Pirates of the Pacific, 1575-1742


Pirates of the Pacific, 1575-1742

Peter Gerhard

274 pages
Illus., maps


August 1990


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About the Book

By 1540, piracy, with some encouragement from the English and French governments, was thriving in the Caribbean. Much has been written about the pirates who infested that bubbling cauldron, but very little about the hardiest of them all: the ones who crossed the jungles of Central America and sailed through the perilous Straits of Magellan or around Cape Horn to sack the ports of New Spain and capture the Spanish galleons loaded with riches.

At least twenty-five expeditions of foreigners reached the Pacific shores of Central America or Mexico during the period covered by Peter Gerhard’s book—from 1575, when John Oxenham left England for those waters, to 1742, when Commodore George Anson sailed against the Spanish fleet in the War of Jenkins’ Ear. Pirates of the Pacific brings to life Francis Drake and less civilized English privateers and smugglers, sea-roving Dutchmen like Black Anthony, buccaneers like Henry Morgan, and unnamed but no less vigorous pirates who suffered all manner of hardship for riches and generally died young and poor.