Pirate Madagascar

The War of the Grand Alliance is in its third year.
The Glorious Revolution is in its third year.
Leisler’s Rebellion in the New York colony.
First paper money issued in America.
The first of the Great Serbian Migrations (in response to Ottoman aggression).

April 1690:
Frederick Mission was a young man of 22 when he boarded the Francois, a 40-gun French frigate(1). He was an educated man but found himself an outlaw for refusing to pay what he called “unfair taxes”. Rather than find himself in jail, and as a means to escape several creditors (it seems the government wasn’t the only organization he refused to pay), he became a sailor. For a year and a day he mastered the skills necessary for life on the ocean and became respected by both the command and the crewmen.

The War of the Grand Alliance is in its fourth year (the French recapture Mons).
The Glorious Revolution: Jacobite resistance is quelled at the Battle of Aughrim.
Leisler’s Rebellion is put down in New York.
Massachusetts Bay Colony and Plymouth Colony are united into one colony by an act of the King and Queen of England.

April 1691:
On the 17th of April 1691 along the Gold Coast the Francois came upon the HMS Constant Warwick, a British frigate which matched the Francois mussel for mussel. An hour they traded broadsides before a lucky shot from the Constant Warwick clipped the foresail of the Francois; debris rained down killing many of the officers. Frederick, perhaps as a measure of self preservation, began shouting orders: there was an exchange of broadsides and a showering of grapeshot from the deck guns. The two wooden beasts ran abreast but the Constant Warwick’s sails were in better shape and so she was able to pull ahead. As the British warship began to come about (for what her captain must have thought was the killing shot), Frederick ordered the tangle mess of the mast debris cast overboard; canvas and rope caused a drag and the ship tilted port bringing her guns to bear. Perhaps a lapse in judgment, or perhaps arrogance on behalf of the British captain, in either case as the Constant Warwick was coming about the ship graced into Close Reach(2) which slowed her turn and exposed her flank. With round-shot at the ready Frederick gave the order to fire: 15 iron balls raked the aft quarter of the British warship – there was an explosion, and the enemy vessel began to sink. If Frederick had a failing it was his tendency towards clemency. When he was sure the Constant Warwick was no longer a threat he ordered the Francois into close range to pick up any survivors.

Frederick pulled 12 British sailors out of the drink– bringing the total compliment of the Francois to 215 (out of the original 300 crew 97 had died in the battle). There was talk of what to do next – hardly a man favored a return to France. In short order a decision was made to enter in business for themselves with Frederick Mission as their captain. He gave orders to make for Axim(3) – the closest friendly port where they could refit their ship.

They put into Axim under the flag of a French warship in need of repair.

May 1691:
They acquired supplies and repairs and then, on the night of the 25th of May, they sacked Axim – although Mission attempted to talk his crew out of it. They netted 5000 in goods and coin. Mission renames their vessel the Victoire.

Three days later on the 28th of May Mission chased down a Dutch fluyt(4) by the name of Mercurius – a slave ship. A single broadside and several minutes of hand-to-hand ended in the capture of the fluyt – although a sizable cache of whisky was obtained there was little to make a purse jingle. Captain Mission put off the slaves and the crew of the Mercurius, kept the fluyt, and sailed away.

June – August 1691:
Between June and August Captain Mission captured two more slave ships – a second Dutch fluyt by the name of Kameel and a Spanish galleon by the name of La Concepcion. Again, Mission put off the slaves and the crews of the two ships…although Mission records that 7 members of the Kameel opted to join his band of pirates rather than be put off ship.

In late August the crew of the Victoire was beginning to question their choice for captain. Several months at sea and the only large haul had been the raid of Axim – and Mission had been initially against that. Fearing a revolt Mission set his sights on netting something to please his crew. On the 25th of August he sighted a French merchantman(5) north of Cape Town – the name is not recorded. Though he intended to capture the ship and crew this would not be the case. In a rare expression of anger, so incensed by the stubborn fight the French vessel put up that once the battle had been won, and the crew kneeling at sword point, Mission ran the French captain through, cannibalized the merchantman of all goods and useful material, and then set it adrift with what remained of the crew. In his log book Mission’s entry for this day reads: “Today I have done a very bad thing.”

September – October 1691:
The events of late August must have weighed on Frederick Mission. For a man who typically made a log entry nearly every day there is but one for September which mentioned a storm they fought through while rounding the Cape of Good Hope. From stories we can safely say that the storm was fairly harsh and through unspecified acts of leadership and gallantry it was Mission who carried the Victoire into the Indian ocean – if the stories are to be believed very nearly single-handedly.

By mid October Mission was looking for a safe haven. The ship was in need of repair and he himself had become fatigue with life aboard ship and in part also due to some unrest aboard ship – a large store of spirits was on hand but Mission rationed the ale while at sea. Madagascar was sighted and set sail for.

The Portuguese were the first Europeans to make the attempt at colonizing the island around 1600 but after nearly 20 years of imposing themselves (and Catholic missionaries) the natives forced the Portuguese colony to disband. The French followed in 1640, establishing Fort Dauphin in 1643 (along the southeast coast), and a small colony on the Isle of Saint Mary (a small island about 12 miles off the northeast coast). Both the fort and the colony were largely abandoned in 1674 due to native troubles although a small outpost remained on Saint Mary – a war-sloop(6) as their main means of defense.

Captain Mission confronted the small outpost and its war-sloop but the French captain would deny the game on this day. Though the sloop was more maneuverable it could not match the strength of the Victoire. Knowing his crew needed a fight Mission next set them on the 25 French soldiers who had been left behind to guard the outpost (10 of the soldiers would be taken alive).

Salem witch trials begin in Salem Massachusetts.
The pivotal naval battle of La Hougue is won by the British Royal Navy (the War of the Grand Alliance enters is 5th year).
Diego de Vargas leads the Spanish to victory at Santa Fe after a 12 year exile due to the Pueblo Revolt.

November 1691 – March 1692:
Saint Mary’s became Missions port of call. He spent long weeks exploring the coast of Madagascar and ventured out to pillage the trade lanes only once his crew had vanquished the supplies on hand. More and more the crew found themselves disappointed by the raids as Mission often chased down slave ships only to free the cargo and maroon the crew, acts that would soon gain the attention of the empires that had come to depend on the slaves (the feelings of unrest among Mission’s crew were put aside once Mission began selling off some of the ships he had accumulated to Arab strongholds to the north). In early march Mission notes two changes to how he had been running things. First off, he uses his own fortune to pay some of his men to begin building things around the island – first being a proper home for himself. Secondly, he also began allowing a trusted friend and his first lieutenant, a man by the name of Henry Wilks, to command the Victoire for short excursions (Mission would remain behind to see to other projects on the island, mainly the carving up of the Mercurius to lay the ground work for a palisade and the placement of the Dutch fluyts guns to defend the small haven).

On the 23rd of March two Portuguese ships appeared on the horizon (a 10-gun brigantine(7) by the name of Pedro and a 20-gun brig(8) called the Audaz II ). The French war-sloop that had so skillfully, and cowardly, evaded the Victoire had been captured a few weeks later by the Portuguese. The ousting of the French to a lowly pirate signaled to Peter II that perhaps Portugal’s reemergence on the world stage could mean it was time to take back Madagascar. It would not be so. Mission’s island defenses were not yet completed so he set sail with the Victoire to do battle. He was able to coax the two ships apart and thus take them on one at a time. The Audaz II would have made for the better prize but she exploded. Mission would have to settle for the Pedro which surrendered after being boarded.

Though victorious in battle, and plunder enough to give each man some coin, Frederick would find that his men seemed all the more unhappy. A division was growing between those who felt they had over stayed their welcome on Saint Mary and wanted to get back out to sea and those who enjoyed the freedom of life on the island and the wages being paid to them by Mission (though one would assume that if the wages suddenly stopped so would the feeling of wellbeing towards the island and all the hard work). Though Mission and Wilks (icons for the opposing views) remained friends and did what they could to mediate between the rancorous crew it was apparent that something more drastic would need to be done.

April 1692:
The fighting among the crew continued though only two deaths are noted. Mission suspends all sea travel fearing that his ship might be forced from him once away from land.

Deciding to make his stand on land might have been Mission’s undoing if not for the arrival of the Amity, a specialized sloop (10 guns instead of the typical 8 two of which were long guns for attacking at a distance), captained by Thomas Tew. Tew and his crew were still giddy from their victory over a Mogul(9) treasure ship (which was taken without losing a single man) and had caught wind of a pirate safe-haven on Madagascar so decided to put in for some rest and recreation. Rest there was but little recreation besides drink and gambling. Nonetheless, the visit proved to calm the bluster between factions on the island.

A week later Tew was gone and Mission’s problems resurfaced.

May 1692:
On May the 17th 1692 five British men-of-wars(10) entered into sight of Saint Mary’s Island (sent by the crown to investigate the pirates who had been attaching the slave ships). The call to arms was sounded; Mission took command of the Victoire, with Wilks captaining the Pedro - the Spanish galleon La Concepcion was undermanned and so was left to guard the bay (all other prizes had either been sold or carved up for use on the island or for spare parts for the main vessels). For five hours the two fleets battled each other: the air echoed with the roar of broadsides, decks were awash in splinters, debris and body parts, sails flapped useless for the tears through the canvas. In hour two, Wilks was disemboweled by a round-shot – followed shortly after by the Pedro exploding – by this point in the battle one British ship was being swallowed by the sea and another smoked heavily. By hour five, daylight was fading fast so Mission decided on a desperate move: ram one of the enemy vessels and have the fight decided by sword point. Before action could be taken there appeared in the distance another ship – it was the Amity…but without captain Tew, who had died while battling a Mogul merchant ship. The Amity was already firing upon the remaining British ships with her long guns – by hour five, with two ships remaining, the commander of the British fleet felt it was time to cut his losses.

There was much celebrating that night – Wilks and Tew were honored and buried.

Three days later, on the night of the 20th of May, Mission’s settlement was attacked by the Sakalawa(11). They were aware that pirates had taken up refuge on the island and were fearful of the attention this was bringing. They attacked at night, assuming that a night raid would win them a quick victory, and planned on using the confiscated weapons from the pirate camp to conquer the rest of the kingdoms of Madagascar.

Mission describes the events of the 20th of May as “chaos!” He lost 50 men in the first 15 minutes and if not for the placement of the cannons from the prize ships and what protection the unfinished palisade offered all would have certainly been lost. The Sakalawa were driven back.

On the morning of the 21st of May Mission’s band of pirates had been reduced to about 400.

On the morning of the 22nd of May Mission’s band of pirates had been further reduced to about 300. 97 men forced their way onto the Amity, overpowering its crew, and sailed away.

June 1692:
Frederick Mission had come to realize that if his attempt at creating a safe-haven was going to work his colony was going to need protection. His first act was to visit the tribes of the Betsimisaraka. They were a people of the east coast and friendly enough that Mission had been doing some light trade with them that had begun not too long after his arrival on Saint Mary. The Betsimisaraka were not happy with the Sakalawa for violating their territory in order to strike at Mission and his colony (though collectively had decided to wait and see what the outcome of the attack was going to be before moving against the Sakalawa). In exchange for continued trade and protection from other Malagasy tribes(12) Mission promised to give the Betsimisaraka a small number of muskets and gunpowder.

Though aware that he was dealing with individuals that dealt heavily in the slave trade, not only intra-island but internationally as well (a subject and act Mission had a deep resentment of) he had little choice but to make the alliance.

Around mid-June Frederick Mission set sail with the Victoire – other than brief stopovers he would not return to the island for nearly two months.

July – August 1692:
Between July and August Mission looted ships bound for Europe of their silks, cloth, spices, and jewels. Ships going in the opposite direction to India were robbed of their coin, gold, and silver. He had no qualms about pillaging pilgrims either – the sea route from Surat in India and Mocha on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula was a favorite of his stalking grounds (wealthy Muslims often carried jewels and fine clothing). For every merchant or warship he looted Mission made it a point to hunt down as many slave ships. Over the course of two months between the Gold Coast and the Arabian Penninsula the Victoire captured three slave ships, setting free the cargo, and imprisoning the crew (a change from his previous actions of marooning them).

On a return trip to Saint Mary around the first of August to drop off supplies for the colony as well as 20 prostitutes who agreed (for a price of 20 gold coins each) Mission also disembarked with nearly 100 prisoners. He gave orders to twenty men (after paying them) to put the prisoners to work clearing some land for planting.

September 1692:
When Mission returned for a long needed rest he was not thrilled by the state of his colony. He describes in his log that it wasn’t the chaos (as he was himself an anarchist(13)) but the disorganization. Many of his comrades still slept where they dropped or crowded onto one of the several ships he had brought back to port. Food went to waste and filth piled up. When he set sail in July he had a plan: part one and two of that plan had, he felt, been satisfied; one: he had plundered many ships and left many survivors so that his name and deeds would spread to others of his kind (in the hopes of bringing them to his island), two: he had accumulated a large treasury with which to see to the needs of his colony. The third part of his plan lay in returning to France and acquiring a pardon…and perhaps a Letter or Marquee(14).

For now his mind had turned to matters of home. He paid for the construction of a tavern – which would also serve as a brothel. He also ordered the building of a storage house for the goods and perishables – which would serve as a store as well. He ordered that the stockade built to house the prisoners be expanded to include cells and a dry enclosure. Lastly, although he didn’t pay for this, he encouraged others to have homes built for themselves (with only 90 servants(15) - as several had died in an escape attempt and a few others were killed as examples, and a few more died due to harsh treatment - and a handful of paid pirates doing the building it would take several months for all of these plans to be finished. In part to encourage the building of homes Mission put out a call for new lieutenants and captains – a criteria for which was a certain amount of cleanliness and prestige (example: an actual building where they slept). Over the course of the next few months Mission named three new captains and 10 new lieutenants.

Captain Louis Gau was given the schooner(16) Tidwell, Captain William Yard was given the Brig Adventure, and Captain Leo Gauss was given the galleon La Concepcion.

The War of the Grand Alliance enters its 6th year (the costly victory of Landen is won by the French, Charleroi falls to the French).
The English parliament begins discussing alternative options in regards to their forced labor practices.
China concentrates foreign trade in Canton – all foreign ships are forbidden from landing anywhere eles.

February 1693:
With his colony a little more respectable Mission set sail for France in the first week of February with a minimal crew of 100 (his last order before boarding ship was that the prisoners should begin working the cleared land with the tools and seed that he had accumulated – there were a number of current pirates who in their former lives toiled on farms who could oversee the planting project).

March 1693:
With little trouble the Victoire arrived in Lorient(17) around the 28th of March. While Mission made plans to speak with the regional Intendant(18) his crew went about recruiting.

In the ensuing weeks Mission was arrested, spent ten days in jail, was then pardoned, and finally given a Letter of Marquee. After presented with Mission’s case (working in his favor was his success against British and Portuguese ships) the agreement that was finally reached was thus: Mission and those under his command would refrain from attacking French ships or French interests. Mission and those under his command would take every opportunity to engage British ships and British interests (with a focus on disrupting the English East Indian Company).

In return for this Mission and all under his command would be able to seek refuge in French ports. Added to this was the special backing of the French East Indian Company who would pay for upgrades to the Victoire and all the supplies she could carry.

In addition to this news Mission was happy to hear that his actions against the slave trade had freed an estimated 10,000 – the cost for the affected countries running into the millions as loss of property mounted and now more and more slave ships were being escorted by warships. Not only that but further disruptions were in progress as the freed slaves had formed into war parties and actively attacked slavers – both European and indigenous. There was even talk in the British parliament of reviewing their options in regards to forced labor – some were seeking to put a greater emphasis on domestic indentured servitude (which in turn would ship far more undesirables to the New World). Spain, it seems, was the only country which had redoubled its efforts to bring in more slave labor – Spain, as an empire, was in trouble; over extended, reduced returns on trade goods, a diminishing labor force, power struggles between New World governors and the crown, dynastic troubles at home.

The Victoire’s refit: 10 of her 40 guns were replaced by bronze cannons (hailed for their increase in accuracy). The hull was reinforced with iron scantlings. Nearly all of the rigging was replaced.

June 1693:
Frederick Mission returned home around the 22nd of June 1693. He was laden with wares, munitions, 150 new recruits, 10 specialists (two doctors – who didn’t really come of their own volition – several carpenters, and two cooks - self professed cooks but Mission wasn’t picky), and 5 new prostitutes.

He was also interested to find out that Saint Mary’s had been visited by two pirates of note: Henry Avery and William Kidd (Avery was particularly taken by the colony and had left behind several of his men with orders to build him a cabin).



1) Frigate: though there are several grades essentially a frigate is a warship typically used for patrolling and escort (the Victoire is an example of a fifth-grade frigate). A fast, square-rigged, sleek ship that was highly valued by all (not only for the expense in building but for its abilities under a good captain and crew).

2) Close Reach: this is a point of sail that approaches an upwind angle (not into the wind but near to).

3) Axim: a French port at this time (though built by the Portuguese and Dutch). A trade center and fort along the Gold Coast.

4) Fluyt: typically a cargo vessel with minimal armaments (~8-guns) and a large hold size. Small crews of 12 to 15 men and a shallow draft which allowed these ships to enter rivers, coves, and small harbors inaccessible to larger vessels.

5) Merchantman: similar to a fluyt but a larger cargo vessel which often took on passengers. It was also more heavily armed (12 to 15-guns) although generally slow and poorly maneuverable.

6) War-Sloop: a sloop is a small single mast vessel. Highly maneuverable and quick, even in light wind, with a shallow draft and despite its minimal armament (~8-guns) this ship was a favorite of pirates and privateers. A war-sloop is simply a larger version of the sloop.

7) Brigatine: a medium sized, two-masted vessel (the foremast typically square-rigged) which was highly maneuverable (quick to come about). Often used as an escort ship. The design is similar to the brig and a war-brig.

8) Brig: a medium sized, two-masted vessel (both were square rigged) used as both a warship and a cargo vessel. Well armed (~24-guns) and sturdy with a crew of about 150.

9) Mogul: the Mughal Empire was a large and powerful Indian Kingdom established in 1526 which lasted until the early 1700’s – although even as it crumbled it held sway in the region well into the 19th century.

10) Man-of-war: a warship (~70-guns) with a large crew (~250). As with frigates there are many grades – those that attacked Saint Mary were of the third-grade.

11) Sakalawa: A tribe of Madagascar which controlled the west and south. By early-1600’s they had consolidated into an organized kingdom with several allies among the smaller kingdoms. By the late 1600’s to early 1700’s the Sakalawa had begun to dissolve as a unified kingdom.

12) Malagasy: the ethnic group that makes up the people of Madagascar (generally of Malayo-Polynesian anscestry).

13) Anarchist: anarchism as a philosophy is not the absence of law or the disintegration of society but rather the absence of any recognizable or established authority. They believe in the rights of the individual v.s. the state but also encourage the work of a collective towards a common goal.

14) Letter of Marquee: issued by a government it is essentially a license to plunder thereby allowing a nation to battle an enemy without going to war (plausible deniability as it were).

15) Servants: Mission, who hated the concept of slavery, used this euphuism when speaking of his own slave labor (often interchanged with the word prisoners). His justification for this labor was that he was putting to work those who would have elsewise enslaved others.

16) Schooner: a two-masted vessel with a fore-and-aft gaff rigged sail. Fast but lightly armed (~6-gun). Used typically for scouting and coastal actions.

17) Lorient: a French port in Brittney, hub of the French East Indian Company.

18) Intendant: an appointed office used by France and Spain, similar to regional governors.
Sorry for the delay. You know how it is – trying to come up with an interesting format, the question over how much detail to put into the TL, the balance between an honest/plausible TL and a good story, plus I was sick for a few days.

Anyway, here it is, hopefully worth the wait. This is just a taste, there’s more to come.
"The first of the Great Serbian Migrations (in response to Ottoman aggression)."

Mind to explain further and to where ?


Interesting to see how this will pan out.....although I don't see how this pirate state could survive much longer(without the distraction of the war of the Grand Alliance). Has the POD had any major effect beyond Madagascar and the East African slave states yet?
"The first of the Great Serbian Migrations (in response to Ottoman aggression)."

Mind to explain further and to where ?

I’m not up on my Hapsburg and Ottoman history per se but the migration of 1690 was a large push out of the Balkans and into Pannonia (many of which ended up settling in Slavonia).

Interesting to see how this will pan out.....although I don't see how this pirate state could survive much longer(without the distraction of the war of the Grand Alliance). Has the POD had any major effect beyond Madagascar and the East African slave states yet?

Ah, don’t worry, things are in motion that will protect the pirate state. As for butterflies, not many just yet – at least no great changes came to mind as I was drawing up this first segment.

Arise, ye prisoners of Starvation...

Too soon?

I'm assuming the slavers are Arabs?

Mission does not discriminate between slavers – all are fair game. Or did I misunderstand you question?

Cool. I'm guessing the POD is Frederick Mission becoming a pirate, but is it something else?

The POD is actually the attack by the English and the night raid by the natives. It seems that the pirate camp didn’t plan in the way of defense. Although they were able to drive off the English, as they had with the Portuguese, the battle wasn’t a victory (the pirate ships took lots of damage, many hands lost). That same night the natives attacked a greatly reduced, largely unprotected, and weary pirate camp and drove them from the island. In retreat, Mission was lost at sea somewhere around the Cape of Good Hope – Tew actually made it out alive and went back to raiding the Caribbean for a bit (before being killed in battle in 1694).
Interesting start although I'm curious on why the conflicts didn't continue between Mission & the rest of his crew...I guess that's why Mission will start up a police force or something to give him some measure of security?
Most of those who opposed Mission left when the Amity was captured (after the battle with the British), so there hasn't been any factional disputes since then.
I’m not up on my Hapsburg and Ottoman history per se but the migration of 1690 was a large push out of the Balkans and into Pannonia (many of which ended up settling in Slavonia).

:rolleyes: Hmm, I thought the Serbians' (maybe not all of them though...) stance at those times were generally pro-Ottoman. They even once rebelled towards their local native ruler "on the behalf of Sultan", didn't they ?

I hope in TTL you won't make the "Ottoman Yoke" exaggerated as usual, 'kay ? ;)

Not, a bad idea though.;) Actually when I saw that part of Serbian migration, what popped in my mind was....

"...Serbian side of the island ?! :eek: Drool... :D"


Overall, nice start. :):cool:
Nicely done here

You wouldn't happened to have played Tropico 2: Pirates Cove by any chance, eh? ;)

I actually had to look up what this was (although, having see the game now I think I may try and sit down with it and see if it gives me any ideas). There is a game I used to play a lot called Blackbeard that has given me some ideas for this TL.

:rolleyes: Hmm, I thought the Serbians' (maybe not all of them though...) stance at those times were generally pro-Ottoman. They even once rebelled towards their local native ruler "on the behalf of Sultan", didn't they ?

I hope in TTL you won't make the "Ottoman Yoke" exaggerated as usual, 'kay ? ;)

Not, a bad idea though.;) Actually when I saw that part of Serbian migration, what popped in my mind was....

"...Serbian side of the island ?! :eek: Drool... :D"


Overall, nice start. :):cool:

Ottoman history isn’t a strong point of mine but from what I gather the loyalty of the Serbians mainly depended on which side of the fence was making the best offer at the time. I believe the 1690 migration was due to Ottoman pushing back into the region after a lapse in control.

Don’t worry, I try not to give preferential treatment to any one kingdom, empire, or nation – well, maybe the Celts but that’s a blood thing. :D

Thanks for the comments guys!
This is a cool TL for sure, I'm interested to see where it goes.

And yeah, the notes are cool (I already know about the various types of ships, but it was still nice).


This is a very interesting TL and an original concept.

By the mention of those mainly Caribbean pirates coming to Madagascar in the final paragraph, I wonder if this will have repercussions in the Americas.

I like the vignettes at the start of each year summing up the world situation.

The only thing is a few minor spelling errors: letter of marque, not marquee; men-of-war, not men-of-wars; East India Company, not East Indian Company; and Brittany, not Brittney. But that's a minor thing. This is obviously very well researched. Continue!
July – October 1693:
Mission found most of his success against British interests through the summer and fall of 1693. Through the summer British trade ships became a frequent target – netting a supposed 50,000 ₤. Soon warships began to heavily patrol the trade lanes. So, Mission switched his targets to raids; sacking Accra, Dixcove along the Gold Coast and raided even Surat and Bombay (although the Bombay raid met with many casualties – Mission himself was shot although he would recover). As patrols increased along coastlines Mission shifted his attention to the Caribbean but as these waters were unknown to him this excursion was less successful and ended almost as soon as he arrived.

Although the British had won a major naval battle at La Hougue the crown’s fleet was not so big as to be able to be everywhere at once. The strain on British shipping to and from India (and lands further east) would allow French merchants (the French East Indian Company – which had previously been floundering) to expand their interests.

Mission, however, knew that his luck would not last forever. Working in his favor was the war France and England were involved in and the rumors about himself. It was said that he was a great and powerful pirate king with thousands of men at his command and an armada of ships. In truth the idea of being made a king was the last thing on Mission’s mind (although he did enjoy the level of respect and importance he carried on Saint Mary – a colony he did consider to be his). As for thousands of men, in truth the numbers varied between about 400 and 600 (a figure that includes prostitutes and prisoners). The armada of ships at his command was closer to the truth. Besides the Victoire he had three additional ships who’s captains were in direct allegiance to him and generally two or three other ships in port who’s captains could be depended on to help (as long as the odds weren’t too out of favor). Still, eventually the powers-that-be would turn the full of their attention on him and his colony.

It is important to note that during this time Mission captured only one slave ship, a Dutch galleon.

The War of the Grand Alliance enters its 7th year (no major actions were taken this year although a British treasure fleet is captured off of Gibraltar by a French naval force).
Warwick, England, suffers from a great fire.
Queen Mary II of England dies (leaving her husband William III sole ruler).

February 1694:
Mission captures one of his greatest prizes in early February of this year: the Ridderschap van Holland, the largest Dutch merchantman ever built.

On the 14th of February Mission captures a Spanish war galleon transporting slaves. The Victoire takes heavy damage but Mission is able to get his ship in close and sends over a boarding party which turns the tide of battle.

Henry Avery, a periodic inhabitant of Saint Mary, and his crew of the Fancy (a fourth-rate frigate), although already known in the community he and his crew begin to make a name for themselves (Henry was first mate aboard a privateer hired by the Spanish to combat pirates and French interests – he mutinied, murdered the captain, and made sail for the Red Sea in 1693, arriving in Saint Mary that same year).

Aware of Henry’s persuasiveness and the fickle loyalties of pirates Mission begins to foster a friendship with another of Saint Mary’s periodic guests, William Kidd. Unfortunately after only a few brief encounters Kidd departs and does not return to the island until 1696.

March 1694:
Mission notes in his log the marriage (although he never writes the word marriage) of 17 members of Saint Mary to Betsimisaraka women. He is quite pleased with himself – his own words.

April – May 1694:
There are several brawls between Mission loyal pirates and Avery loyalists.
On the 13th of May Mission’s tavern is burnt down and several men are killed in the largest of the fights between the factions. Avery and his crew are ousted from the island (he journeys to the Comoro(1) Islands where he makes several modifications to the Fancy – she is careened(2) and razeed(3) and adds, through capture, 10 guns to his 46-gun ship, and 40 new crewmates).

June-December 1694:
Little action is noted although Mission mentions one of his few battles against an Ottoman merchantman and its warship escort - the Victoire is forced to withdraw from this battle.
Mission’s tavern is rebuilt.
There are now several families from Betsimisaraka and allied tribes living on Saint Mary.

The Ottoman Empire has a new emperor, Mustafa II.
The War of the Grand Alliance enters its 8th year: Although both the British and Dutch fleets were off balance from Frances allies among the pirates Louis XIV is only able to win draws against his opponents during engagements in the Mediterranean – the Gibraltar blockade is successfully broken however; France is dealt a major defeat on the continent at the Battle of Namur.

January – May 1695:
Little of interest occurs for the inhabitants of Saint Mary during at this time.

June – July 1695:
The schooner Tidwell is captured by Henry Avery. Although most of the crew is spared Captain Louis Gau, one of Mission’s captains, is put to death.

Around the 14th of July the Victoire engages the Fancy in battle – Avery withdraws.

August 1695:
On the 10th of August Avery, with his ships the Fancy, Tidwell, and the recently captured war-sloop Duke took a 60-gun Mogul treasure ship Gang-I-Sawai (the ship was defended by 500 musketeers but an early piece of luck would ensure the victory – one of the Gang-I-Sawai cannons exploded). The 600,000 pounds of goods and coin would make Avery one of the wealthiest pirates of all time.

In the aftermath of the loss of the Gang-I-Sawai the British are blamed which further hinders England’s influence and ability to conduct business in the region (in contrast, France’s exposure in the region grows).

In late August the Tidwell docked at Saint Mary under flag of truce. Avery had a message for Mission (and money to spread around Saint Mary). The two meet near Mauritius(4). Under the arrangements to meet: neither ship would run-up their cannons(5) and since they didn’t trust each other they shouted to one another from their respective decks. After several hours of shouting, and a bribe of 1500 in gold to Mission, they declared peace and made for Saint Mary.

September – October 1695:
Henry made good use of his fortune. He built his own tavern – and shipped in his own prostitutes. He built a storehouse and trade shop to offer goods, with lower prices to that of Missions.

The rivalry between the Avery faction and the Mission faction was not a quiet affair. There were nightly brawls and several fires – both Avery and Mission had taken to walking around with a personal guard. By the middle of September the goodwill Mission had hoped would continue between Avery and him had dried up. Mission disliked the loud brute (as noted in Mission’s log book: “the man never shuts up!”) besides, the money Avery was throwing around was certainly turning loyalties.

Leo Gauss, the captain of the La Concepcion, had been a loyal member of Mission’s pirates but had recently been taking up Avery’s banner (at least verbally) – Mission became aware of Gauss’s shifting loyalty around the 30th of October. Mission, for obvious reasons, took exception to Avery pouching his supporters and Gauss’s backstabbing. On October 31st Mission confronted Gauss, in Avery’s tavern. A fight broke out, swords were drawn, and blood was spilled: Frederick Mission, run through the heart, was killed by Henry Avery.


1) Comoro: is an archipelago between Madagascar and mainland east Africa.

2) Careened: in short, beaching a ship.

3) Razeed: the act of cutting away sections of a ships superstructure (the reduction of overall strength is made up for in speed and maneuverability).

4) Mauritius: a series of islands off the east coast of Madagascar.

5) Run-up their cannons: a term which means to make cannons ready for battle.