I have always felt fascination for pirates stories and legends, how they pillaged entire villages, how they arrived at night, their boats, their clothes and flags. Just fascinating 🙂 And guess what, I am finally in the right place where pirates’ stories are abundant: Mexico.
The Caribbean side of this magnificent countries holds gems of history and intriguing wars and conquests. In fact, the Bacalar Lagoon was the main scenario for pirates, buccaneers and privateers deeds.
As peaceful and paradisiac as it looks, however, Bacalar has witnessed ferocious wars and bloody persecutions.
In Bacalar there is a fort overlooking the beautiful lagoon. The San Felipe Fort.
This fort was built in the 17th century by an Italian architect, Giovanni Podio, using volcanic and marine stones. Before then, Bacalar had been constantly raided by French, Dutch and English pirates. These pirates, privateers and buccaneers kept disrupting Spanish trade in the Caribbean sea aside from constantly terrorising towns. So tired of all this, the governor decided to build a defensive fort that would give them an edge against attacks.
The fort served its purpose but eventually succumbed to the natural geography of the lagoon. Filled with straits and shallow water swamps, the lagoon laid perfect conditions for pirates, who were perfectly able to navigate as silent as ninjas at night until the the town fort was no longer able to prevent them. In the mid-17th century a certain pirate called Abraham, severely raided Bacalar. Not content with just sacking the town, he also took the town’s women. Apparently this wasn’t enough and in 1652 he attacked the town again, leaving it in such a state of devastation that only a few inhabitants stayed in it. Bacalar did not manage to recover following the decimation of its population, the spread of diseases and the following attacks by more pirates and rebel Indians.