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A Short Seafaring Adventures and Conflicts in the Indian Ocean 1405-1811

In chronological order

With Reference to the Seychelles and Mauritius Capitulations

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.

King 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 introduced Christianity.

A large number of people arrived from Indonesia in their canoes and settled in Madagascar and introduced Casuarinas (filaos) tree there and in Seychelles.

The 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.

For 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.   


Following 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.

From 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 Rodrigues (Rodrigues).

The 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 navigators.   

. 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.

The Swedish. East Indiaman Götheborg

Svenska Ostindiska Companiet.


Based 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. 

The 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.

In 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.

In 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.

1405-23, The 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.

1501, Joâo 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.

1597, 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.

1608, 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.     

1688, 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.

1690, Robert 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.

1690, Captain 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.    

1705, Captain 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.

In 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.

1694, Captain 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.

In 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.

1694,  Pirate the Dominican Father Caraccioli see 1694 Captain Mission.

1695, Captain 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.

1695, Captain 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.

1695. 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 received £700.

In 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.

In 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.

1696, 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.

1696, 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.     

1696, 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.

1697, Pirate 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.


1699, September 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.

1700, Thomas 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. 

In 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 divided.  Bowen and 40 members of his crew retired to Mauritius and he died six months later.

1770, 15th October  Captain 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 Persian Gulf.


1710,  Angria 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.

1718, Captain 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.

1718, Captain 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.

1720’s 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.


1741,  Jean Christie de la Palliére, he arrived as captain under de Kersaint, In 1756 he commanded the 54 gun ship the Vengeur one of d’Arche’s squadron two years later off Guddalore he was involved in a Battle against Admiral Pocock, in which the Vengeur and the Bien-Aimé managed to chase the English and in an other battle later, the Vengeur nearly dis- masted the English ship the Tiger. De la Palliére managed to save Mauritius from famine, bringing in grain ships that he had captured from 1760-61, he then left the Vengeur for repairs at Port Louis and set sail on the Condé with the Fidèle in company, they sailed to the Malabar Coast, on 20th August, 1792 near Ceylon he captured the 26 gun Walpole an East Indiaman with a booty of 2 million piastres. In 1763 in the Bay of Bengal he seized 4 ships the Nancy, the Speedwell, the Bon Vayage and the Grampus worth over 21.000 piastres. In another attacked de la Palliére managed also to capture two rice ships and several small vessels but missed an East Indiaman loaded with cotton. With most of his crew affected by scurvy he returned to


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