There is no doubt that the Caribbean has a rich and completely fascinating history and Saint Lucia is no exception. Wars between European empires, the presence of marauding pirates and the horrific scenes slavery makes for countless interesting facts about our nation – and one that seems to capture the interest of people the most is pirates. There’s a reason the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ franchise has been so popular (we’re disregarding the gorgeous cast). The era of pirates began in the 1500s and lasted until the 1830s; however, the true reign of these water based highwaymen was from 1660s to the 1730s. Two famous pirates are associated with Saint Lucia, the infamous Black Beard and Jambe de Bois.

Black Beard – Edward Teach

The British pirate known as Black Beard is said to have buried treasure in an area called Black Bay, in the district of Vieux Fort. Black Beard operated in the Caribbean and the eastern cost of the American colonies. Records indicate he may have been a sailor or privateer in the Queen Anne’s War, then settled on the Bahamian island, New Providence. Black Beard got his nickname from, you guessed it, his magnificent black beard. He is said to be incredibly intimidating and fearsome in appearance.

Jambe de Bois – François Le Clerc

Le Clerc was also known as ‘Jambe de Bois’ or ‘Peg Leg’ and was a French privateer in the 1500s. It is claimed that he was the first ‘modern’ pirate to have a peg leg. According to historic records, Le Clerc and over 300 of his men settled on Pigeon Island and attacked Spanish ships that were passing through the area, stealing treasure. Francois le Clerc he died as he lived, pirating in the Azores Islands in 1563. Today, there is a restaurant inside the Pigeon Island National Park, called Jambe de Bois, which serves delicious local food.

Like most aspects of Saint Lucian history, many relics of this era are still scattered throughout the island. For anyone interested in learning more about Saint Lucia’s quirky pirate history, definitely spend the afternoon hiking up and down the Pigeon Island historical fort. These ruins were used heavily by pirates as staging grounds, look-out towers, and cannon posts while they plundered European trade ships for almost a century.