Thursday, April 5, 2012

Where did the term buccaneer come from?

Normally when we hear the word buccaneer, we think of swashbuckling adventurers or even lawless pirates. But what does the term really mean and where did it come from? 

A buccaneer was any of the piratical adventurers who raided Spanish colonies and ships along the American  coast and the Caribbean in the second half of the 17th century.

(Pirates who operated in the Mediterranean were called corsairs) 

But the term buccaneer did not mean pirates at all. It originated as a term applied to hunters in the woods and valleys of Hispaniola, which is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic. These men were mostly French and they lived off cows and pigs, both of which had been introduced by the first Spanish settlers. They learned how to cook and dry strips of meat over open stoves or barbecues from the local Arawak Indians.  The French word for this process of cooking is boucaner which means to smoke, dry or cure. 

During the 1600s, these hunters moved from the inner regions of the island to the north coast and particularly to the offshore island of Tortuga, which became a base for piratical attacks on passing merchant ships and Spanish galleons heading home with treasure from Mexico and Peru. They were henceforth called buccaneers!



  1. Thurs Apr 5th,
    "Morning, MaryLu."
    How interesting to learn 'yet again', something new. I had absolutely NO idea what the term buccaneer meant, or, where it came from ! This is really neat when facts are 'brought to life' from their meanings and origins.
    Thanks again for sharing, MaryLu.
    Take care, and, God Bless,
    In Him, Brenda Hurley

  2. Wow, MaryLu. This is fun. I love learning all of these little snippets of information. Thanks for posting. :)

  3. Very interesting! Hey, is that photo from a new movie that is coming out? It looks familiar.

  4. Very interesting! I had actually found that bit of information a couple days ago when I was doing some research and I thought it was very interesting. I definantly would have never guessed that that was where the word "buccaneer" came from. Thaks for sharing! :)

  5. Hey there Marylu! Cool! I never woulda guessed....

    Just wondering, have you picked the picture to represent your new hero yet? I'm super curious to figure out which hottie ya finally decided on! :)

  6. Thanks for dropping by, Ladies! Glad to fill your minds with history!
    Yes, the picture is from the new Pirate cartoon movie. Cute, eh?

    The winner of my hero hottie contest will be announced on Saturday, Emily! So stay tuned. :-)