Of Buccaneer Christmas, Dog as Dinner, & Cigar Smoking Women


Swordplay & Swashbucklers

Classic romanticized buccaneers! The pirate captain and his woman ashore on a Caribbean island or an isolated part of the Main, perhaps to share plunder or while careening, or simply to celebrate the holiday. We can always count on Howard Pyle to make the romantic appeal to our imaginations. And indeed, buccaneers did celebrate Christmas (and probably smoked cigars on occasion too), as I discuss below.

howard-pyle-how-the-buccaneers-kept-christmas “How the Buccaneers Kept Christmas,” Howard Pyle, Harper’s Weekly, December 16, 1899, a special two-page image suitable for framing. In fact, I have it matted and framed.


We do have multiple brief accounts of one buccaneer Christmas. Buccaneers, like other Europeans and European-derived Christian peoples, did observe the holiday, far more often with raucous, inebriated celebration than with religious devotion.

William Dampier noted that the captains of salt ships at Saltudos, or Salt Tortuga–where the very real…

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