You never know what will turn up when you do a google search with a word like "Buccaneer"!
Initially hunter's of cattle and pigs on the Island of what is now known as Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The Buccaneers got their name from the meaning of the French work "Boucan" (which means barbecue), as they were frequently seen barbecuing their meat on grills (they learned this form of cooking from the Arawakk Indians).
The buccaneers were driven out by the Spanish, and the persecuted hunters banded with groups of runaway slaves, deserters, and other's who hated the Spanish and sought vengeance on their vessels. The word buccaneer soon became common, and by the 17th century was used to describe pirates and privateers who had bases in the West indies.
The term refers to pirates or privateers who operated in the Mediterranean. The most recognized corsairs were from the Barbary Coast of North Africa. (European crusaders named their Muslim enemies "Barbary Corsairs")
These corsairs were authorized by their governments to prey upon the shipping lanes of Christian countries. The Maltese Corsairs led the fight against the Turks, being led by the Knights of St. John. The Maltese Corsairs initially fought for religion, but after a while the rewards of piracy grew to greater appeal. Soon the Maltese Corsairs were full-fleged pirates with no interest in religious ideals.
A privateer was a pirate who by commission or letter of marque from the government was authorized to size or destroy, a merchant vessel of another nation. The privateer was used as a cheap means of weakening the enemy by frequenting shipping routes (avoiding the costs related to the maintenance and creation of navy.
In theory no Privateer with a letter of marque could be charged with piracy, since it was recognized by international law. However, it was not uncommon for privateers to be changed and prosecuted for piracy by hostile nations. All occurrences of vessels captured by privateers had to be brought before an Admiralty Courts where they were tried to ensure that their plunder was legal game.
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