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The Buccaneers were pirates who attacked French and Spanish shipping in the West Indies during the 17th and 18th centuries. The term is now used generally as a synonym for pirate. The name derives from the French word boucan, a frame used by the pirates to cure meat.

About 1630, some Frenchmen, who were driven away from the island of Saint Kitts, went to Hispaniola and then nearby Tortuga (now part of Haiti). They lived by hunting wild cattle and selling the hides to Dutch traders. The Spaniards tried to drive them out, but the Buccaneers were joined by many other French and English and finally became so strong that they attacked Spanish ships and even sailed to the continent of North America and took towns.

The Buccaneers were invited by the British to base ships at Port Royal in Jamaica. Buccaneers were commissioned by the British to attack the French and Spanish shipping and colonies, making Port Royal the most prosperous city in the West Indies.

Among the leaders of the Buccaneers was a Frenchman named Montbar, who destroyed so many Spanish ships and killed so many Spaniards that he was called "the Exterminator." Another noted leader was a Welshman named Henry Morgan, who formed a fleet of ships and showed so much military skill that he took strong fortresses and towns, winning an immense amount of fortune from the Spanish. Morgan became rich and went back to England, where he was made knight by Charles II.

The Buccaneers were finally put down by the French and English governments.

See Also

Buccaneer is also the name of a low level strike aircraft used by the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force for 35 years up until 1993.

Also, there is a National Football League team called the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.