Pirate Queens: #8 of 10
A French pirate, or buccaneer , Anne Dieu-Le-Veut (Anne What-God-Wants) was born circa 1650.
She was reportedly a thief deported from France to Tortuga by the order of governor Betrand d’Ogeron de la Bouere, himself a former adventurer and pirate , who in 1665 won the political post of governor of Tortuga through the power of the West India trading company.
Tortuga was a well-known pirate’s den, and to keep order, the new governor would’ve had to maintain order and allegiance with the various pirate crews who made the island their home base.
Anne would have arrived in Tortuga by ship somewhere between 1665-1668 or 1669-1675.
In Tortuga she was married off to pirate Pierre Le Long .
In 1683 (some histories place the event as late as 1693), Pierre was killed in a bar fight with well-known buccaneer Laurens de Graaf .
In keeping with the recognized way of handling disputes, Anne challenged Laurens to a land duel to avenge her husband’s death.
Laurens drew his sword, Anne drew her gun. Laurens put down his sword and said he wouldn’t fight a woman – but, impressed by her courage, he proposed to her on the spot.
Laurens already had a wife whom he’d abandoned, but from that day forward they were recognized as partners and Anne and Laurens fought side by side on raids, sharing command.
Anne had a reputation for being laconic, brave, and willful. She also didn’t back down, and this was how she earned her nickname, as people said of her that what Anne wanted, God would make happen for her.
Although it was a common superstition at the time that a woman on board brought bad luck, Anne’s presence was considered lucky.
Anne’s luck ran out in the summer of 1695. Anne and Laurens had been leading buccaneers against settlements in Jamaica on raiding expeditions. The English were fighting for control in the region, and in an attack on Port-de-Paix in Saint Dominique, captured the pirate couple.
After this, their story is lost to history. Anne is believed to have been released in 1698 and reunited with Laurens, but after that their fate isn’t clear. In some local histories, Laurens is said to have been involved in setting up a French colony near present-day Mississippi.
Another anecdote has it that they carried on a life of piracy. Privateering or even outright piratical battles in the Caribbean could indeed have been likely during the War of the Spanish Succession in 1700-1714.
In those years, French, English, and Spanish fleets were all active in shipboard battles in the West Indiesas the combatant nations fought for control.Supply ships or even island settlements were often the targets of privateers fighting for a particular side, or pirates who found a fresh opportunity to play their trade amid the chaos of a political war.
Historians don’t know the final end of Anne Dieu-Le-Veut and her partner, characterized by former privateer and Jamaican governor Henry Morgan as a ‘great and mischievous pirate,’ or by Spanish crews after several sea skirmishes in the early 1680s as the Devil incarnate.
One story often retold, which might be purely fictional but is one explanation for their sudden disappearance from history, is this one:
During the War of the Spanish Succession, Anne and Laurens attacked a Spanish ship. Laurens was killed by a cannon ball and Anne took his place as commander of his ship.
Although the crew fought hard to the last man, the pirates were outnumbered and all captured and taken to Vera Cruz, in Mexico, a city that Laurens had sacked early in the 1680s.
However, Anne’s notoriety had reached the French Marine Secretary of Pontchartrain. When he heard that the infamous buccaneer had at last been captured in a battle where she was made a widow, and that her crew had fought even though outnumbered, he wrote to Louis XIV of France and asked him to make the king of Spain intervene.
Perhaps some truce was reached, Anne was freed as a special service between kings, and she lived out a relatively peaceful life – but she disappeared from the historical record thereafter.
The story of Lauren’s death in battle, and Anne’s capture and release by royal pardon, might or might not be true.
One of the rival Spanish kings during that time was, by birth, originally a French prince – Philip V of Spain
– making it easier to negotiate a Spanish royal pardon from France. While unusual, the gesture wouldn’t have been completely implausible. Laurens is also supposed to have died in 1704 , which fits the time frame, as well.
At any rate, after a patchwork, colorful life, Anne Dieu-Le-Veut was never heard from again.
Meet more dastardly pirates in Random Magic! (More)
Pirate quote from Random Magic:
Smithy Cut-Yer-Quick jammed the tip of his knife into Henry’s back, and shoved him forward onto the deck. Pitchfork Pat scooped up his pitchfork, and feinted a jab at Henry, just out of reach. “C’mon, lad. Yer gonna die whar yer standin’ — gi’ us a good show before we tosses yer o’board to kiss the queen o’ the sea.”
“Leave him alone,” Winnie said levelly. “If you scratch even a thimble of blood out of him, I’ll make sure you regret it for the rest of your life.” (More)