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Luis Aury was a French Corsair, who operated in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean during the early 19th century. Born in Paris, France, around 1788, Aury served in the French Navy before working on privateer ships and becoming master of his own vessel.

Aury supported the Spanish colonies in South America in their fight for independence from Spain, sailing with Venezuelan letters of marque to attack Spanish ships. In 1817, he helped Scottish adventurer, Gregor MacGregor, a self-styled "Brigadier-General of the United Provinces of the New Granada and Venezuela and General-in-Chief of the armies of the two Floridas", in attacking Spanish Florida from Amelia Island.

Amelia Island lies on the northeastern coast of Florida and Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Jean Lafitte and Aury have at one time or another used it as their center of operations. Some $170,000 in treasures has already been found there--only a small portion compared to what is still buried!

In 1817, Aury proclaimed Amelia Island an independent republic and is said to have secreted a chest there with about $60,000 in treasure. But after surrendering to U.S. forces, he was given only 24 hours to leave Amelia Island and was unable to retrieve this hoard.

Aury went on to capture Old Providence Island in the western Caribbean in 1818 and began a settlement with a thriving economy based on captured Spanish cargo. He was reportedly thrown from a horse and killed in 1821.

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Did you know?

  • The Jolly Roger was a black flag flown to identify the vessel as a pirate ship. While the skull and crossbones is the most common of these flags, many great pirate captains designed custom symbols to identify exactly who is attacking.

  • "Shiver me timbers" is an expression of excitement or awe. Its origin has to do with sailing in heavy seas, when the ship is lifted up and pounded down so hard that the timbers are said to shiver.

  • Although pirates have been around since the Romans and Vikings, most pirating happened during the Golden Age of Piracy between 1680 and 1730.

  • Pirates believed that whistling on a ship would cause the weather to turn stormy. Consider the phrase 'to whistle up a storm.'

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