Military Review

Beach of Spain nicknamed Fleau des Espagnols

This pirate was the embodiment of evil, cruelty and bloodthirstiness. The Spanish sailors knew that if you were captured by him, there would be no mercy. Therefore, he was always fought with a special frenzy. But he won again and again. Several times the pirate was on the verge of death, but managed to escape. This is about Francois Olon, a filibuster from France, which kept the Caribbean Sea at bay.

Ideal candidate

The future pirate was born in Les Sables-d'Olonn tentatively in 1630, and his name was Jean-David No. In honor of the place of his birth, he took the pseudonym "Olone". In twenty years, Jean-David was able to become a soldier of the West Indies Company. Once turned out on Espanyol in the company of French buccaneers. And, of course, he himself soon began to harness robberies in San Domingo.

In the middle of the seventeenth century there was a long and bitter war between France and Spain. And Olone understood that the fighting was his vocation. He stood out among the "colleagues" very much, so soon Francois was noticed by the governor of Tortuga himself. The leader of the pirate movement realized that he would make a good captain from the Frenchman who would generate income. Olone allocated a ship and crew. This chance the pirate took advantage of the full program.

The captain’s harshness and composure inspired superstitious fear not only to his opponents, but also to his own team. Everyone knew: Olona will not stand on ceremony, immediately send to the next world. With particular hatred, the Frenchman burned toward the Spaniards. He did not spare anyone and forbade his team to take prisoners. The Spanish sailors knew that the meeting with Olon would end in a painful death, so they fought to the last. It was better to die in battle than from the tormenting and long torture of a pirate captain.

In those days, the viceroy of New Spain was Juan de Leyva and de la Cerdà. This man was very sensitive about security issues. Therefore, during his reign, the Spanish merchant ships never went to sea alone. They were always accompanied by warships. This initiative did not appear from scratch. The king of New Spain thus tried to cope with the pirates. After all, once a wounded soldier, deprived of fingers and eyes, was brought to him. This unfortunate man was spared with one goal - he had to give the king a letter. It turned out, the author of the message is a certain Francois Olone. Juan de Leyva and de la Cerda stole the letter and read: “I will kill the Spaniards like dogs. One day I will get to you and cut off your head. ”

Take no prisoners!

Why Olona so fiercely hated the Spaniards, it is not clear. But the fact remains that he did not spare them, despite even some financial obligations. After all, the captain of a pirate ship was supposed to give part of the spoils to his “superiors”. And the captives played the role of a commodity that was not difficult to sell. More precisely, to demand for them a solid ransom. But Olone was the only corsair at that time who basically killed everyone. And the captured sailors, he, most often, beheaded himself. The living left only one, so he told about the terrible French pirate.

Beach of Spain nicknamed Fleau des Espagnols

But the first task for Olona was almost the last for him. In the early sixties, he ventured to seize the rich city of Campeche, which was located in Yucatan. This town is very well guarded. True, the pirate is not particularly worried. He was confident of his own victory. But the weather made its adjustments. At first, the pirate ship landed in a powerful storm, but in completing the troubles, it was unable to dodge meeting with the reefs. The captain and the team remained only one way out - to land on the shore and take the fight. Numerical superiority was on the side of the Spaniards. A couple of hundred pirates led by Olon took, as it seemed, their last battle. Of the French, no one survived ... except for Francois. When it became clear that he would not be able to win, he was smeared with the blood of others from head to toe and hid among numerous corpses. In honor of the landmark victory over the pirates, the governor Campeche ordered to hang the bodies of the dead French along the coast. But since there were too many corpses, the hanging process took several days. All this time, Olona had to pretend to be dead. But still, after a couple of days, he managed to escape. No, he could not leave just like that. He wanted to brutally revenge his offenders. Therefore, Olone managed to incite slaves to escape, then arson a warehouse with weapons and managed to hijack a fishing boat. Along with him, several slaves set off for Tortuga. Of what happened at the walls of Campeche, the inhabitants of the island, of course, knew. Therefore, no one expected to see Olona alive. Thanks to this incredible rescue, the Frenchman gained a reputation as a lucky captain.

In general, in the first four years of the pirate career, Olona lost three ships and almost the entire crew. Therefore, in the future, the Frenchman chose small ships, and the number of his crew did not exceed three dozen people. And it worked.

In 1663, Olon suddenly “emerged” from Cuba. On the Ester River, he and the team reached the village of La Villa de los Cayos. The inhabitants of this city were the main suppliers of leather, tobacco and fish for the capital of the island. Olone ordered to seize the boats with the cargo, and to kill the unfortunate sailors on the spot. When the governor of Havana found out about the atrocities of the French, he sent a warship to liberate the city. He ordered the soldiers to kill all the pirates, leaving only their leader alive. For him, preparing a special penalty.

But to catch Olona off guard failed. The French attacked the ship as soon as it entered the river. The Spaniards, who did not expect the attack, hid in the hold. It was possible to get out of it only through the hatch. Having driven themselves into a trap, the Spaniards did not yet suspect that they were dealing with "the very Frenchman." Olone, standing at the hatch, ordered the soldiers to leave the hold one by one. In case of failure, the pirate threatened to blow up the ship. There was no choice. One by one they got out of the hold, where they were immediately beheaded personally by Francois Olone. Only one was left alive. He was handed a letter to the governor of Havana and released. Realizing that the second time it is not so easy to win, Olona ordered his people to leave the island. But previously the French set fire to the selva.

Capture Maracaibo

Because of their extraordinary cruelty, the French called their compatriot "The Beach of the Spaniards" (Fleau des Espagnols). The Spaniards themselves called Olon sangriento - bloody. And after the pirate made a raid on Maracaibo and Gibraltar, his name began to frighten children, representing Francois as the source of hell on earth. It was such a reputation and wanted to acquire a Frenchman.

The attack on Maracaibo and Gibraltar became the peak of Olon’s pirate career. The first on his list was the city of Maracaibo. A pirate with his people set up camp on the shores of the lake of the same name. After that, he applied his favorite practice - he captured all the ships going into or out of the city. No prisoners were taken, people were tortured, trying to extract valuable information from them. For example, the number of the garrison. One prisoner could not resist telling that the city was virtually unguarded. Olone decided not to waste time and ordered to attack Maracaibo.

And the attack did not come from water, but from land. Olone landed on the shore and, after passing through the jungle, attacked the city at night. Fortunately, most of the population of the city had already managed to move to Gibraltar, located nearby. Mining was not as big as the Frenchman expected. Therefore, he decided not to dwell on one Maracaibo. In his head, a plan to seize Gibraltar ripened.

The Spaniards also understood that Francois Olone would soon appear under the walls of the city. Therefore, we began to prepare for defense. The townspeople, along with the soldiers, erected a new stockade and built redoubts. The entire population of the city understood that in case of defeat there would be no mercy.
The inhabitants of Gibraltar greeted the French with grapeshot. Then they opened fire with muskets. In the very first attack about fifty pirates fell down. Olone ordered to retreat. And here the Spaniards themselves presented an unexpected gift of fate. They were so happy with their first success that they rushed to kill the pirates. Francois gave the command to attack. In the fight head-on were stronger than the French. About ten Spanish soldiers were in the swamp. Francois personally collected pistols from the battlefield and began shooting.

Surprisingly, the pirate did not cut the inhabitants of the captured Gibraltar. Having collected a ransom from them, he returned to the walls of Maracaibo. Having collected a tribute from inhabitants, the French left.

Pirate vs Nicaragua

Olone returned to the halo of glory and greatness. Success in Maracaibo and Gibraltar turned his head. And the Frenchman decided not to be penny wise, choosing the next victim. This time it was Nicaragua. To devastate such a large territory, Francois “discharged” 6 ships and a squadron above 7 of hundreds of professional pirates.

But from the very beginning everything went according to an unplanned scenario. Olone is fatally unlucky. First, the ships fell into calm. Because of this, they drifted to the Gulf of Honduras. In order not to sit idle while waiting for the wind, the pirates began robbing small villages on the coast inhabited by turtles. Then they managed to seize the Spanish ship in Puerto Cabello. From this town Olona with his people went to San Pedro. The Spaniards tried their best to hinder the advancement of the French. Dutchman Alexander Ekskvemelin, author of the book "Pirates of America", described this march as follows: "If Olona and the poor creature did not begin to torture, they didn’t immediately answer the questions, then this pirate was not worth cutting the victim into pieces, and finally lick the blood from the saber . He was ready to kill any Spaniard. If any of them, fearing torture or failing to endure it, agreed to send the pirates to their compatriots, but on the basis of curvature they did not find the way immediately, he was subjected to hellish torture and beaten to death. ”

And yet Olone managed to achieve the goal. After a fierce battle, San Pedro was captured. Here are just mining turned out to be extremely scarce. Disappointed pirates began to brawl. Francois with great difficulty managed to negotiate with his team. He had to go all-in for a promise of rich booty soon. The pirates believed. But luck turned away from the captain. With great difficulty, having lost most of the crew, Olone managed to capture a powerful Spanish ship. But there was no gold and silver, only iron, paper and blue dye (indigo). This time to avoid rebellion failed.

A part of the team left Olona and decided to return to Tortuga. With the remaining pirates, the Frenchman headed for the coast of Nicaragua. But the ship hit the reef, had to land on the beach. After long attempts to remove the ship, Olon ordered to disassemble it and build a barcalon. It took several months. After that, part of the pirates remained on the coast, while the rest, together with Olona, ​​went to the mouth of the San Juan River. The Frenchman wanted to get hold of the local population canoe. But this attempt failed. Spanish soldiers from the fort of San Carlos de Austria, in alliance with the Indians, defeated the pirates. Olone himself miraculously survived. The desire for revenge forced the Frenchman to make a fatal mistake. He decided not to return to his (the reputation of the lucky captain and suffered so much), and try to seize some ship from the Spaniards. But this venture ended in complete failure. In Darien Bay, the pirates stumbled upon the Indian cannibals. In their cruelty, savages could give odds even to Olona. Eksveme¬¬lin described the last battle of the Frenchman: "They tore Olone in the heart and roasted his remains."

In that fight, only a few pirates survived. They also told about the Spaniards' scourge's death.

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  1. XII Legion
    XII Legion 25 September 2017 15: 42
    Eternal theme - pirates
    Romance and the noise of sails
    Blood and doubloons
    Rum and storm

    Good article, thanks to the author
    1. antivirus
      antivirus 25 September 2017 18: 27
      Genghisides were not the most cruel
    2. Proxima
      Proxima 25 September 2017 18: 52
      Quote: XII legion
      Eternal theme - pirates
      Romance and the noise of sails
      Good article, thanks to the author

      In childhood, like probably many other forum users, he excitedly read pirated novels. And I always found myself thinking that I am more impressed by filibusters than by those whom they rob. It seems to be sea robbers, with whom we must act accordingly! But no. At times they showed nobleness and decency more than law-abiding sovereign people (remember the "Odyssey of Captain Blood"). They had their own code (this is mandatory, otherwise in such extreme conditions a militarized group of sailors simply could not survive). The most interesting thing is that RACISM IS ABSOLUTELY ABSOLUTELY AT THEM! For the 17th century, this is amazing. A person was evaluated for his merits, and not for a pedigree and skin color. Today's society would be nice to learn some things from the "knights of the seas."
      1. Weyland
        Weyland 25 September 2017 19: 39
        Quote: Proxima
        At times they showed nobleness and decency more than law-abiding sovereign people (remember the "Odyssey of Captain Blood").

        Yeah. Nobleness showed only english pirates and, as you might guess. only in english books Authors laughing ChSH, Scot Stevenson draws English pirates by no means so white and fluffy!
        1. Proxima
          Proxima 25 September 2017 22: 41
          Quote: Weyland

          Yeah. Nobleness showed only english pirates and, as you might guess. only in english books Authors laughing!

          Yes, where does the book of English authors? For example, about the absence of racism among pirates, all professional historians speak with one voice. Take an interest in leisure.
      2. Dart2027
        Dart2027 25 September 2017 19: 51
        Quote: Proxima
        Today's society would be nice to learn some things from the "knights of the seas."

        Thank God that you have never personally met these "knights."
        1. Proxima
          Proxima 25 September 2017 22: 32
          Quote: Dart2027
          Thank God that you have never personally met these "knights."

          No need to troll cheaply, dear! Believe me, if I met with a "legitimate" ship - I would have not much more chances. On the contrary, the pirates willingly took in their command of simple sailors. But, if two "official" ships collided, even if these countries were not at war (Spain-England, England - France, Spain - Holland, Holland - Portugal and so on), then the best benefit for the unfortunate sailor is eternal painful hard labor.
          The 17th century in the Caribbean is a very cruel time.
          1. Catherine II
            Catherine II 26 September 2017 19: 41
            Quote: Proxima
            But, if two "official" ships collided, even if these countries were not at war

            Even Captain Blood’s Odyssey had a similar episode. The Pride of Devon attacked (according to their version it itself suffered) from 2 of the Spanish galions and along the way they drowned one having removed the gold from him ... That's such a thing .. And both of them were privateers. Just met. Despite the peace between Madrid and London. As the author writes, this is a numerous case. And the proportion of sailors-death by the sea on the wreckage, in battle, in captivity - is diverse. Especially no one spared anyone.
  2. parusnik
    parusnik 25 September 2017 16: 02
    D. Defoe has a good book "History of Pirates" ... Everything is there and Olone ...
    1. Razvedka_Boem
      Razvedka_Boem 25 September 2017 17: 25
      Like Defoe worked in intelligence? ..
      Perhaps that is why he was so good at telling everything.
  3. Cartalon
    Cartalon 25 September 2017 20: 44
    But is not Exequmeline the only source of all these stories? Is there any documentary evidence?
    1. Curious
      Curious 25 September 2017 22: 11
      And what does Exvemelin not suit you for? A direct participant in the events, a doctor in the service of the French West Indies company, who sailed on one of its ships to the Antilles in 1666 and in the seven years spent there fell into the coolest alterations - from slavery, in which he found himself three times, to participate in one from the campaigns of the famous "pirate king" Henry Morgan. By nationality, apparently, a Dutchman - the book is written in this language.
      In the twenties and thirties of the last century, the hypothesis was put forward in Holland itself that the author of "Pirates" is the Dutch traveler and writer Hendrik Smeeks (1643-1721), who was in the New World from 1666 to 1673, i.e. at the very time that Exwemelin writes about. In addition, Smeeks was very closely associated with the company of Jan ten Horne and his son Nikolaas, in which in 1708 he published his book telling about life on a certain island located in the American tropics (according to Dutch researchers, one of the chapters of this book is about the adventures of a European who fell on an island inhabited by natives and turned out to be divorced from civilization - was used by Daniel Defoe as the basis for the creation of the famous "Robinson Crusoe"). So, according to the Dutch, the pseudonym “Exemelin” can be a simple shuffle of the letters of the name and surname “Enrique (a sanitized version of the name“ Hendrick “) Smeeks”. Who knows? This hypothesis, like the others, has its pros and cons ... But this does not change the matter.
      There are collections of documents, R. Hakluyta, J.F. Jameson, P. Edwards, memoirs of Jan Hugen Van Lins-hotena and others.
      From the epistolary sources of interest are the works of A.O. Excvemelin, U. Raleigh, F. Drake and F. Argenholz, pamphlet U. Raleigh, treatise of R. Hawkins - acts, instructions, letters of marque, interstate agreements, reports of ambassadors and governors of the colonies, reports of famous pirates, etc. These sources also provide considerable historical and geographical interest. Unfortunately, most of the documents and sources are published in English and not translated into Russian.
      So there are a lot of materials, there would be a desire to master.
      1. Cartalon
        Cartalon 26 September 2017 09: 39
        Em Reilly, Drake, Hawkins were, as it were, 100 years earlier in those waters, robbed, Arkhengolts is still not the source.
      2. Curious
        Curious 26 September 2017 12: 40
        If you asked specifically about Olon, then perhaps Exmemeline is really the only one.
        In any case, the book "The General History of Robberies and Murders, Perpetrated by the Most Famous Pirates, as well as Their Morals, Their Order, Their Leaders from the Beginning of Piracy and Their Appearance on Providence Island Until Now", written either by LT Defoe, or by Mist, Olone does not contain a biography.
        1. Cartalon
          Cartalon 26 September 2017 15: 26
          Olone, Morgan and others, as it seems unbelievable, it all looks like a bunch of ragged people rob the fortified cities, and the Spaniards really do not resist.
          There must be a Spanish point of view.
  4. Mikhail3
    Mikhail3 25 September 2017 21: 02
    He was very distinguished among the "colleagues", so soon the governor of Tortuga himself noticed Francois. The leader of the pirate movement realized that the Frenchman would make a good captain who would generate income.
    Than? What distinguished another scoundrel trampling the street (as far as I remember - the only one) of Tortuga? What, where did the other bastards walk along the street, dug this ditch? Or climbed palm trees? The governor could allocate a ship only to someone who would bring him, the governor, an ORDER. In any other case - how can you understand that this rogue is worth something?
    Moreover, this particular one did not cost anything. I did not know how to control any noticeable forces. Lost ship after ship. Nevertheless, he again received at his disposal people and equipment. Why?! Alas, the author has no answer. Instead of thoughts, the author relishes the blood. Ugh ...
  5. south of heaven
    south of heaven 25 September 2017 21: 40
    And again he "chose small vessels" - in the hospital he probably chose
  6. Catherine II
    Catherine II 26 September 2017 19: 59
    Having enlisted as a soldier in the ranks of the French royal army in 1650, the twenty-year-old Jean-David from Olone, together with his regiment, was sent by Cardinal Mazari-ni to the war with Spain in the West Indies. After serving his term, he, along with other Frenchmen, settled on the island of Hispaniola (Haiti) and engaged in hunting - bukanery.

    The Spaniards, who owned Hispaniola, often raided the Buccaneers, trying to expel them from the island. During one of these raids, Jean-David killed several soldiers and disappeared into the forest. Having lost his property, the hunter decided to cross to the neighboring island of Tortuga and join the pirates to take revenge on the Spaniards. For the courage and cruelty shown in boarding fights, Jean-David in 1662 received from France the French governor Tortuga a privateer patent and his own ship to attack Spanish ships.
    After several battles, the embittered pirate vowed not to leave alive a single enemy in whom there was even a drop of Castilian blood.
    With the capture of Gibraltar, their total production in this campaign amounted to 250 thousand reais in cash and to 100 thousand reais of looted property.
    None of the pirates has brought so much gold to Tortuga
    At San Pedro he, having built prisoners, he cut a saber to one of the Spaniards, tore out his heart and, showing it to other prisoners, said: “If you do not show me the way, I will do the same with you.”
    His death was terrible as the life-islands were inhabited by cannibal Indians who did not know iron and did not see Europeans.
    Pirates were worried only when several of their comrades disappeared into the forest. Having stepped into a large clearing, they saw their eaten remains near an extinct fire. (Directly an episode from Robinson)
    The survivor told how his leader was cut into pieces (with others) and fried.
  7. tiaman.76
    tiaman.76 28 September 2017 22: 01
    such a thug and death
  8. Molot1979
    Molot1979 2 October 2017 08: 28
    There is no mystery about Olone's attitude towards the Spanish soldiers. The Spaniards themselves are to blame. Initially, they considered the French Buccaneers as prisoners of war, that is, even firstly, in principle, they were captured, and secondly, they were released for an appropriate ransom. But then one of the Castilian chiefs decided that the French were completely heretics and were forbidden to take them prisoner. Instead, they simply began to kill. The same thing happened with the inhabitants of French villages on the islands of the Caribbean. In response, the French began to pay the Spaniards with the same coin, including Olone.