The Cassard expedition was a sea voyage by French Navy captain Jacques Cassard in 1712, during the War of the Spanish Succession. Plans of the expedition started on December 2, 1711 as Cassard listened to the king's command fir three ships and five frigates. Departing from the port of Toulon with a fleet of eight ships, 3,000 seamen, and 1,200 soldiers, he landed at Praia Harbour on the island of Santiago in the Cape Verde Islands and later raided and pillaged Cidade Velha where every building would be destroyed including the fort, a part of the island was occupied, the Bishop of Santiago de Cabo Verde Francisco Santo Agostinho retired into the interior of Santiago, where he reorganized his forces for the defence, leadership and resistance for a counterattack. The corsairs took the bells from the cathedral, its relics and the wooded furniture. Things that were not taken were burned down including the rich library of the bishop, damages totalled 3 million French livres. After this, he headed to the Americas and raided the British-controlled isles of Montserrat and Antigua in the West Indies, and the Dutch South American colonial outposts of Surinam, Berbice, and Essequibo. He then proceeded to raid Dutch St. Eustatius, and also succeeded, although with some difficulty, at gaining control of Curaçao, the strongest Dutch settlement in the Caribbean. In many of the places he landed, officials paid a ransom to avoid pillage; this was not always successful, as Cassard sometimes ignored the terms of the agreements he made. After stopping in Martinique, he returned to France with a booty that worthed about 10 million livres.
Cassard's exploits won him the Order of Saint Louis.
After the destruction of Cidade Velha, the administration moved 12 km east to Praia and built it on the Plateau, cannons and a barrack would be built which would protect the city and later the island from further pirate attacks, it officially became colonial capital in 1770, since July 5, 1975 it is the national capital today.
The next non-Portuguese rule of Cape Verde was the British in 1724 on the island of Santo Antão for a year. The next attack on Cape Verde was a pirate raid on the island of Boa Vista in 1815. The next attack near the island and on the waters of Cape Verde was the Battle of Porto Praya in 1781, as Portugal was a neutral nation it involved Britain and France, it took place at the waters of Praia Harbour and the French won the battle.
A few decades later, the next battles took place in some of the islands in the Americas that Cassard raided
- Bescherelle 1868, p. 57
- Louis-Nicolas Bescherelle, Histoire des marins illustres de la France, de l'Angleterre et de la Hollande, Ardant, 1868 p. 53-60 (in French)
- Norman, Charles Boswell. The corsairs of France. pp. 139–150
- Rodway, James. History of British Guiana
- Jean Meyer and Martine Acerra, Histoire de la marine française, Rennes, Ouest-France publications, 1994, p. 427 ISBN 2-7373-1129-2 (in French)
- Statham, Edward Phillips Privateers and Privateering, Cambridge University Press, 2011 (1st ed. 1910)