Buccaneers of this period differed from the 18th century pirates
in that they did much more fighting on land, they were more like
amphibious raiders, using their shallow draught ships and canoes
as landing craft, to raid Spanish settlements, often deep inland.
The 18th century pirate ships usually operated alone or occasionally
in pairs, but Buccaneers often banded together to form huge fleets,
carrying hundreds of men, to make a raid. According to one observer
Buccaneer crews consisted of ex-soldiers, seamen, deserters, run
away slaves, cut throats, criminals and out and out pirates, but
by the 1660s-70s the majority of Buccaneers were ex-soldiers mostly
from the thirty years war in Europe and the civil wars in Britain,
and with the restoration of Charles II, the Cromwellian garrison
of Jamaica were discharged and added to the ranks of Buccaneers.
Under the influence of these professional soldiers the Buccaneers
made well trained troops, what they lacked in discipline they
more than made up for with their enthusiasm for their common goal,
the pursuit of plunder. During the wars between the major powers
in the Caribbean, bands of Buccaneers would hire themselves out
as mercenaries to one side or the other, (but never to the Spanish).
Of course between the major raids they spent their time attacking
Spanish, and anybody else's shipping, in this they were not much
different from the later pirates of the 18th century, using small
but heavily armed ships with a shallow draught that could easily
hide in the many inlets of the Caribbean islands.
For more information on the Buccaneers I suggest you read Osprey
Elite number 69, Buccaneers 1620-1700. ISBN 1-85532-912-3.
Style and general appearance of a Buccaneer. Whilst the great
Buccaneer Captains would have kept themselves clean and well dressed,
as befitted their status, the impression one would have got from
the average Buccaneer would be one of "faded finery".
Nothing would be too rich or ornate to cover the stinking carcass
of a "seagoing gentleman of fortune", Buccaneers loved
bright colours and rich material. Two pirates captured in 1615
were described as wearing, crimson taffeta breeches, velvet doublets
with gold buttons and velvet shirts with gold lace. It would not
be uncommon to see a lowly "scupper class" pirate wearing
a gold laced coat covered in dirt and food stains, as so much
loot was taken in raids on the Spanish main, fine clothing was
often worn by the Buccaneers, rather than being sold as part of
the loot. The things most contemporary observers remarked about
the pirates and buccaneers, was their love of display, and their
dirty and ragged appearance, and also their smell. Now I do not
suggest that you cultivate an authentic smell, or if you do, don't
come anywhere near me! But a dirty ragged look should be easy
to achieve. And as for that often heard remark in 17th century
re-enactment, "someone of your status would not wear expensive
clothing like that", as a Buccaneer your answer to that should
be, "Arr, now that be funny, cause that's just what it's
previous owner said to me, just before I slit his gizzard"