In the 17th century it was often raided by buccaneers, notably in 1606, when it was completely sacked.
The buccaneers or filibusters, who during the 17th century were drawn to the West Indies by the prospect of plundering the possessions of decadent Spain, often invaded Porto Rico, but that island escaped the conquest which Haiti experienced.
But the buccaneers or pirates who had made their retreat here offered heavy opposition; in 1680 there was an attack by the Spaniards, and in July 1703 the French and Spaniards made a descent on New Providence, blew up the fort, spiked the guns, burnt the church and carried off the governor, with the principal inhabitants, to Havana.
Matanzas is frequently mentioned in the annals of the 16th and 17th centuries, when its bay was frequented by buccaneers; but the city was not laid out until 1693.
Towards the close of the century the buccaneers extended their activity to the Pacific, but naturally added little to general knowledge.
In the history of the place in the 16th century few things stand out except the investments by buccaneers: in 1537 it was sacked and burned, and in 1555 plundered by French buccaneers, and in 1586 it was threatened by Drake.
The early heirs of this vigorous and capable monarch used their power, like him, for the good of the people; but later decay set in, and Japanese buccaneers ravaged the coasts, though for two centuries under Chinese protection Korea was free from actual foreign invasion.
Its nomenclature, like that of many lesser streams in the plateau region, is somewhat confusing; for while the Spanish colonists were settling beside its headwaters the mid-stream was hardly known except to the native Indians, and the lower reaches were frequented by buccaneers, often of British or Dutch origin.
Then came the hopeless revolts of the Indians against intolerable oppression, the abortive rebellions of Hernandez de Contreras and John Bermejo (Bermudez) against the mother country (1550), the foundation of Leon, future rival of Granada, in 1610, its sack by the buccaneers under William Dampier in 1685, and, lastly, the declaration of independence (1821), not definitively acknowledged by Spain till 1850.
BUCCANEERS, the name given to piratical adventurers of different nationalities united in their opposition to Spain, who maintained themselves chiefly in the Caribbean Sea during the 17th century.
Eight years later, however, watching their opportunity when many buccaneers were absent in the larger island, the Spaniards attacked Tortuga, and massacred every settler they could seize.
But the others returned; and the buccaneers, now in open hostility to the Spanish arms, began to receive recruits from every European trading nation, and for three-quarters of a century became the scourge of the Spanish-American trade and dominions.
England was absorbed in the Civil War, and the buccaneers had to maintain themselves as best they could, - now mainly on the sea.
At this period the power of the buccaneers was at its height.
With the resumption of hostilities in 1700 and the rise of Spain consequent upon the accession of the French claimant to the throne the career of the buccaneers was effectually closed.
In everything the policy of the buccaneers, from the beginning to the end of their career, was one of pure destruction, and was, therefore, ultimately suicidal.
The English names of the individual islands were probably given by buccaneers, for whom the group formed a convenient retreat.
The western part of St Domingo, nominally belonging to Spain, had been occupied by buccaneers, who were recognized and supported by the French government, and France.
Belize probably derives its name from the French balise, " a beacon," as no doubt some signal or light was raised here for the guidance of the buccaneers who once infested this region.
G P Y g the century the ports of Yucatan and Central America were frequently raided, and in 1682 Tampico suffered a like disaster; in May 1683 Vera Cruz itself was captured through stratagem by two buccaneers, Van Horn and Laurent, who plundered the town for ten days, committed shocking outrages, and escaped as the Spanish fleet arrived.
These conquests were not made without the aid of the buccaneers themselves.
The buccaneers, in fact, constituted a mercenary navy, ready for employment against the power of Spain by any other nation, on condition of sharing the plunder; and they were noted for their daring, their cruelty and their extraordinary skill in seamanship.
It is chiefly during the first period that those leaders flourished whose names and doings have been associated with all that was really influential in the exploits of the buccaneers - the most prominent being Mansfield and Morgan.
But Spanish settlements remained; and in 1654 the first great expedition on land made by the buccaneers, though attended by considerable difficulties, was completed by the capture and sack of New Segovia, on the mainland of America.
Such successes removed the buccaneers further and further from the pale of civilized society, fed their revenge, and inspired them with an avarice almost equal to that of the original settlers from Spain.
The buccaneers to the number of 2000 began by seizing Chagres, and then marched to Panama in 1671.
It is certain that the share per man was small, and that many of the buccaneers died of starvation while trying to return to Jamaica.
During his later years he was active in suppressing the buccaneers who had now inconvenient claims on him.
They acted as guides during a difficult journey of nine days, kept the invaders well supplied with food, provided them with canoes, and only left them after the taking of the fort of Santa Maria, when the buccaneers were fairly embarked on a broad and safe river which emptied itself into the South Sea.
But the valour of the buccaneers won for them another victory; within a week they took possession of four Spanish ships, and now successes flowed upon them.
On Cook's death his successor, Edward Davis, undoubtedly the greatest and most prudent commander who ever led the forces of the buccaneers at sea, met with a certain Captain Swan from England, and the two captains began a cruise which was disastrous to the Spanish trade in the Pacific.
In 1685 they were joined in the Bay of Panama by large numbers of buccaneers who had crossed the isthmus under Townley and others.
The separation of the English and French buccaneers, who together presented a united front to the Spanish fleet in 1685, marks the beginning of the third and last epoch in their history.
Townley had hardly joined the French buccaneers remaining in the South Sea ere he died, and the Frenchmen with their companions crossed New Spain to the West Indies.
The French and English buccaneers could not but take sides in the war which had arisen between their respective countries in 1689.
But the fall of the buccaneers is no more accounted for fully by these circumstances than is their rise by the massacre of the islanders of Santo Domingo.
The principles which bound the buccaneers together were, first the desire for adventure and gain, and, in the second place, hatred of the Spaniard.
Their great importance in history lies in the fact that they opened the eyes of the world, and specially of the nations from whom these buccaneers had sprung, to the whole system of Spanish-American government and commerce - the former in its rottenness, and the latter in its possibilities in other hands.
Name, in the north-western corner of the country, with a large trade in bananas and good fishing in the bay; Porto Bello (pop. about 3000), formerly an important commercial city, in Colon province, on Porto Bello Bay, where Columbus established the colony of Nombre de Dios in 1502 - the present city was founded in 1584, was often captured by the English (notably by Admiral Edward Vernon in 1753), and by buccaneers, and is the terminus of an old paved road to Panama, whence gold was brought to Porto Bello for shipment; Chagres (pop. about 2500), also in Colon province, formerly an important port, and now a fishing place; Agua Dulce, formerly called Trinidad (pop. about 2000), in Cocle province, on Parita Bay, the centre of the salt industry; and San Miguel, on an island of the same name in the Gulf of Panama, the principal pearl fishery.
It was thrice sacked by English buccaneers - in 1642, 1654 and 1702; and in the following years, up to and for a time after the peace of Utrecht (1713),(1713), it maintained ships and soldiers.
The Spanish town was founded in 1540, and was sacked by the British in 1659 and by buccaneers in 1678 and 1685.
It is often asserted that these rapids were artificially formed by the Spaniards themselves to prevent the buccaneers from penetrating to Lake Nicaragua.
A really authentic narrative, however, is Captain James Burney's History of the Buccaneers of America (London, 1816).
The Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series (London, 1860 et seq.), contains much evidence for the history of the buccaneers in the West Indies.