa with John Williams then in the Caribbean and
South America and Pacific coast with John Cook.
In Jamaica he jumped ship and helped to seize a sloop elected her
captain under the alias James Gilliam and sailed to the Indian Ocean,
while in Malabar Coast he was reunited with his old ship, the Bachelor’s Delight becoming its quartermaster. In1692 they
captured the Unity near Bombay,
the defeated crew of the Unity
joined the pirates, put their officers out to sea and Kelly was elected as
their new captain. He set sail to the North West of India looking for much
needed provisions. While ashore Kelley and 20 others were arrested for
stealing supplies and they were forced to join to Muslim faith many died
while undergoing circumcision. Kelly remained there for many years, in
1696 he stole a boat and went back to Bombay and joined the East Indian
ship Mocha. Eight days later
after leaving port the crew mutinied, in May 1698, the Mocha
arrived at Sainte Marie’s Island. Kelly as a rich man decided to
join Willian Kid who was heading home. When they landed at Boston Kelley
was arrested and taken to England to be tried for his crimes, while
awaiting his fate he wrote his memoirs untitled A
Full and True Discovery of all the Robberies, Pyracies and Other Notorious
Actions of James Kelly. He was found guilty and hanged in 1701.
John Halsey, this American pirate arrived in Madagascar, in command of the
Charles. In late 1706 he was temporarily deposed by his crew. At
Madagascar Halsey recruited more crew and Nathaniel North became
Quartermaster. While in the Red Sea he captures two British ships from a
squadron of five and his booty was estimated as £50.000 in cash and
cargo. In January 1708 Captain Halsey returned to Madagascar his ship was
destroyed in a hurricane. He later died from fever and was buried with
great ceremony, of which has been immortalised by Daniel Defoe: “He
was brave in his person, courteous to all his Prisoners, lived beloved,
and died regretted by his own People. His Grave was made in Garden of
Water Melons, and fenced in with Pallisades to prevent his being rooted up
by wild hogs.”
1692, Pirate Captain Ralph Stout was arrested with 20 other pirates
in India while serving with Captain James Kelly. They escaped 4 years
later after stealing a boat; arriving at Bombay they joined the Mocha, an East Indiaman
under Captain Edgecumbe, shortly after Stout and his companions seized the
Mocha, in the mêlée Captain
Edgecumbe was killed and twenty seven of the crew managed to escaped and
reach shore in one of the long boats of the Mocha.
The pirates discovered
£19.000 worth of booty on board. Stout then steered to South East
of Burma where he took a merchant ship the Charming
Mary and arrested her Captain, Robert Gulliford.
1693 between India and the Strait of Malacca, he was very successful
plundering at least seven ships with big booty, as a very cruel man his
worst atrocities was in February 1697 after capturing a Portuguese ship
the Almoner was brutally murdered, and later after seizing another ship he
locked the crew and passengers in the hold and burned them alive with the
ship. In April Stout on the Mocha
went to Laccadive Islands and the Charming
Mary went to Sumatra. There are two conflicting accounts of how Stout
died in Laccadive: his men killed him because he wanted to retire, or that
he was slain by Malay seamen visiting the Islands.
Mission was a French pirate from Provence, he served in the Antilles on
the La Victoire. Captain Mission was one of the forebears of the French
(Fraternal) Revolution of 1789, with a desire to work for the betterment
of mankind. While on a voyage to Naples he met Father Caraccioli an
Italian Dominican, these two men had the same vision later sailed together
in the Indian Ocean on the La
Victoire. When they arrived at Anjouan after attacking any passing
ships and pillaging the other Comoros Islands Father Caraccioli was
serving as a lieutenant.
Anjouan they signed a peace treaty with the Queen, Captain Mission married
the Queen’s Sister and Father Caraccioli wedded the Queen’s niece.
Both of them were wounded in Mohely after recuperations, they went to
cruise the African coast and captured a Portuguese ship with a huge booty.
During the ferocious battle Father Caraccioli lost a leg, they returned to
Anjouan and stayed until Father Caraccioli was well enough, then they
sailed on the Bijou a former
prize, to the bay of Diégo-Suarez, Madagascar. It was there that they
started (with the help of the Royal family of Anjouan) to build the
Libertalia a new maritime republic based on socialist principals of
Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Captain
Mission was elected the Conservator, Father Caracioli secretary of state
and Captain Thomas Tew Admiral of the Fleet. The first thing they did was
the abrogation of the pirate regulations, the ship’s booty was put in a
chest to be used later as common property, clothes were distributed to all
in need. The code of Libertalia was quiet remarkable and the most
important part of the Articles state: All decisions with regard to the
colony to be submitted to vote by the colonists: the abolitions of slavery
for any reason including debt and the death penalty, freedom to follow any
religions, the abolition of private property and even a new language for
the colonists was invented based on French, English, Dutch, Portuguese,
Comorian and Malagasy languages. It seems that Libertalia flourishes for
some years, and then Father Caraccioli sailed to the East African coast
there seizing two Dutch ships. Captain Mission and Thomas Tew went to the
Arabian coast and captured a huge vessel with nearly two thousand people
on board; they kept one hundred females passenger for their new colony and
disembarked all the rest in Aden. After arriving back at Libertalia they
had to face the onslaught of five Portuguese vessels who where trying to
enter the bay, one of the ships was captured by Captain Mission and all
his captives were treated with humanity. Libertalia was in urgent need of
male manpower to guard its security which was mostly in the hands of
female guards. Going out for
more cruises and passing by vessels recruited more crews this had put more
strain on the defence situation, and one day they were attacked in the
night by the natives. Father Caraccioli was killed, Captain Thomas Tew
managed to reach American with all his riches and Captain Mission died in
a hurricane en route to France. Libertalia disappeared at the same time.
Pirate the Dominican Father Caraccioli see 1694 Captain Mission.
Dirk Chivers was Dutch, he served on the Portsmouth
Adventure under Captain Joseph Farrel. He helped Avery in the Red Sea
on the way to Rode Island his ship was wrecked on the Island of Mayotte
and Chivers remained on the island. At the end of 1695 he joined the 28
gun ship Resolution after becoming captain he renamed her Soldado
and he became successful. In a joined venture with John
Hoar they took two East Indian Company ships and in November 1696 Chivers
seized 4 ships at Calcutta but had to flee and abandon his prizes due to
the onslaughts of the Governor. He arrived at Sainte Marie Island, in
Madagascar in summer 1697, a year later he captured an English ship the Sedgwick
then he joined forces with Captain Robert Gulliford and Captain
Nathaniel North to capture the Great
Mahammed . Chivers took command of her and renamed her Soldado
II. At Sainte Marie Island he sank the Soldado
II in the harbour to block the entry of 4 British battle ships. He
returned home on the Vine after
accepting a royal pardon.
John Hoar, this pirate arrived in the Indian Ocean from Boston on renamed John and Rebecca a former captured French ship that he was allowed
to buy. In April 1696 he was based at Sainte Marie’s Island, Madagascar
and sailed to the Red Sea. Captain Hoar then joined forces with Captain
Dirk Chivers and seized several European and Indian ships; one of these
was the Rouparelle. He went
again in to the Red Sea this time without Chivers and captured a large
Indian ship loaded with cloth and sailed with his booty to Sainte Marie
where he was later killed in an indigenous attacked.
1695. September, the English pirate Henry Every, of Portsmouth, sometimes known
as John Every, aliases Long Ben, Captain Bridgeman. He arrived in the
Indian Ocean in the Fancy formerly
the Charles II the ship that he
and his fellow mutineers and took on 7th May 1697. He stopped
at Madagascar for provisions en route for the Red Sea where he joined
numerous American Pirates who were waiting for the large pilgrim ships
coming to Mecca from Surat and Tuda. The American Pirates where Captain
Joseph Farrell alias Faro, on the Portsmouth
Adventure coming from Rode Island and Captain William Want on the
Dolphin from Philadelphia. They were followed by 3 more American ships,
Captain Thomas Tew on the Amity
from New York, Captain William May on the 16 gun Pearl
from Rode Island and Captain Wake on the Susannah
from Boston. Then they all joined forces, with 150 men and took their
first prize the Fateh Mahmamamed
with a cargo of nearly 60,000 pounds of gold and silver. Later they took
the largest of the Great Mogul’s ships the Gang-i-Sawai
under Captain Muhammad Ibrahim, she was carrying over a hundred
beautiful virgin girls aged 12 to 18 When the booty was divided 150
pirates received $2.5 million each. Captain
Every ended up in the West Indies most of his crew deserted, he returned
to England and died in poverty.
September, Captain Thomas Tew this American pirate came from Rode Island, New York,
he sailed in the Indian Ocean on the Amity,
and he then cruised to the
Red Sea where he had to wait for several months he captured a great Mogul
ship which a rich cargo of gold, silver, gems, pearls, spices and silk
worth over £100,000. Tew kept £8,000 and sent £5.000 back home, his
crew shared the gold and silver, and the other cargoes were shipped to
America. He set sailed to Sainte Mary’s Island, Madagascar and joined
with Captain Mission and was made Admiral of the fleet in the new
colony of Libertalia at Diègo Suarez. At Libertalia Tew (was locally
known as Tamo) married Ramena a local princess from the Zanfindamisoa
family and had a son named Prince Ratsimilaho Ramoraromanompo. Prince
Ratsimilaho later founded the kingdom of Betsimisaraka (“Inseparable
Multitude”) by uniting various chiefdoms and became King, the kingdom
collapsed in 1791 and is now under the Merina Kingdom.
In 1694 Captain Thomas Tew set sail back to Road Island and was
welcomed by the people of New Port where he and wife and two daughters
soon found fame and status with most prestigious family and the Governor
of New York. At the end of 1694 he set sail again for the Indian Ocean he
died in the Arabian Sea on the Amity he received a fatal shot in his belly while attacking the Fateh
Mahmammed. They buried him at sea and the crew elected Bobbington as
their new captain and sailed to Sainte Marie Island.
1696, Captain Nathaniel North, this American pirate started his
mission in the Indian Ocean after refusing a commission to raid French
West Africa, he raided
villages in the Comoros from his base in Madagascar. As quarter master on
the Pelican he joined forces
with Culliford and Chivers to plunder the Red Sea and captured the Great Mohammed. Chivers and Culliford refused to share the large
booty of gold with North’s crew. North then sailed off to the Malabar
Coast, where he seized three ships keeping one and renaming her Dolphin. He encountered a severe hurricane and was forced to return
to Madagascar for urgent repairs and shared the booty each crew member
1699, North sailed north on the Dolphin
under Captain Samuel Inless and captured a large Danish ship, and
return to Sainte Marie’s Island to share their ill-gotten gains. Soon
four British warships arrived, Captain Inless burned the Dolphin rather
than surrender to the British. The British offered pardon and
several men accepted, not trusting the English commodore, North
took a long boat and fled to Madagascar en route his boat was overturned
in a storm losing everything and had to swim 12 miles to shore.
1701 to late 1703, he sailed with George Booth and John Bowen, in 1707 he
served with John Haslsy after capturing two English ships, North took
command of one, his time as captain of the Charles
was very brief she was wrecked a short time later. North went back
home and in 1709 he was back in Madagascar and apparently he was killed
some years later by a native tribesmen.
Captain George Booth arrived in the Indian Ocean where this English Pirate
carried out much of his piracy. His first ship was the Pelican
and later joined the Dolphin, In
September 1699; an English fleet attacked the Dolphin
near Sainte Marie Island, Madagascar in the attacked, Booth burned his
ship instead of letting it fall to the British, he later met John Brown at
Majunga and in April 1704 they joined forces. Later they took over the 450
ton Speaker a slaver of 40 guns,
Booth took command of her and sailed to Zanzibar, where he was killed when
he went ashore for provisions and Brown replace him as captain.
Thomas White this English pirate originated from Plymouth, he was in
command of a ship taken by French pirates which was later captured by John
Bowen. After refusing to join Bowen’s crew, Bowen made a slave of White,
sharing him with Captain George Booth. White became a free man after the
ship was wrecked in 1701. He signed on with Captain Howard aboard the Prosperous
and was elected quartermaster. Howard’s crew along with Captain Bowen
took several ships with large booty in 1703. Afterwards most of the crew
retired to India and Mauritius Island. White and the rest of the crew
joined Captain Nathaniel North and sailed for Madagascar, arriving at Cape
Dauphin White along with 30 crew members went ashore for provisions. The
ship was blown off course in a sudden storm White and friends were left on
the island. In 1704 White became captain of a small abandoned ship, after
refitting her set sail for the Red Sea where he captured several Indiamen,
Portuguese and British ships with large booty. In 1707, White sailed under
Captain Thomas Halsey and shared his rich booty with him.
White died of excessive drinking in Madagascar in early 1708.
Captain William Kidd, this well known English pirate after much success in
the West Indies, he accepted a mission to capture all French ships and
pirates of Madagascar. In the Indian Ocean Kidd had major trouble with his
crew who wanted to attack any ships, to avoid mutiny he decided to attack
all kinds of ship. He then sailed to the Malabar Coast where he took the Adventure
Galley and then a huge treasure ship the Quedagh Merchant. Kidd then set sailed for New York with the
greatest pirate treasures to convince without success the authorities that
he prizes came from French Ships and pirates off Madagascar. He was put in
irons and shipped to England where he was sentenced to death and hanged;
his body was placed in an iron cage on the bank of the Thames River for
nearly twenty years.
Abraham Samuel sailed into the Indian Ocean as quarter master on the John
and Rebecca after a few sorties he settled in Madagascar and became a
local ‘King’ of Port Dauphin. He was a Creole from Martinique, and
apparently disappeared in 1706.
Captain Samuel Burges, this American pirate was a former member of Captain
William Kidd’s crew, in command of the Margaret
near Sainte Marie Island, Madagascar, he run into a British fleet.
They were offered pardon for any piratical activities. Several of
Burgess’ crew accepted and acquired passage home with the fleet. Captain
Burgess sailed to the Cape, he arrived there in December where his ship,
slaves and the £17.000 was taken by Captain Lowth of the East India
Company and sailed to Bombay. The owners of the Margaret
brought legal proceedings against the East India Company.
In 1701 Burgess was taken to England and was convicted but was
later pardoned, and he sailed to the pacific. He arrived later in
Madagascar as first mate on the Neptune
to trade liquor for slaves, and after losing his naval status he
stayed in Madagascar dealing in slavery with the Welsh born pirate David
Williams. It is said that he died after an argument concerning prices of
slaves with a black chief.
Howard a man who spent all his inheritance, managed to steal all the
treasure on of a wrecked ship that had ran aground off Madagascar. Later
Howard became the victim; he was marooned while hunting when his
companions made off with the treasure.
Finally George Booth came along and Howard was rescued and joined
the crew. When Booth died he sailed under John Bowen.
In 1701 Bowen’s ship the Speaker was wrecked and they went to St
Augustine’s Bay, Madagascar and Howard stayed behind and took up
residence for a short time and managed to recruit some pirates and took
the 36 gun ship the Prosperous.
Howard was elected captain and rejoined Bowen in 1702. In March
1703 they took the British merchantman Pembroke
off Anjouan Island and in August 1703 they captured in the Red Sea two
Indian ships with more than £70,000 in booty and sailed to Rajapura and
divided their treasures. Howard married a local girl and retired as a very
wealthy man on the Indian coast and was killed by one of her relatives.
1700, April, Captain John Bowen was a Créole pirate from Bermuda; he
was a Captain of a trading ship in the West Indies. After capturing the
Speaker with Captain George Booth in Majunga he sailed to the red sea
where he captured a very rich prize an Indian vessel worth £100,000. In
November 1701 he took another ship which he sold on the Indian coast.
Returning to Madagascar his was wrecked on Mauritius Island most of the
crew and the treasure were saved. After bribing the Dutch Governor he was
warmly welcomed and allowed to buy a ship.
April 1702 he went back to Madagascar and set up a base at Saint Augustine
Bay where he captured the slaver Speedy
Return, a year later he joined forces with Captain Thomas Howard they
seized a rich British Merchant. After a brief separation they joined
forces again in August 1703 in the Red Sea they captured two Indian
vessels and £70,000, they sailed to Rajapura where their plunder was
and 40 members of his crew retired to Mauritius and he died six months
Christophe Poulain Dubignon in the Salomon
a corsair owned by Paul d’Arifat of Port Louis and Captain Chandeuil
in the Sainte Anne
from Port Louis they sailed to the Malabar coast and captured the
Indiaman Merchant of Bombay
with a booty worth two million francs, she was en route to the
Kanhoji this African Muslim Kanhoji pirate captured and fortified two
islands near Bombay to use as his base in 1710 and was the first to extort
money from Indian and British shipping in that area. In 1712 he held for
ransom the armed yacht of the East India Company’s governor. Several
years later he fought the British at Gheriah and Deoghur using specially
built gun ships, and by the 1720’s, he was a wealthy man with a fleet of
hundreds of well-armed vessels. When he died in 1729, he left his pirate
kingdom to his son Sumbhaji Angria. After Sumbhaji’s dead in 1743 his
half-brother Toolaji Angria took control, then the British stormed the
main fortress, imprisoned Toolaji, and shipped the treasure to Bombay.
Edward Seegar alias Edward England, this Irish born and (most humane)
pirate arrived in the Indian Ocean with John Taylor on their captured
vessel the Royal James formerly the Pearl
after several weeks in Madagascar they sailed north and seized many
prizes one of them was the Fancy
and she became Seegar’s new flagship. In 1720 off the North coast of
India the Royal James was
captured along with a new Dutch ship. They exchanged the Royal
James for the newly captured Dutch ship which was renamed the Fancy.
In August 1720, soon after returning to their base in Madagascar
they encountered three ships two Dutch and the Cassandra
commanded by Captain James Macrae of the English East India Company.
Taylor went after the Dutch and Seegar with the loss of 90 men managed to
captured the Cassandra with a
booty of £75.000. Later Taylor led a rebellion against Seegar for
pardoning the crew of the Cassandra,
he had Seegar and 3 three others marooned on a small Island nearby. Seegar
managed to build a small raft and sailed to Saint Augustine’s Bay,
Madagascar where he survived by begging for food but died at the early of
1721 and was later immortalised by Robert Louis Stevenson, who used the
words ‘ a wooden legged pirate with a terrible set of whiskers’, was
long John Silver.
John Taylor, was with Edward Seegar in West Africa and when they captured
the Cassandra, Taylor later deposed Seegar for showing mercy to the
captain and crew of the Cassandra, he
hunted in the Indian Ocean and took several Indian and European ships.
Taylor sailed to the Dutch port of Cochin in India, for provisions,
where he was forced to pay heavy bribes. Then he set course for Mauritius
where he left some of his ships then moved with the rest to Sainte Marie
Island. There he was joined by Olivier Le Vasseur alias La Buse, Labuse
assumed command of the Victory.
In April 1721 they went to La Réunion Island and captured the Portuguese
old sailing ship Nostra Senhora de
Cabo, with the ex-viceroy of Goa and booty worth £875.000. Then they
went to Madagascar to share their treasures, later burning the Victory
and replacing it with the Nostro
Senhora de Cabo which was renamed the Victory.
In December 1722 Taylor and La Buse parted company, Taylor sailed on
the Cassandra to Panama,
arriving in May 1723, where he obtained a pardon by the Governor of
Portobello in exchange for the Cassandra.
1719, Captain Christopher Condent , this savage English pirate
originated from Plymouth, he was very active around the Brazilian and West
African coast. Captain Condent then moved to Sainte Marie’s Island,
Madagascar where he took on the stranded crew of Captain Halsey, he joined
forces with other pirates at the Island Anjouan where he took an East
Indiaman the Cassandra and
sailed to the East coast of India taking much booty. He sailed back to the
Mascarenes Islands where he took a Portuguese ship with the Viceroy of Goa
aboard as a prize and sailed for Zanzibar where he captured a Dutch
reinforcement, and went to Sainte Marie’s Island to share out the booty
and broke up the company. They made contact with the French governor in
Mauritius and obtained a pardon; Condent is believed to have married the
Governor’s daughter and retired to Saint Malo, France.
James Plantain was a native of Jamaica, little is known about his previous
pirate activities, he had a base on Madagascar where he built a fortress
at Ranter bay and declared himself ‘King’. Plantain had many wives on
the island and lived in luxury.
1720, Olivier le Vasseur alias La Buse, was a native of Calais, as a good womanizer he was given the name La Buse (La bise).
His first ship was the Reine des Indes, before coming into the Indian Ocean he was with Captain Benjamin Hornigold and Bellamy attacking both French and English ships near the Virgin Island. In 1718 he was in West Africa after having left his two consorted friends Captain Howell Davies and Thomas Cocklyy, then La Buse set sail to the Indian Ocean and his first stop was the pirate haven of Sainte Marie Island, Madagascar. On the way to the Red Sea he took his first prize the Swanage with a large booty, La Buse sailed to the Maldives and the Chagos Archipelago, and then en route for the Seychelles he was chased by two warships. He changed course due to bad weather and a broken rudder, he was fearful of being taken, the Reine des Indes was shipwrecked on Mayotte in the Comoros. La Buse and half of his surviving crew were rescued by one of the long boats of the Victory, having arrived at Mayotte from Anjouan to recruit more men. Arriving at Anjouan La Buse met JohnTaylor and was appointed first mate on the Victory to replace the compassionate Edward Seegar who was in chained. Later La Buse was given the command of the Victory and Taylor took over the Defense formerly the Cassandra. Together they sailed to the Indian Coasts and pillaged the inhabitants of Laccadives Islands; from there they sailed to Mauritius and arrived at Port Louis in February 1721. Two months later at Saint Denis, La Réunion seized the Portuguese ship La Vierge du Cap with a huge booty, along with the former Vice–Roy of Goa, she was under the command of Captain Eiriceira. La Buse took La Vierge du Cap in tow to Sainte Marie Island and renamed her the Victorieux, on his first sortie on the Victorieux he took the Princesse de Noailles. Later La Buse joined Taylor for a cruise to India, reaching the north of Madagasgar, they were chased by the English, hurriedly they changed course for the Mozambique Coasts aiming for the land of gold (the kingdom of Mononotapa). La Buse refused to follow Taylor to Mononotapa and was later judged by Taylor and whipped by each of the crew. The project for Mozambique was abandoned and they arrived in Madagascar on 4th September 1722. La Buse regained his liberty and Taylor left for the Antilles. The Victorieux was quickly repaired and La Buse sailed away and was soon chased by the English squadron of Commodore Mathews, La Buse changed course and headed for Madagascar the Victorieux was shipwrecked on a reef near Madagascar. He retired and became pilot at Antongil until 1730 when he was captured by Captain Hermitte on the Méduse, taken to La Réunion where he was hanged at Saint Paul on 7th July 1730. When about to be hanging he apparently threw a piece of paper to the gathering, shouting find my treasure who can. The inscription has been deciphered in 1920 by Charles de La Roncière of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris and he had erroneously linked it with the mysterious carvings on the rocks at Bel Ombre, Mahé, Seychelles. These mystifying carvings where made with precision, could not have been that of La Buse, who had not visited the Seychelles. Apparently the most credible hypothesis is that he concealed his huge booty in the ravine à Malheur at La Réunion.