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Sea Kings and Captains
Nov 20, '20

New Spain


The Viceroyalty of New Spain (Spanish: Virreinato de Nueva España was an integral territorial entity of the Spanish Empire, established by Habsburg Spain during the Spanish colonization of the Americas. It covered a huge area that included much of North America, northern parts of South America and several Pacific Ocean archipelagos, namely the Philippines and Guam. It originated in 1521 after the fall of Tenochtitlan, the main event of the Spanish conquest, and officially created on 18 August 1521 as a kingdom (Spanish: reino), the first of four viceroyalties Spain created in the Americas. Its first viceroy was Antonio de Mendoza y Pacheco, and the capital of the kingdom was Mexico City, established on the ancient Tenochtitlan.


The Players:

Laurens Cornelis Boudewijn de Graaf (c. 1653, Dordrecht, Dutch Republic – 24 May 1704, Cap-Français, Saint-Domingue) was a Dutch pirate, mercenary, and naval officer in the service of the French colony of Saint-Domingue during the late 17th and early 18th century.

Nicholas van Hoorn (c. 1635 in Vlissingen – buried 24 June 1683, in Isla Mujeres) was a merchant sailor, privateer and pirate. He was born in the Netherlands and died near Veracruz after being wounded on the Isla de Sacrificios. Nikolaas or Klaas was engaged in the Dutch merchant service from about 1655 until 1659, and then bought a vessel with his savings. With a band of reckless men whom he had enlisted, he became a terror to the commerce of the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Empire. Later he had several ships in his employment and obtained such notoriety that some governments were willing to employ him against their enemies.

Michel de Grammont (c. 1645 – 1686?) was a French privateer. He was born in Paris, Kingdom of France and was lost at sea in the north-east Caribbean, April 1686. His privateer career lasted from around 1670 to 1686 during which he commanded the flagship Hardi. He primarily attacked Spanish holdings in Maracaibo, Gibraltar, Trujillo, La Guaira, Puerto Cabello, Cumana and Veracruz.

Jan Willems (died 1688), also known as Janke or Yankey Willems, was a 17th-century Dutch buccaneer. Based out of Petit-Goâve, Willems participated in a number of expeditions against the Spanish during the early to mid-1680s with other well-known privateers including Michiel Andrieszoon, Thomas Paine, Laurens de Graaf, Nicholas van Hoorn and Michel de Grammont.

Michiel Andrieszoon (fl. 1683–1684) was a Dutch buccaneer who served as lieutenant to Captain Laurens de Graaf. He commanded the le Tigre, which had a 300-man crew and was armed with between 30-36 guns. He is occasionally referred to in English as Michel or Mitchell, and is often erroneously given the nickname "Bréha Michiel".

Thomas Paine (1632–1715) was a colonial American privateer who, during the late 17th century, raided several Spanish settlements. He participated in a raid with Jan Willems, looting Rio de la Hacha in 1680 as well as driving the French out of Block Island. In June of the same year, Paine joined forces with Michel de Grammont and a captain named Wright at Blanquilla Island. Together with 50 men they successfully raided the town of Cumana although it was defended by 2,000 Spanish soldiers.

William Kidd, also known as Captain William Kidd or simply Captain Kidd (c. 1655 – 23 May 1701),[1] was a Scottish sailor who was tried and executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean. Some modern historians, for example Sir Cornelius Neale Dalton, deem his piratical reputation unjust.

Thomas Tew (died September 1695), also known as the Rhode Island Pirate, was a 17th-century English privateer-turned pirate. He embarked on two major pirate voyages and met a bloody death on the second, and he pioneered the route which became known as the Pirate Round. Many other infamous pirates followed in his path, including Henry Every and William Kidd.

Attack on Veracruz

The attack on Veracruz was a 1683 raid against the port of Veracruz, in the Viceroyalty of New Spain (colonial Mexico). It was led by the Dutch pirates Laurens de Graaf, Nicholas van Hoorn and Michel de Grammont.

On 17 May 1683 the pirates arrived off the coast of Veracruz with a small fleet which included five large vessels, eight smaller vessels and around 1300 pirates. At the head of the fleet sailed two Spanish warships, previously captured by van Hoorn, designed to confuse the townsfolk into thinking the fleet was Spanish.

While the fleet was anchored offshore, de Graaf and Yankey Willems were landed some distance from the town and waited until early the following morning. While most of the town's militia were sleeping, the men disabled the town's fortifications and allowed van Hoorn and a large force of pirates, who had marched overland, to enter the city and neutralise the remaining defences. The pirates sacked the town and took many hostages including the town's governor.

On the second day of plundering, the Spanish plate fleet, composed of numerous warships, appeared on the horizon. The pirates retreated with hostages to the nearby Isla de Sacrificios and waited for ransoms. Impatient that payments did not arrive immediately, Van Hoorn ordered the execution of a dozen prisoners and had their heads sent to Veracruz as a warning. De Graaf was furious; the two argued and then fought a duel. Van Hoorn received a slash across the wrist and was returned to his ship in shackles. The wound soon turned gangrenous and Van Hoorn died shortly thereafter. Finally, giving up on further plunder, the pirates departed, slipping past the Spanish without hindrance.

Raid on Cartagena

The raid on Cartagena was the successful counter-attack against vessels sent to defend the city of Cartagena de Indias (modern-day Colombia) and the subsequent blockade of the city by Laurens de Graaf and his pirate compatriots.


In May 1683, de Graaf had successfully attacked Veracruz with the assistance of Nicholas van Hoorn. The two subsequently had a falling out and de Graaf wounded van Hoorn on the Isla de Sacrificios. Van Hoorn later died when the wound became infected. De Graaf and his fleet sailed south, arriving off the coast of modern-day Colombia in November 1683 where they held for almost a month, preparing to infiltrate Cartagena in the same way as they had Veracruz.

The Raid

To prevent an attack, governor Juan de Pando Estrada commandeered three private slave ships - the 40-gun San Francisco, the 34-gun Paz and a smaller 28-gun galliot. 800 Spanish, led by a 26-year-old commander, set out to meet the pirates on Christmas Eve but immediately struggled against De Graaf's more experienced men. 90 Spaniards were killed compared to only 20 pirates. The San Francisco was grounded and the other two ships were captured. De Graaf re-floated the San Francisco as his new flagship and renamed it the Fortune, later the Neptune. Michiel Andrieszoon took the Paz and renamed it the Mutine ("Rascal") and Yankey Willems was given command of the Francesca.’The group released a large number of Spanish prisoners on Christmas Day and sent them ashore with a note for Governor Estrada thanking him for the Christmas presents. The pirates then proceeded to blockade the town and ransom their remaining hostages.


In January 1684 an English convoy, led by the 48-gun HMS Ruby, arrived carrying a note for de Graaf from his wife offering a Spanish pardon and letter of marque. De Graaf ignored the note, not trusting the Spanish to keep their promises, and instead invited English officers to board his vessels and trade with his men. The English were then allowed to continue to Cartagena's port without incident and soon after, de Graaf and his compatriots left for Petit-Goâve.

Enter Raveneau de Lussan!


Nov 20, '20
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