Daniel Montbars

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Daniel Montbars
— Pirate —
Nickname Montbars the Exterminator
Montbars the Destroyer
Type Buccaneer
Born 1645
Place of birth Languedoc, France
Died 1707?
Place of death West Indies
Allegiance France
Years active 1660s-1670s
Rank Captain
Base of operations Saint Barthélemy
Battles/wars War of Devolution

Daniel Montbars (1645–1707?), better known as Montbars the Exterminator,[1] was a 17th-century French buccaneer. For several years, he was known as one of the most violent buccaneers active against the Spanish during the mid-17th century. His reputation as a fierce enemy of the Spanish Empire was matched only by l'Ollonais and Roche Braziliano.

Biography[edit]

Montbars was born to a wealthy family in Languedoc around 1645. He was well educated and raised as a gentleman. According to popular legend, Montbars' legendary hatred of the Spanish came from reading about the cruelties of the Conquistadors upon the New World,[2][3][4][5] particularly a narrative describing atrocities carried out against the native Indians, written by Las Casas.[6] Leaving his native France in 1667, he embarked at Le Havre to serve with his uncle in the Royal French Navy during the war against Spain.

He accompanied his uncle to the West Indies, where their ship was sunk and the uncle killed near Santo Domingo in a battle with two Spanish warships. His uncle's death served to further his hatred of the Spaniards; making his way to the pirate haven of Tortuga, he became a buccaneer captain soon afterwards. Montbars distinguished himself during an attack against a Spanish galleon, described by one account:

Montbars led the way to the decks of the enemy, where he carried injury and death; and when submission terminated the contest, his only pleasure seemed to be to contemplate, not the treasures of the vessel, but the number of dead and dying Spaniards, against whom he had vowed a deep and eternal hatred, which he maintained the whole of his life. [7]

He attacked the Spanish settlements on the coast of Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico. He also raided settlements in the Antilles and in Honduras, capturing Vera Cruz and Cartagena. Defending his act of vengeance against the Spaniards, he became known throughout the Spanish Main as "Montbars the Exterminator" for exacting his own cruelties against the Spanish. He looted and set fire to Porto Caballo, San Pedro, Gibraltar and Maricaibo, among other Spanish strongholds, and captured or destroyed numerous other forts and settlements. Although he did not murder in cold blood, as did some of his contemporaries, he gave no quarter to his enemies and was known to torture surviving Spanish soldiers. One of his more infamous methods was to cut open the abdomen of one of his prisoners, extract one end of the large intestine and nail it to a post, then force the man to "dance to his death by beating his backside with a burning log".[8][9]

The circumstances of his death are unrecorded; however, he may have been lost at sea while on one of his voyages in 1707. While more focused on warring against the Spanish, he was said to have amassed a considerable amount of wealth during his career. He and members of his crew reportedly buried their fortune near Anse de Gouverneur [10] or Grand Saline, although Montbars was said to have died before he could come back for his treasure.[5]

In popular culture[edit]

  • Montbars is featured in several French dramas, most notably, the 1807 romance novel l'Exterminateur: ou le dernier des flibustiers.
  • The character of Red Rackham was based on John “Calico Jack” Rackham and Montbars the Exterminator [11]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Latham, Edward. A Dictionary of Names, Nicknames and Surnames, of Persons, Places and Things. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1904. (pg. 99)
  2. ^ Russell, William. The History of Modern Europe: with an Account of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and the View of the Progress of Society from the Rise of the Modern Kingdoms to the Peace of Paris in 1763. Vol. III. London: Longman, Reese & Co., 1837. (pg. 164)
  3. ^ Goodrich, Frank B. Man Upon the Sea: Or, A History of Maritime Adventure, Exploration, and Discovery from the Earliest Ages. Philadelphia, 1858. (pg. 337)
  4. ^ Burney, James. History of the Buccaneers of America. London: Swan Sonnenschien & Co., 1891. (pg. 63)
  5. ^ a b Greenburg, Harriet. St. Martin, St. Barts & Anguilla Alive!. Edison, New Jersey: Hunter Publishing, 2003. (pg. 20) ISBN 1-58843-356-0
  6. ^ Eden, Charles H. The West Indies. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, & Rivington, 1880. (pg. 47)
  7. ^ Smith, John Jay, ed. "Pirates and Piracy from the Earliest Ages". The Museum of Foreign Literature, Science, and Art. Vol. XXVI. (January–June 1835): 268.
  8. ^ Cordingly, David. Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the Pirates. New York: Random House, 1996. (pg. 132) ISBN 0-679-42560-8
  9. ^ Farman, John. The Short and Bloody History of Pirates. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 2003. (pg. 49) ISBN 0-8225-0843-5
  10. ^ Sullivan, Lynne M. Adventure Guide to St. Martin & St. Barts. Edison, New Jersey: Hunter Publishing, 2003. (pg. 22) ISBN 1-58843-348-X
  11. ^ Red Rackham's Treasure - Young readers edition. USA: Little Brown. 2010. ISBN 0316358347. 

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Galvin, Peter R. Patterns of Pillage: A Geography of Caribbean-based Piracy in Spanish America, 1536-1718. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.
  • Winston, Alexander. No Man Knows My Grave: Sir Henry Morgan, Captain William Kidd, Captain Woodes Rogers in the Golden Age of Privateers and Pirates, 1665-1715. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1969.
  • Zander, Herr. "The Filibuster, a Tale of the End of the 17th Century". Dublin University Magazine. Vol. II. (July–December 1833): 179-200.