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1680s in piracy

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This timeline of the history of piracy in the 1680s is a chronological list of key events involving pirates between 1680 and 1689.




  • Bartholomew Sharp embarks on the "Pacific Adventure", a raid on Spanish settlements on the South American west coast. One crewman, Basil Ringrose, writes an account of the expedition, later published by Alexandre Exquemelin.
  • James Misson, Signor Caraccioli and Thomas Tew discover Libertatia on the island of Madagascar.
  • John Williams captures James Kelley on a slave ship off the coast of West Africa, making him a crewmember.
  • April 15 – Landing on the Isthmus of Darien, John Coxen leads 331 buccaneers, including Bartholomew Sharp, William Dampier, Lionel Wafer, Basil Ringrose, William Dick and John Cox, divided into five groups consisting of Bartholomew Sharp, Richard Sawkins, Peter Harris, John Coxon and Edmund Cook. Marching towards the Spanish stronghold of Santa Maria the buccaneers first met with the Mosquito Indians who had reported it contained a large amount of gold dust. The Spaniards, however, had been warned of their approach and had sent the gold to Panama so by the time the buccaneers reached Santa Maria most of the party were in favour of stealing out on the Pacific Ocean in the Mosquito's canoes. While Coxon and his party were against the proposal, he was persuaded to stay and keep command of the expedition.
  • April 19–20 – Travelling in canoes into the Bay of Panama, the buccaneers capture a Spanish vessel of 30 tons as well as a small Spanish barque taken the following day.
  • April 23 – Arriving at Panama the buccaneers encountered three Spanish warships, one of which was commanded by Captain Peralta who had previously fought against Sir Henry Morgan's raid on Panama a decade before, engaging in a day-long battle which ended after two of the Spanish ships were boarded thus forcing the remaining ship to retreat. There were 48 casualties consisting of 18 killed and 30 wounded, including Peter Harris who died ten days later.
  • May – French buccaneer Michel de Grammont is joined by English privateers William Wright and Thomas Paine at Isla Blanca in a raid on Caracas successfully capturing the Caracas seaport of La Guayra.
  • July – After taking the Caracas seaport of La Guayra the previous month, the buccaneers (under Michel de Granmont) are driven from Caracas by Spanish defenders.
  • Dutch pirate Herbert Greaves is hanged near Walmer Castle.




  • Bartholomew Sharp's Pacific Adventure expedition returns by Cape Horn to Barbados before being arrested after their arrival in Port Royal.
  • Pierre le Picard is reported by Governor of Jamaica Sir Henry Morgan raiding English and Spanish shipping off the coast of Jamaica. This is the last that is heard of Picard who disappears soon after until his return from a French South Sea buccaneering expedition in 1685.
  • May – Thomas Lynch returns as Governor of Jamaica.
  • July – Robert Clarke is removed as Governor of the Bahamas as a result of illegally issuing letters of marque against Spanish shipping in Florida. His replacement Robert Lilburne however is unable to halt the piracy in the Bahamas Is.
  • October – Jean Hamlin captures between sixteen and eighteen ships near Jamaica before being forced to leave the area by a frigate sent by Governor Thomas Lynch that fails to capture Hamlin.
  • December – Another frigate, the Guernsey, is sent by Governor Thomas Lynch to capture Jean Hamlin however Hamlin manages to elude being captured once again. With ex-buccaneers such as John Coxen closing in, Hamlin fled from his base in Ile-la-vache sailing towards St. Thomas where he was given sanctuary by governor Adolph Esmit.






  • One of the last great buccaneering raids is attempted in the unsuccessful attack on the city of Panama by a force of about 3,000 men led by Edward Davis, John Eaton, Charles Swan, and several others. With the outbreak of the War of the Grand Alliance in 1689 these men, as well most of the remaining buccaneers, would become legitimate privateers as the era of buccaneering came to a close.
  • Charles Swan sails off the coast of Sinaloa and into the Gulf of California during the winter of 1685–1686 while unsuccessfully awaiting the Spanish Manila galleon. A full account of this voyage is later published in William Dampier's A New Voyage Round the World in 1697.
  • May – A fleet of French buccaneers, including Pierre le Picard, crosses the Isthmus of Panama on their way to the South Sea and loot Guayaquil. Later that year Picard leaves the South Sea expedition and returns to the Caribbean. On his way to the Caribbean he attacks and loots the city of Segovia.
  • July 6 – Laurens de Graff and Michel de Grammont storm ashore at Campeche with a force of 750 men and begin looting the city for two months while the Armada de Barlovento searches for the buccaneers base on the island of Roatán off the coast of Honduras.
  • September – The Armada de Barlovento return to Campeche, with a loss of three ships from a hurricane, the remaining fleet encountered Graff's fleet off Cabo Catoche, on the way back from the raid on Campeche. The armada succeeded in sinking one ship and capturing another. While pursuing Graff's already heavily damaged flagship the explosion of a cannon on one of the armada vessels, killing three gunners, allowed Lorencillo to escape. Held responsible for abandoning the chase several Armada officers were suspended from duty. Two days following the battle Armada commander Ochoa died at sea from a sudden illness. However the Armada had captured 120 sailors, many of whom later defected from La Salle's colony, agreeing to reveal La Salle's plans for a French settlement on a river known as the "Michipipi" in exchange for escaping the death penalty. This information would later lead the Armada de Barlovento to launch a series of expeditions along the Gulf of Mexico to locate this colony.


  • Michel de Grammont, sailing from Yucatán along with the rest of the buccaneer fleet, becomes separated from the other ships while trying to evade a storm, and is never seen again.
  • The Armada de Barlovento embarks on a three-year expedition to locate and destroy La Salle's colony which French privateers had been using as a base to raid Spanish shipping in the Gulf of Mexico. The expedition would see the rebirth of exploration of the Gulf of Mexico and the southeastern coast of North America which would provide valuable information to future European maps of the region.
  • Spanish raiders based in St. Augustine, Florida attack nearby settlements in Charleston, South Carolina as a response to the rising pirate haven in the Carolinas. A counterattack, planned by the French, is prohibited by recently arriving Governor James Colleton.
  • March 31 – Captain Swan sails from Cabo Corrientes on an expedition to the Orient. William Dampier later joins Swan's crew on the Cygnet.
  • October 26 – The British frigate HMS Bauden is attacked by a French pirate vessel Le Trompeuse.






  • Jean Bart and Claude de Forbin are captured by the Royal Navy and taken to Plymouth. Three days later they escape to Brittany in a rowing boat manned by 20 other sailors.
  • April–March — Thomas Pound, formerly a mariner under Governor Edmund Andros, begins raiding coastal shipping soon after the Jacobite takeover of the New England colony of Pemaquid.
  • July 8 — Thomas Pound, with six men including Thomas Hawkins, Thomas Johnson, Eleazer Buck, John Siccaden, Richard Griffen and Benjamin Blake sailed a sloop to Lovell's Island where they were joined by sailors Daniel Lander, Samuel Watts, William Warren, William Dun and Henry Dripper.
  • August 16 — Thomas Pound captures the sloop Godspeed near Race Point. Exchanging their smaller ship for the Godspeed the Captain, John Smart, is sent with a message from Pound to Boston authorities that he knew where the English naval sloop was located. However, if they continued to pursue Pound "she should find hot work for they would die every man before they would be taken."
  • The Armada de Barlovento locates La Salle's colony during an overland march, led by commander Alonso De León, from Coahuila discovered La Salle's Fort St. Louis near the head of Lavaca Bay (present day Victoria County, Texas).
  • Laurens de Graff accepts a commission in the French navy as a Major by Governor Pierre-Paul Tarin de Cussy on the outbreak of the War of the Grand Alliance.
  • Petit-Goâve Governor de Cussy commands a buccaneering expedition against the Spanish settlement of Santiago de los Caballeros, Honduras.
  • October — Petit-Goâve Governor de Cussy leads a buccaneering expedition against Montego Bay in Jamaica.
  • December — Petit-Goâve Governor de Cussy again raids Montego Bay in Jamaica.






  1. ^ Thornton, Stuart (June 1, 2011). "Pirate in the Caribbean". National Geographic Society. Retrieved June 30, 2016.
  2. ^ Calendar of State Papers, Colonial: America and the West Indies, 1574–1739, CD-ROM, London: Routledge, 2000. (pg. 519-520)