Famous Buccaneer: Francois L'Ollonais
The Cruelest Buccaneer
When can we say that person is notorious? Maybe when someone rips somebody's heart in order to gain more information? Maybe when someone burns a prisoner alive to get more treasure? Jean-David Neu , Frenchman, was very famous, but not only for his naval actions in the Caribbean.
His nickname was Francois L'Ollonais , but also "Flail of the Spaniards" which represents frightful cruelties he did to the Spanish people. Maybe he had his own reason for that, but ferocious treatment on his prisoners like that was unseen in history of piracy. What's even worse, he was not even a pirate. Jean-David Nau was the cruelest buccaneer of all time .
He was born in France around 1635. As a young man he was sold to a master who took him to the Caribbean . From 1650 to 1660 he lived as servant on the Island of Martinique. However, L'Ollonais gained experience and confidence for all following achievements in his career. In 1660 he joined the buccaneers stationed in Saint-Domingue and showed all his talent. Robbing and killing Spaniards was his occupation from that point till the end of his life.
The governor of the Tortuga, who was also a buccaneer , gave to L'Ollonais a small ship to command. Nau was merciless from the beginning as he plundered many ships and killed everybody on those vessels. L'Ollonais was also one of the first buccaneers who organized land attacks .
In 1663 his ship suffered a shipwreck in Yucatan, Peninsula. Entire crew survived the wreck, but they were slaughtered by local Spanish soldiers. Only L'Ollonais managed to survive thanks to his shiftiness. He covered himself with dead companions, smeared with their blood and pretended to be dead. After the guards left, he dressed himself as a Spaniard and escaped in canoes with a few salves he released. Angered Nau demolished entire Spanish ship with his small crew on his way to the Tortuga. Only one man was spared to tell the governor of Havana who the responsible person was.
He found a new partner, Michel de Basco, who was a famous Caribbean seaman. Together they gathered large army with over 600 buccaneers and 8 ships . Targets were cities Maracaibo and Gibraltar in the Gulf of Venezuela. The city of Maracaibo was defended by fortification equipped with 16 cannons. But L'Ollonais tricked defense by attacking on foot from landward side. The fortification was conquered easily and that left region wide open, easy for a devastation. When the buccaneers came to Maracaibo, they realized that a lot of townsfolk escaped. They chased the fugitives throughout woods and brought them back. L'Ollonais was abominably torturing almost every citizen until they betray their friends and reveal hidden treasures . Some of them died in pain. Notwithstanding, total prize was poor and so frustrated buccaneers held the city for ransom.
After that, they landed near Gibraltar and from there they had a brutal attack with a lot of own casualties. Town quickly fell into their hands, as 500 guards were slaughtered. The Citizens met same fate as the ones in Maracaibo. They were raped, tortured, murdered , and no one was spared. Some of them died without any particular reason, just for personal satisfaction. Almost whole town was burned in L'Ollonais's rage. When the buccaneers came home they brought 260,000 pieces of eight from plunder and ransom.
In 1667 L'Ollonais's prepared another huge raid, and for that purpose he gathered over 700 buccaneers for activates in the Caribbean. They easily captured port of Puerto Cabellos and already had another town, San Pedro, in mind. On way there, L'Ollonais was ambushed by the Spaniards and nearly escaped death. He was frustrated. He took his knife and raped heart from one of unlucky survivors. Other scared survivors revealed the best way to San Pedro and that town was conquered easily.
However problem was that both towns were poor, and there was not much treasure left. Many disappointed buccaneers left, and L'Ollonais continued with the only one ship and his own crew. He taught that it was enough to conquer Nicaragua. Early in 1668, remaining ship was wrecked on their way to that town. The buccaneers decided to go to the Gulf of Darien, but finally they were caught by the Spaniards. While escaping L'Ollonais was captured by the Indians who were on the Spanish side. His life finished like he perhaps deserved. He was cut into pieces and burned . Some rumor goes that he was eaten by cannibals.