Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Michel, Jacques Léonard

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

MICHEL, Jacques Léonard, surnamed Le Basque (me-shell), French buccaneer, b. in Orthez in 1620; d. in Tortugas in 1677. He served in the French army, rose to the rank of captain, and afterward entered the service of the Company of the West Indies. In 1654 he was lieutenant-governor of Tortugas, but resigned and armed a ship, with which he made war against the Spaniards. Either alone, or in association with other privateers, he pillaged the coasts of Santo Domingo, Cuba, Porto Rico, Venezuela, and of the Gulf of Darien, and became such a terror to the Spanish that they surnamed him the Dreadful. Uniting his forces in 1666 with those of L'Olonnais, they stormed and plundered Cape Leogane on the western coast of Santo Domingo, and afterward took Maracaibo and San Antonio de Gibraltar in Venezuela, where they secured a booty of $1,600,000. Michel afterward devastated the coasts of Honduras and pillaged the city of Porto Caballo in 1673, but was so severely wounded during that expedition that he was no longer able to continue his war against the Spaniards. He died with the reputation of being the most humane buccaneer of his time.