Buccaneers of the Caribbean by Jon Latimer
How Piracy Forged an Empire

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During the seventeenth century, sea raiders known as buccaneers controlled the Caribbean. Buccaneers were not pirates but privateers, licensed to attack the Spanish by the governments of England, France, and Holland. Jon Latimer charts the exploits of these men who followed few rules as they forged new empires.

Lacking effective naval power, the English, French, and Dutch developed privateering as the means of protecting their young New World colonies. They developed a form of semi-legal private warfare, often carried out regardless of political developments on the other side of the Atlantic, but usually with tacit approval from London, Paris, and Amsterdam. Drawing on letters, diaries, and memoirs of such figures as William Dampier, Sieur Raveneau de Lussan, Alexander Oliver Exquemelin, and Basil Ringrose, Jon Latimer portrays a world of madcap adventurers, daredevil seafarers, and dangerous rogues.

Piet Hein of the Dutch West India Company captured, off the coast of Cuba, the Spanish treasure fleet, laden with American silver, and funded the Dutch for eight months in their fight against Spain. The switch from tobacco to sugar transformed the Caribbean, and everyone scrambled for a quick profit in the slave trade. Oliver Cromwell’s ludicrous Western Design—a grand scheme to conquer Central America—fizzled spectacularly, while the surprising prosperity of Jamaica set England solidly on the road to empire. The infamous Henry Morgan conducted a dramatic raid through the tropical jungle of Panama that ended in the burning of Panama City.

From the crash of gunfire to the billowing sail on the horizon, Latimer brilliantly evokes the dramatic age of the buccaneers.


About Jon Latimer

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Jon Latimer served for sixteen years as an officer in the Royal Welch Fusiliers, as Platoon Commander, Assault Troop Leader and Battalion Intelligence Officer. He has published widely in military journals.
Published January 1, 2009 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson. 368 pages
Genres: History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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In the 17th century the legalities of privateering were ever in flux. A pirate one day might receive a royal commission the next, becoming a privateer fighting for the crown; it is these privateer

Jun 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Buccaneers of the Caribbean: ...

BBC History Magazine

The book Buccaneers of the Caribbean: How Piracy Forged an Empire, 1607–1697 depicts the forging of the British empire as a series of smash and grab raids.

| Read Full Review of Buccaneers of the Caribbean: ...

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