Famous Pirates #8: Francois l'Olonnais (French, 1635-1668)
l’Olonnais humbly began as a poor man, working on a plantation in America as an indentured servant. After he turned to piracy, the Frenchman was known for the viciousness he showed to his vanquished, as well as his success in raiding many towns (he was one of the most successful pirates on land attacks) and capturing many ships. Amongst his most successful plunders was the town of Maracaibo, Venezuela, where he ravaged and stole his way into historical infamy, gaining some 200,000 Spanish dollars. His sadistic, bloodthirsty streak was predominant in his career, for he is said to have eaten a Spanish soldier’s heart during one of his many attacks. His own death, however, was equally as gruesome. l’Olonnais and his crew lodged their ship on a sandbar off the coast of Panama and weren’t able to break free. Upon venturing onto land in search of food, they were captured by the local tribe and devoured.