The Pirates Laffite: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf

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The Pirates Laffite: The Treacherous World of the Corsairs of the Gulf

Author: William C. Davis
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Copyright: 2005
Pages: 736
Cover Price: $ 16.95

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"Jean and Pierre Laffite's lives were intertwined with the most colorful period in New Orleans' history, the era from just after the Louisiana Purchase through the War of 1812. Labeled as corsairs and buccaneers for methods that bordered on piracy, the brothers ran a privateering cooperative that provided contraband goods to a hungry market and made life hell for Spanish merchants on the Gulf. Later they became important members of a syndicate in New Orleans that included lawyers, bankers, merchants, and corrupt U.S. officials. But this allegiance didn't stop them from becoming paid Spanish spies, handing over information about the syndicate's plans and selling out their own associates." In 1820 the Laffites disappeared into the fog of history from which they had emerged, but not before becoming folk heroes in French Louisiana and making their names synonymous with piracy and intrigue on the Gulf.

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Background Information

New Orleans, near the mouth of the Mississippi, was the principal city in French America and became the capital of the state of Louisiana. With the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the United States acquired from France all its territorial claims on the North American continent, from the Gulf of Mexico to present day Canada. Sometimes called the second American war for independence, the War of 1812 was the last battle against foreign troops on American soil. The warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico border five southern states from Texas to Florida. By a decision of the Pope, Spain divided the New World with Portugal, but its influence was primarily felt in Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico. The State of Louisiana represents the oldest and at the time most settled portion of the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Privateering is non-governmental piracy than has been legitimized by one side in a military conflict against the other.