Buccaneers were a kind of privateer or pirate peculiar to the Caribbean Sea during the 17th and 18th centuries. Originally the name applied to the landless hunters of wild boars and cattle in the largely uninhabited areas of Tortuga and Hispaniola. The meat they caught was smoked over a slow fire in little huts the French called boucanes to make viande boucanée – jerked meat or jerky – which they sold to the corsairs that preyed on the shipping and settlements (largely Spanish) of the Caribbean. Eventually the term was applied to the corsairs and (later) privateers themselves, also known as the Brethren of the Coast. Though corsairs, also known as freebooters, were largely lawless, privateers were nominally licensed by the authorities – first the French, later the English and Dutch – to prey on the Spanish, until their depredations became so severe they were suppressed.
Published by in History · 23 April 2021