Benerson Little

“The trident of Neptune is the scepter of the world.”*


Below are the current cover, notes & errata, and a series of images and notes on the Spanish "galleon"--a misnomer--and treasure ships of the period, along with popular perceptions.


The jacket design is based on Howard Pyle’s Extorting Tribute from the Citizens, originally published as an illustration for Pyle’s short story, “The Fate of a Treasure-Town,” in Harper’s Monthly Magazine, December 1905, as was the small illustration at the foot of this column.

Sample Content



Notes & Errata


Extensive useful notes on content, based on research and discovery subsequent to publication, as well as errata may be downloaded via the linked pdf file below.


Title page from the Dutch edition of Esquemelin's The Buccaneers of America.


Spanish Galleons and
"Pirate" Galleons


This illustration of Nombre de Dios is the source of the image used at the beginning of each chapter in Buccaneer's Realm. The galleon or frigate is firing a salute. Many Spanish treasure ships were not galleons, except as a common term for "treasure ship," but were actually frigates. From Peter Schenk's Hecatompolis, 1672.

Late 17th century Spanish frigate or "galleon," from du Pas. Likely highly accurate, and may have been Dutch-built.

Spanish treasure galleon Nuestra Señora del Mar, wrecked in 1691. Note the open galleries. AGI.

Spanish two decker, mid- to latter 17th century. A frigate or possibly a galleon. The identity of the ship is unknown. Some have suggested it might be the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas wrecked in 1656. RMM.

Spanish frigate of the 2nd order, of 405 tons and as many as 54 guns (12, 8, and 4 pounders) but probably as few as 40, as proposed by Antonio Garrote, 1691.

Galleon at Havana, in De Nieuwe en onbekende weereld by Albertus Montanus, 1671.

Not a galleon but a large latter 17th century Spanish urca (a fluyt) of the sort used to ferry treasure from Honduras and often attacked by pirates.

Howard Pyle's An Attack on a Galleon, from "The Fate of a Treasure-Town."

The sinking Arabella from the 1924 Captain Blood.

The Cinco Llagas from the 1935 motion picture, Captain Blood starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Haviland. The ship would soon be named Arabella. Note the typical high stern of this Hollywood Spanish frigate. Most of the fittings and the general layout, however, appear based on English admiralty models. Compare with the du Pas illustration.

Captain Peter Blood's famous fictional pirate frigate Arabella in Rafael Sabatini's Captain Blood might have looked something like the ship in the du Pas illustration above, or more likely in that of Garrote, had the Arabella actually existed. The ship's original name was the Cinco Llagas. In the original magazine serialization, prior to publication of the novel, Sabatini named Peter Blood's ship the Colleen. Without doubt Sabatini was inspired by the Portuguese carrack Cinque Llagas decribed by Nicholas Downton in "The sinking of the Carrack, The Five Wounds" in 1600. Sabatini may have been inspired to name his heroine and the ship after her from the real Arabella commanded by Capt. Read, described by Clement Downing in A Compendious History of the Indian Wars, 1737. The ship, of the Honourable East India Company, was attacked by Angrian sea rovers in India. By the second half of the 17th century, most Spanish treasure ships were "frigates," not galleons, although the term remained in use for large treasure ships, as well as for the few true galleons still being built. Until late in the century, many Spanish "frigates" retained the typical high Spanish stern, thus the confusion.

Howard Pyle's The Burning Ship, 1898, published in Collier’s Magazine, 1904.

Replica 70 gun "galleon" Neptune from the film Pirates! with Walter Matthau. The ship shows the typical high stern of 17th century Spanish galleons and frigates, although the ship's stern galleries appear to have been modeled not on a Spanish vessel, but on a French man of war, probably the Soleil Royal. Spanish ships were actually named after religious figures. The ship is berthed in Genoa, Italy. There was in fact a pirate ship, of 40 to 50 guns, named Neptune in the late 17th century. Formerly the Spanish slave ship San Francisco, she was captured and subsequently commanded by famous Dutch filibuster Laurent de Graff

Pirate galleon from The Goonies (1985) showing the idealized form we have come to expect.

The Wicked Wench from Disney's theme parks, with the old captain on deck. The ship captures all the elements we expect of a pirate ship or "galleon." The ride, in spite of relatively recent changes based on the films and political correctness, remains one of the most popular, and is arguably the ride with the most character as well. Naturally, it is a favorite of the author and his daughters. (Source: Disney)

The Black Pearl from Disney's swashbuckling pirate fantasy films. The ship has elements of 17th and 18th century vessels, not to mention a very incorrect capstan placed for some unfathomable reason around the mainmast. According to the films' backstory, the Pearl is based on the "pirate galleon" Wicked Wench (see photo above) from the Disney theme parks ride, and was originally so-named. In fact, pirates of the Golden Age did not sail galleons, although the term was still in use for treasure ships. The original Disney ride depicted buccaneers sacking a Spanish town. Today, elements of the film have been added, and the colorful old buccaneer captain of the ship has been replaced with the image of Captain Barbossa and the voice of Geoffrey Rush. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Blackbeard's ship as seen in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides in 2011. Note the very high stern, derived largely from our image of the Spanish galleon, and which we have come to identify with pirates of the Caribbean. Blackbeard's actual ship, of course, was nothing like this. (Source: Shockya.com)

The high stern of Flint's ship, the Walrus, from the STARZ drama Black Sails. The ship, although more fanciful than historically accurate, displays the characteristics we've come to associate, via romantic renderings of Spanish galleons, with pirate ships.

The Urca de Lima, a Spanish man of war, from Black Sails. The ship resembles a galleon rather than a true urca.


* By Antoine Marin Lemierre, from his poem "Commerce." (Le trident de Neptune est le sceptre du monde.)

Book Links:
Descriptions & Reviews

Historical Fiction
The sequel to Fortune's Whelp: stay tuned!

Maritime adventure and historical intrigue set amidst the attempted assassination of King William III.

Narrative Maritime History
The truth behind the great pirate myths and legends. In print!

Maritime History

To really understand what the pirate's world was like: how buccaneers lived, fought, and died.


A colorful and detailed description of how pirates and privateers practiced their trade.

Links

The Buccaneer's Realm:
Pirate Life on the Spanish Main,
1674-1688


To really understand what the buccaneers' world was like—how they lived, fought, and died.

In print, hardcover (although may be going out of print), Nook, Kindle, and EPUB.



Content


Topics are as diverse as pirate swordplay, warfare on land and sea, turtle hunting, Native American relations, piracy and the slave trade, Spanish pirates and privateers, descriptions of the pirate ports of Port Royal and Petit Goave, hunting and logwood cutting, smuggling, shipwrecks and salvage, treasure hunting, and even sex. Appendices include detailed descriptions of pirate articles ("the pirate code") and plunder, a list of pirate captains and their vessels, a discussion of the piece of eight, and other useful information. New information on pirate tactics on land and at sea, complementing that of Sea Rover's Practice, is also included.


Endorsements


“A richly hued blend of compelling narrative and informed history, The Buccaneer’s Realm captures the dramatic sunset of buccaneering on the Spanish Main. With meticulous documentation, wry humor, and keen attention to detail, Benerson Little accurately portrays the last hurrah of the Brethren of the Coast—a free-minded floating society of patriotic mercenaries and self-serving rogues, accomplished sailors, and intrepid adventurers—before their final eclipse into unmitigated piracy.”
—Peter R. Galvin, associate professor of geography at Indiana University Southeast and author of Patterns of Pillage: A Geography of Caribbean-based Piracy in Spanish America, 1536–1718


"Like a large format photograph, The Buccaneer’s Realm reveals its subjects in crisp and rich detail. Benerson Little portrays with encyclopedic completeness the milieu of Caribbean sea rovers during one of piracy’s flourishing eras, ranging from the foods that went into the rovers’ mouths to the curses that came out of them, from the shores and ships the rovers plundered to the ports wherein and lusts whereon they spent their spoils. This study is a worthy companion to the author’s The Sea Rover’s Practice."
—Michael J. Crawford, naval historian


“In Buccaneer’s Realm: Pirate Life on the Spanish Main, Benerson Little has treated this fascinating subject in admirable detail. Although piracy is pervasive worldwide and an ancient phenomenon that continues to the present day, Little focuses on its practice in two decades of the late-seventeenth century in the Caribbean. The international and multi-faceted character of the sea robbers and their activities during this classical period of buccaneering is well delineated by text, appendixes, and eight original maps.”
—Norman J. W. Thrower, professor
emeritus of geography at UCLA


Reviews


“Unique and worthwhile. The Buccaneer’s Realm is well written and scholarly, laced with interesting particulars and a bit of humor. It would appeal to a wide readership, especially anyone interested in the Caribbean and Spanish America, as well as those fascinated by piracy.”
—Peter R. Galvin, New West Indian Guide, Vol. 84, No. 1 & 2, 2010


"…It is this reviewer’s opinion that The Buccaneer’s Realm serves as a very useful introduction to its chosen subject, especially if read in conjunction with Little’s earlier book on piracy. Like its forerunner, The Buccaneer’s Realm is likely to enjoy a wide readership of mixed components."
The Mariner’s Mirror, Volume 94


“‘Cornucopia’ is the word that best describes The Buccaneer’s Realm, for there are so many facts and examples crammed into 267 pages that it’s impossible to grasp the treasures found within the book in one reading. Interspersed throughout are quotes from those who were or knew the real buccaneers, which serve to enrich this journey back in time. Anyone wishing to learn more about the buccaneers and the Caribbean of the latter 17th century should make this book a must read.”
—Cindy Vallar, Pirates and Privateers, September 2008


"...The Buccaneer’s Realm serves as a very useful introduction to its chosen subject, especially if read in conjunction with Little’s earlier book on piracy. Like its forerunner, The Buccaneer’s Realm is likely to enjoy a wide readership of mixed components."
—H. J. K. Jenkins, The Mariner’s Mirror 94, 2009


“[The book] boasts an impressive range of anecdotes which will entertain “armchair adventurers” as well as provide them with a treasure trove of information... It is evident [Little] can spin a riveting tale and sweep away readers to the glory days of the Spanish Main.”
—Cheryl Fury, The Northern Mariner, October 2007


“This in-depth treatment proves to be not only very illuminating, but fascinating as well, and conveys pointedly the uniqueness of that period of world history…recommend it highly to anyone else interested in those strange times.”
Pirates Magazine, Summer 2008


“The book is well referenced enough to find use in an academic context, but well written enough to appeal to a general audience. At its best, The Buccaneer’s Realm provides an extremely evocative narrative that captures all the ‘romance’ with little of the cliché, offering a usefully comprehensive insight into a world that, while different from the mainstream society of the period, was no less structured, rule, and duty bound.”
—Joe Flatman, University College London, Nautical Research Journal, Summer 2008


"The Buccaneer's Realm holds up well against Little's previous work, making two-for-two books that are truly must-haves for any true pirate scholar."
—Bilgemunky.com, July 2008


"[T]here is little about the buccaneer’s life that is not covered in this detailed and informative book. The buccaneer’s activities, diet, dress, sex life, health, wealth, and society on the Spanish Main are explained with enthusiasm and excitement. The Buccaneer’s Realm is also a naval history, recreating numerous small sea battles between the buccaneers and the primarily Spanish ships, from treasure galleons to sloops, they attacked. Benerson Little’s earlier book, The Sea Rover’s Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730, displayed his masterful knowledge of the subject and he brings that perspective to the sea actions of the buccaneers.[The book] is a valuable source for understanding the buccaneer’s life on land and at sea."
—Robert H. Berlin, Journal of Military History, July 2008


"The author, a fencing instructor and former Navy SEAL, first became fascinated by piracy when reading Treasure Island as a lad. The second of his works on the subject...attests to the durability of his youthful fixation... As might be expected in a book by a swordsman-author, there is considerable information on edged weapons and dueling."
—B. R. Burg, Arizona State University, Choice Magazine, September 2008


“In his new book, The Buccaneer’s Realm, Benerson Little brings this world a lot more to life for me than any other book. For those interested in pirate history, and especially for those recreating this time period, I heartily recommend [it].”
—Christine Markel Lampe, No Quarter Given, January/​February 2008


"Never, anywhere, will you find a more interesting, readable, historically accurate account of Europe’s black-market naval activities in the New World....a shining work of classic naval history, about a most unclassic—and delightfully obscure—period in the long, long tale of The Sea."
—David Wyman, Alabama Writers Forum


“This work, by former Navy SEAL turned defense analyst and historian, is an excellent follow up to the author’s previous book, The Sea Rover’s Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630–1730...A good read for anyone interested in maritime history”
NYMAS Review, Winter 2007-2008


"Hollywood's Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy has been responsible for a surge of renewed interest in the pirates of old, and Buccaneer's Realm is a well-done welcome addition to this treasure trove of lusty history. Rich in detail with its encyclopedic completeness, Benerson Little's compelling narrative is a fascinating read from cover to cover."
—Edward Lundquist, Sea Classics, March 2008


"Armchair adventurers will find many more interesting accounts to fuel their imagination and expand their knowledge of the development of the New World during the final era of buccaneer glory."
—Ann Marie Martin, Huntsville Times, December 2007


"In this rich and storied investigation of the pirates which emerged from the failing Spanish empire, maritime historian and author Benerson Little introduces readers to the cultural and physical environments of those who conquered the Spanish main."
—Strand Bookstore


"It's a lively survey recommended for any in-depth marine history collection..."
Midwest Book Review, California Bookwatch


"[The author] shares his fascination with the maritime world in this exploration of the culture and physical environments of the pirates who sailed on the Spanish Main."
Reference and Research Book News



From the Publisher


"Little has provided another welcome addition to pirate lore....While this era and its luminaries have been thoroughly described by a host of narratives and histories over the past few centuries, Little's contribution is unique and worthwhile for a number of reasons. Above all it is holistic..."
—Peter R. Galvin, Indiana University Southeast, author of Patterns of Pillage: A Geography of Caribbean-based Piracy in Spanish America, 1536–1718, in New West Indian Guide, vol. 84, no. 1 & 2 (2010).



“‘Cornucopia’ is the word that best describes The Buccaneer’s Realm, for there are so many facts and examples crammed into 267 pages that it’s impossible to grasp the treasures found within the book in one reading. Interspersed throughout are quotes from those who were or knew the real buccaneers, which serve to enrich this journey back in time. Anyone wishing to learn more about the buccaneers and the Caribbean of the latter 17th century should make this book a must read.”
—Cindy Vallar, Pirates and Privateers, September 2008


"The Buccaneer’s Realm serves as a very useful introduction to its chosen subject, especially if read in conjunction with Little’s earlier book on piracy. Like its forerunner, The Buccaneer’s Realm is likely to enjoy a wide readership of mixed components."
—H. J. K. Jenkins, The Mariner’s Mirror 94, 2009


“[The book] boasts an impressive range of anecdotes which will entertain “armchair adventurers” as well as provide them with a treasure trove of information... It is evident [Little] can spin a riveting tale and sweep away readers to the glory days of the Spanish Main.”
—Cheryl Fury, The Northern Mariner, October 2007


“This in-depth treatment proves to be not only very illuminating, but fascinating as well, and conveys pointedly the uniqueness of that period of world history…recommend it highly to anyone else interested in those strange times.”
Pirates Magazine, Summer 2008


“The book is well referenced enough to find use in an academic context, but well written enough to appeal to a general audience. At its best, The Buccaneer’s Realm provides an extremely evocative narrative that captures all the ‘romance’ with little of the cliché, offering a usefully comprehensive insight into a world that, while different from the mainstream society of the period, was no less structured, rule, and duty bound.”
—Joe Flatman, University College London, Nautical Research Journal, Summer 2008


"The Buccaneer's Realm holds up well against Little's previous work, making two-for-two books that are truly must-haves for any true pirate scholar."
Bilgemunky.com, July 2008


"[T]here is little about the buccaneer’s life that is not covered in this detailed and informative book. The buccaneer’s activities, diet, dress, sex life, health, wealth, and society on the Spanish Main are explained with enthusiasm and excitement.The Buccaneer’s Realm is also a naval history, recreating numerous small sea battles between the buccaneers and the primarily Spanish ships, from treasure galleons to sloops, they attacked. Benerson Little’s earlier book, The Sea Rover’s Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630-1730, displayed his masterful knowledge of the subject and he brings that perspective to the sea actions of the buccaneers.[The book] is a valuable source for understanding the buccaneer’s life on land and at sea."
—Robert H. Berlin, Journal of Military History, July 2008


"The author, a fencing instructor and former Navy SEAL, first became fascinated by piracy when reading Treasure Island as a lad. The second of his works on the subject...attests to the durability of his youthful fixation... As might be expected in a book by a swordsman-author, there is considerable information on edged weapons and dueling."
—B. R. Burg, Arizona State University, Choice Magazine, September 2008


“In his new book, The Buccaneer’s Realm, Benerson Little brings this world a lot more to life for me than any other book. For those interested in pirate history, and especially for those recreating this time period, I heartily recommend [it].”
—Christine Markel Lampe, No Quarter Given, January/​February 2008


"Never, anywhere, will you find a more interesting, readable, historically accurate account of Europe’s black-market naval activities in the New World....a shining work of classic naval history, about a most unclassic—and delightfully obscure—period in the long, long tale of The Sea."
—David Wyman, Alabama Writers Forum


“This work, by former Navy SEAL turned defense analyst and historian, is an excellent follow up to the author’s previous book, The Sea Rover’s Practice: Pirate Tactics and Techniques, 1630–1730...A good read for anyone interested in maritime history”
NYMAS Review, Winter 2007-2008


"Hollywood's Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy has been responsible for a surge of renewed interest in the pirates of old, and Buccaneer's Realm is a well-done welcome addition to this treasure trove of lusty history. Rich in detail with its encyclopedic completeness, Benerson Little's compelling narrative is a fascinating read from cover to cover."
—Edward Lundquist, Sea Classics, March 2008


"Armchair adventurers will find many more interesting accounts to fuel their imagination and expand their knowledge of the development of the New World during the final era of buccaneer glory."
—Ann Marie Martin, Huntsville Times, December 2007


"In this rich and storied investigation of the pirates which emerged from the failing Spanish empire, maritime historian and author Benerson Little introduces readers to the cultural and physical environments of those who conquered the Spanish main."
—Strand Bookstore


"It's a lively survey recommended for any in-depth marine history collection..."
Midwest Book Review, California Bookwatch


"[The author] shares his fascination with the maritime world in this exploration of the culture and physical environments of the pirates who sailed on the Spanish Main."
Reference and Research Book News


In 1674, it is three years since Henry Morgan’s pirates sacked Panama. England is now at peace with Spain, and soon France, Holland, and Spain will briefly be at peace among themselves. But soon buccaneers and their French counterparts, the filibusters, will seize the opportunity of material gain presented by the far-flung and failing Spanish Empire. And Spain will produce its own notorious pirates, whose depredations against the English and French will become legend. These men of opportunistic calculation and desperate courage live in a wilder, larger, and richer time and place than any other frontier in modern history—the Spanish Main. Unflinchingly, unhesitatingly, unabashedly, they will take to the peaceful seas for riches by force of arms. The world will witness piracy on a grand scale.

While Benerson Little’s previous work showed brilliantly how pirates actually plied their trade, The Buccaneer’s Realm focuses on their cultural and physical environments. It describes not merely their deeds but their world—the New World of the Spanish Main and its many peoples, freedoms, dangers, and exploits that are the foundation of the Americas. A detailed and lively description of pirate life, it will especially appeal to readers with an interest in maritime, naval, military, and colonial history, as well as sociologists, anthropologists, and armchair adventurers.