There are many myths about pirates. Getting to the reality of pirate life, language and practices is not an easy task because the pirates wrote nothing down on paper. We can gather from what we know about pirates that what we consider pirate language could be complete myth and not reality. Also, practice like walking the plank have no solid foundation in history. Pirate’s gold is mostly a myth along with treasure maps to that gold. Pirates mainly took cargo from ships that included food, rope, liquor, and other imports.
From the 1500s, Florida’s history began to get reshaped by pirate invasions along the East coast of Florida. They were drawn in by Spanish settlements and swore to take the Spanish out of the area. This included their settlements, castles, and ships. Pirates began to use Florida shores as reliable key stops. These stops were to replenish food supplies, repair ships, and gain strategic access to closeby Spanish settlements.
One of the biggest and most authentic museums lies in St. Augustine. St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum which was originally located in the Keys has the largest and most authentic collection of pirate artifacts in the world. It was moved to St. Augustine because the city was plundered twice by pirates.
The treasure hunt is on. A Spanish Galleon wrecked in 1730 off the coast of Flagler Beach has treasure enthusiasts excited. The Spanish Galleon had left Havana, Cuba for St. Augustine but never made it. It encountered two English ships. In their attempt to escape on 3 small boats with the gold, they were accosted, and all seemed lost. They were massacred at what is known today as Smith Creek. One survivor, taken in by Indians, wrote down his account of the treasure and made a map from memory.
There are not many accounts of pirates in the Flagler Beach area. Most accounts of British and pirate run-ins are nearby in St. Augustine. Pirates made their way from the Caribbean and other islands like Cuba up the Florida east coast to St. Augustine. Pirates would, however, camp on shore while repairing their boats. Treasure Coast, which is south of Flagler, has many artifacts which prove pirate encampments in the area.
One of the most notorious pirates to attack the east coast of Florida was Sir Francis Drake. Sir Francis Drake was born in England to an English farmer somewhere around 1544. He had a deep seated hated for the Spanish. He was involved in the slave trade and eventually piracy. He was knighted by the queen of England for his attacks on Spanish ships and his ability to pillage. It was the queen of England who actually hired Drake to pillage Spanish harbors and ships. He was known as the “sea dragon” and was one of the most ruthless pirates to have ever lived. He died on one of his attacks outside Panama and was buried at sea. Treasure hunters are still looking for his burial site expecting treasure to be found with one of the most famous pirates.
Other famous pirates that have influenced Florida’s history are Captain Kidd, and Blackbeard. Pirates continue to spark the imagination of all Floridians and tourists alike. There are many museums sprinkled all over Florida laden with artifacts and history. Flagler County doesn’t have a museum as the history of pirates in Flagler County is scant. None-the-less, one good pirate story adds pirate history to the area. Perhaps that treasure trove off the coast of Flagler Beach will be found once and for all, and the Spanish gold will be overflowing along with the history of pirates. Until then, treasure adventurists from all over the world will just have to continue to search for the buried booty.