Buccaneering Era > Sack of Campeche (1663)

Sack of Campeche (1663)

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Background

St. Francisco de Campeche - John Ogilby (1671)

St. Francisco de Campeche - John Ogilby (1671)

The Sack of Campeche in 1663 was a famous buccaneer raid on the fortified Spanish city of Campeche led by Christopher Myngs and Edward Mansvelt. It was one of the primary buccaneer raids of the Buccaneering Era that inspired countless others by pirates of all nations. Following his successful raid on the city of Santiago de Cuba previously, Myngs and his buccaneers set their sights on another settlement of the Spanish Main.

For this raid the largest buccaneer fleet of fourteen English ships and over 1400 buccaneers was assembled along with four French ships and three Dutch privateers.

The raid was led by Myngs aboard his flagship named the HMS Centurion along with another vice-flagship named the Griffin. Other buccaneers involved in this raid were the young Henry Morgan as well as Abraham Blauvelt and many others that are unknown.

t. Francisco de Campeche - Nicolas de Cardona (1632)

St. Francisco de Campeche - Nicolas de Cardona (1632)

The buccaneers began their journey out of Port Royal in January of 1663 and were joined by smaller vessels along the way. By February the buccaneers arrived in Campeche Bay and the buccaneers planned their invasion. About a thousand buccaneers landed a few miles from the city on 8 February and planned to make an overland invasion to sack the city. As morning broke the Spanish noticed a few small ships but did not raise the alarm because the massive 40-gun flagship lay out of their view.

Around 8:00 am the buccaneers launched their invasion of the city and were met with fierce resistance from the 150 Spanish militia who were able to defend the city by shooting at the buccaneers from the flat stone rooftops. During the brutal combat Myngs himself was injured and returned to his flagship, giving Mansvelt command. The entire battle between the Spanish and the buccaneers lasted about two hours and when the dust settled 50 Spanish and 30 buccaneers were killed. Only one Spanish official remained alive and agreed to surrender the city to the pirates.

Aftermath

St. Francisco de Campeche - Elsevier (1644)

St. Francisco de Campeche - Elsevier (1644)

The total haul from the city was around 150,000 pieces of eight and the buccaneers also seized fourteen ships in the harbor. Following this engagement Myngs would return to England due to his injuries and the rest of the buccaneers returned to their havens throughout the West Indies to spend their newfound wealth.

The complete and utter devastation of the raid on the city of Campeche had great ramifications and consequences for the rest of the New World. The Spanish were so outraged by the sacking and plundering of the city that king Charles had to agree to cease all state-sponsored buccaneering on the Spanish Main.

However, this would not stop the buccaneers and in 1667 Henry Morgan would follow Myngs and raid the city of Puerto Principe and throughout the entire Buccaneering Era many other raids would occur on Spanish settlements.

Buccaneer Raids

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources