The Pirates of Nicaragua

Throughout the history of Nicaragua, pirates have played an extremely unsavory role. Most of Nicaragua’s towns and villages were savagely plundered by the pirates leaving Nicaraguans to rebuild their towns and lives, many times over. Even though the role of the pirates in Nicaragua was negative during its day, the folklore left behind many legends, stories and myths that are still told today.

Because of the negativity surrounding pirates, people did not realize how many famous and legendary pirates made their way to shores of Nicaragua. The Corn Islands for one were extremely popular in the days of pirates who navigated their ships through the entire Caribbean. Many believe that many of those pirate ships and their precious cargoes lie buried under the bottom of the clear waters surrounding these islands.

Granada was an unfortunate casualty of the pirate incursions as the city fell victim to pirates such as Jean David, the famous Jamaican pirate, who attacked on 29 June 1665. Another legendary pirate that plundered Granada in 1670 was Gallardillo- a pirate from Indian descent that took on the Spanish forces in spectacular fashion.

There are other examples that follow: On 8 April 1685, William Dampier arrived in Granada and burnt down the entire city. Granada also suffered at the hands of John Morris, David Marteen, Captain Jackman, Captain Freeman and Sir Henry Morgan. In a joint mission, bands of marauding pirates raided Honduras and then Granada in the 1660’s.

One famous sailor, Abraham Blauvelt lived in Bluefields in Nicaragua, during the 1630’s and was a legal commander and sailor until the Dutch decided that they no longer needed his services. Fights amongst the crew over their loot started as soon as they reached Rhode Island, and it was believed for many years Abraham Blauvelt and his crew had tarnished Rhode Island forever. Blauvelt returned to Nicaragua to live with the Indians on the border of Nicaragua and Honduras.

With so many famous pirates making the rounds in Nicaragua, mainly to plunder the villages and settlements, one has to wonder how many lost their vessels in battles against the English and Spanish. And are some of those vessels still be filled with precious jewels, gold and artifacts? Maybe we will never know but one thing is for certain: together with violence and destruction, the pirates brought mystery and wonder.