When pirates scoured the Treasure Coast

“I am a free Prince and I have as much authority to make war on the whole World as he who has a hundred sail of ships at sea and an army of 100,000 men in the field.”  — Black Sam Bellamy, 1717

Nuestra Señora del Carmen y San Antonio, originally HMS Hampton Court


The Nuestra Señora del Carmen y San Antonio, originally HMS Hampton Court, is shown in this painting days after the hurricane of 1715. It grounded on the east coast of Florida and was the only one from the Spanish treasure fleet to beach relatively intact.

Eighteenth-century explorers faced pirates during voyages and thieves plundering the riches of the lost 1715 fleet along our shores


One man. One crew. One ship can take on the entire British Empire without a hiccough or regret. However grandiose Bellamy’s assertion may sound today, it was not without sincerity.

Engaging as their legends are, the true story of the pirates of the Treasure Coast was even more captivating; it is a long-lost tale of tyranny and resistance, a maritime revolt on the seas. The foundation of the British Empire was shaken by these rogues.

At its center was the Pirate Republic of Nassau, Bahamas, a den of 2,000 thieves awaiting catastrophes and ships to prey on. At their zenith they succeeded in severing Britain, France and Spain from their New World empires, cutting off trade routes, stifling the supply of slaves to the sugar plantations of America and the West Indies and disrupting the flow of business between continents.

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