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Buccaneers > French Buccaneers > Raveneau de Lussan

Raveneau de Lussan


Raveneau de Lussan (1663 - ??) was a famous French buccaneer during the late 17th century of the Buccaneering Era. He was born to a noble family that was unusually not wealthy. He joined the military at fourteen years old and in 1679 he set out to the West Indies to join the rest of the buccaneers. Being French he naturally gravitated to the colony of Saint-Domingue where he joined up with the buccaneers at the height of the era.

Raveneau de Lussan - Pirates of the Spanish Main (1888)

Raveneau de Lussan - Pirates of the Spanish Main (1888)

Raveneau was initially unsuccessful but soon joined up with Laurens de Graaf. He first cruised with de Graaf from Petit-Goave on 22 November 1684. He would only partner with de Graaf for a few months before separating to buccaneer by himself. His first major exploits as an independent buccaneer were to capture the city of El Realejo in 1685 and later the island of Grenada the following year in 1686 along with some English pirates. The buccaneers were not satisfied with the loot ransacked from Grenada so they burned the city down.

Mexico Expedition

Following this Raveneau would leave his English buccaneers for a little while before rejoining them to sack the Spanish city of Guayaquil. The buccaneers raid turned out to be immensely profitable. Next they captured the city of Tehuantepec and raided Mexico as far north as Acapulco. They next marched back to Mapala which was a port north of El Realejo and planned to return back to the West Indies, plundering Spanish settlements along the way.

From Mapala the buccaneers agreed to march to the settlement of Nueva Segovia which was located on the Coco River and would help them easily reach the Atlantic again. Lussan organized the buccaneers into four companies of seventy men each and they all swore allegiance to each other. On 2 January of 1688 the buccaneers burnt their boats and prayed together before marching overland, facing fierce Spanish resistance the entire way. The expedition took around ten days and they fought many Spanish soldiers along the way. Eventually the buccaneers reached Nueva Segovia and sacked it.

Following this the buccaneers proceeded to continue on to the coast. However, there was still Spanish resistance along the way and one such encounter saw many Spanish in the rocks above the buccaneers who were pinning them down with musket fire. Under Lussan's leadership the buccaneers agreed to leave eighty men behind to guard the wounded while the rest approach the Spanish from the rear where they were not expecting it. The plan was accepted after much deliberation and was aided by a nice thick fog. Eventually the buccaneers forced the retreat of the Spanish.

Following this victory the buccaneers chanted a Te Deum and ventured across Yara. Finally they reached the Cape Gracias a Dios in 9 February. Lussan and his crew then were able to get aboard an English logger ship on 14 February and made their way back to the colony of Saint-Domingue. They finally reached Petit-Goave on 6 April after a successful expedition of over 1,000 miles and nearly constant conflict with Spanish defenders.

Later Life

Later in his life de Lussan would publish a great primary source document regarding his voyages known as Journal du voyage fait à la mer du Sud avec les flibustiers de l'Amérique. The book would be published in Paris in 1688, 1690 and 1705 and would grow to become very popular in French culture. The book was dedicated to the French Minister of the Navy and is useful for understanding the contemporary cultures of many of the locations he visited while on his cruises.

It appears that de Lussan lived the rest of his life in relative peace and luxury.

French Buccaneers


French Buccaneers

English Buccaneers

Dutch Buccaneers


Primary Sources

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