The famous filibuster – a former buffalo hunter – Archo Lolonua ended his days truly terribly. He was captured by North American Indians of the Darian tribe, dismembered, fried and eaten. The same fate befell the “glorious captains” of his ships standing in the roadstead. These thugs always accompanied their “admiral” when landing on the shore, for which they paid. The frigate crews, having learned about the bloody events from the scouts, left the scene of the tragedy under the cover of heavy fire from two hundred deck guns, and after a while they themselves indulged in cannibalism.
The written testimony of the ship’s doctor, a friend of Lolonua, Niko Bankus, has been preserved, to some extent justifying the “forced eating of human flesh by civilized Europeans.” An experienced pirate writes: “Forced into the sea in order to survive, there are shoes, belts and leather rims of sails, we, being washed up to the islands, caught monkeys, rats, snakes, turtles, drowning out the disgusting taste of this food with rum, which we had in abundance. Lolonua’s mistress, the beautiful and insidious Laria, insisted on another landing to cut savages, drink their blood, eat their flesh.
Twice we have supported our fading forces in this way. During the third hunt, I remained in charge of the ships. Only the soul remained of the “admiral” through the efforts of the savages. Laria, as to the most valiant, leaned against me. By the power of four ships, by the courage of my comrades, during the attack on the Spanish galleon “Peretta”, a great many goods were taken in boarding battles – manufactories, precious utensils, muskets, sabers. What pleased me most of all, they took a chest with silver treasury castings. We feasted and debauched, profitably selling the loot, much better than kings.
“Tomorrow my friends and I will be sent to the gallows. No, we do not regret the atrocities committed.”
Archo Lolonua was fried and eaten. Niko Bankus was tortured and, pouring molten lead down his throat, hanged in the courtyard of Cuba’s Southern Fort. Then, in the middle of the XVII century, such things were in the order of things, no one was surprised, because wolf laws flourished everywhere – “if not you, then you”. It is no coincidence that in 1888 the Italian historian Marco Valentino called the lifestyle of filibusters “the zoology of bipeds.” In this regard, it is interesting to trace where the “career growth” of Archo Lolonua began and how it evolved.
In the winter of 1666, the governor of the French town of Poitou, Rene de Place, who several times unsuccessfully tried to catch a lucky and desperately brave robber from the Lolonua highway in order to tame him, offered a mutually beneficial deal, which the latter could not refuse. The duties of the former buffalo hunter included “robbing day and night on all available waters”, pouring a third of the booty into the bottomless chests of the greedy governor. The governor, in turn, by providing an excellent 16-gun ship, “with gunpowder, bullets, cannonballs and provisions” contributed to the fact that Lolonua soon became the terror of the Spaniards of America. At the same time, the newly-made pirate was incredibly lucky with favorable winds, easy victories, fabulous trophies.
In the autumn of 1667, fate slightly tickled the corsair’s nerves. Off the coast of Campeche, his “Devoted Servant” was caught in a terrible storm and sank among the reefs. Most of the surviving filibusters were put on spikes by the Spaniards who arrived in time. The bloody bodies were piled in a heap on the shallows. Lolonua pretended to be killed. At nightfall, he strangled a Spanish soldier who had fallen asleep at his post, changed into his uniform and, as if nothing had happened, walked through the fortress gates into the city. Unrecognized, he killed with a musket and a saber the guards guarding the pirates chained up.
Having exchanged a gold cross and rings with rubies in the port for two longboats, wanting to take revenge on the Spaniards for the disgrace as soon as possible, he boldly attacked a frigate off the coast of Cuba, which had ten guns and ninety soldiers on board. Despite the fact that the Spaniards, who were ordered by the governor of Port-au-Prince “not to return without leading the jackals to the last”, desperately resisted, Lolonua with 26 men took over. Further, “for the edification of the Spanish shrimps,” he did what even the cruel Niko Ban-kus recalled with a shudder: “Our brutalized brother ordered the prisoners to be taken one by one to the deck, where he cut off their heads with his own hand in one fell swoop. After each blow, he licked the blood flowing from the blade of the Persian saber. To the black executioner appointed by the governor for our execution, he cut off the head and fingers and, having equipped the pardoned Spaniard, sent this gift to the fortress, ordering to convey in words that if the governor did not accept, the same fate awaited him.
Black-eyed Daria, the niece of the executed frigate captain, expressed an ardent desire to remain among us, later acquiring rights equal to those of Lolonua. I’ll say more. If she hadn’t been there, we wouldn’t have had success, and the admiral would have had a dog-like devoted concubine.”
Pirate legends attribute 69 brilliant victories at sea and on land to Archo Lolonua. Some facts are reflected in ancient documents. But these “victorias” are inherently disgusting, as they carried grief, violence, and blood. As an illustration of the “exploits” of Lolonua and his gang, we quote the lines of the so-called “Report of a Spanish monk” dated at the end of 1666:
The despicable Archo Lolonua and his accomplices operated with profit for him off the eastern coast of Hispaniola, at Cape Engano. Leaving three of his ships in a remote bay, the robber hit our multi-gun frigate with one ship, carrying fifty soldiers and the same number of sailors. The cannon battle, which was replaced by a boarding battle, lasted almost three hours. Our people defended themselves with dignity. Who was shot, who was chopped up… The prize of Lolonua was 1,200,000 pounds of cocoa beans, 40 thousand silver piastres, precious stones in the transfer account for 10 thousand silver! piastrov. While Lolonua was taking the Royal Eagle, his concubine Laria, who commanded her robbers, captured the eight-gun Infanta, in the holds of which gunpowder, guns and chests with money intended for the maintenance of the garrison of Hispaniola were transported. Inspired by success, the robbers went ashore, capturing small fortresses, cutting down garrisons, using stocks of meat, flour, oil, wine. They ate cows and pigs, getting drunk and taking women by force. Without touching those who bought off, they, loaded with gold and silver, went on with a fair wind.”
Larin’s role in the success of the Lolonua raids, as already mentioned, is invaluable. Shaved bald, in men’s clothes, indistinguishable from a teenage cabin boy, she, entering into the confidence of drunken sailors in port taverns, found out what their ships were loaded with, where and when their ships were going. Lolonua had to carefully plan the upcoming “operation”, go on a collision course and take what did not belong to him.
It is not in vain that they say that female beauty is a great power. The corsair Lolonua, his accomplices painfully passed into another world. Laria is another matter. The Spanish royal judges completely acquitted her. Moreover, she married a noble nobleman. She led a respectable life on the island of Sicily. Sea robbery in more sophisticated forms was continued by others. Those for whom vice is a virtue.