Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho…and really bad eggs

Posted: May 16, 2008 in Photos, Spain, Tenerife, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A lone fort, still ready for pirate attackWe’ve just added a brief history of Pirates on Tenerife page to our Real Tenerife Island Drives website. It shouldn’t have been, but it was surprising to discover that some ‘big names’ in pirate folklore were frequent visitors to these shores. I say that it shouldn’t have come as a surprise because at the time the New World was attracting blackguards and scurvy sea dogs, the Canary Islands were the last stop before merchant ships headed across the Atlantic, subsequently returning ships put into port here, so there were treasures galore waiting to be plundered. It makes sense that some ‘A’ list pirates would turn up.

There were some great stories about these miscreants; I particularly like the one about Francis Drake’s nephew, John Lovell who was seriously lacking in tact and diplomacy, or Amaro Pagaro, who sounds as though he came from the Johnny Depp school of piracy and was mischievous right to the end.

The other thing that occurred to me was that most of these guys didn’t simply appear on the horizon, cannons blazing. They seemed to have business partners on the islands, so the line between piracy and business dealings seems to have been a rather murky one. Take the case of Sir Francis Drake. To the British, a naval hero; to the Spanish, a wheeling and dealing privateer.

But I suppose it’s that grey area between good guys and bad which makes pirates so fascinating, even if many of us do view them through romantically nostalgic rose tinted spectacles.


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