by John Esquemeling
Alexandre Olivier Exquemelin (1645-1707) was known by several names due to poor transcriptions of his name, including John Esquemeling, among others. Despite how much he wrote chronicling the history of piracy in America, not much is clear about Exquemelin. It is believed that he was born in France, but then settled in Holland because he was a Huguenot, then later lived in Tortuga, working for the French West India Company, served as a surgeon in Amsterdam, then served as a surgeon in the Caribbean. He was said to be a part of Henry Morgan’s pirate band, and some of their exploits are accounted for in The Buccaneers of America. Yet, not even The Buccaneers is a clear historical record. The work underwent many editions and translates across various languages, from the original Dutch to Spanish, French and English. This is perhaps the most useful version, and the new edition is dedicated to Russ Charvonia, who likes a good story and works within a beach umbrella’s shadow of the most storied slice of the California coast.