Sid Meier's Pirates
Pirates In The Media
Roche, alternatively spelled Rock or Roque, is said to have come to Brazil when
there was a Dutch colony prior to 1654, when the Portuguese forced them out. At
that time he is said to have moved to Port Royal in Jamaica and served as an
ordinary seaman. After quarrelling with the ship's captain he and some others
took the ship's boat and became buccaneers. Their first prize was a ship out of
Mexico carrying gold and silver, which they brought to Jamaica.
later, it is unclear how long or how active he was, he was captured by the
Spanish and imprisoned in Campeche, Mexico. Attempting to use fear on his
captors, he wrote a letter, supposedly from other buccaneers, stating that if
anything happened to him, the pirates would fall upon the town and kill every
Spaniard and loot the town. The ploy may have worked for Roche was not hanged in
Campeche, but he was shipped off to Spain for trial and probable execution.
Somehow he managed to escape while in Spain and managed to make his way back to
the Caribbean and Port Royal.
Returning to Campeche in 1669, his ship ran
aground and only a few crew escaped (one figure says 30) with little more than a
few muskets. They made for a known buccaneer rendezvous on the Yucatan peninsula
called Sad Gulf (modern Punta Holbox). However, they were overtaken by Spanish
cavalry and forced into a running battle as they tried to escape; the
buccaneer's musket fire may have kept the Spaniards at bay long enough to allow
the buccaneers to escape in some canoes. This is somewhat of an anomaly, if the
pirates had canoes, why do we get the impression that they were walking when the
Spanish cavalry caught up with them? The buccaneers could easily have pushed to
sea and not have had to deal with the cavalry at all. If they were on foot,
where did they, so fortunately, run across the canoes so they could escape? Here
is my take on a possible solution to this quandary:
Having run their ship
aground and barely escaped with their lives, the buccaneers, being seamen, would
have looked for the first possible chance to put to sea again. Toward this end
they would have either stolen some native canoes or piraguas, or possibly made
their own, depending upon time and proximity of natives. Whichever, the Spanish
cavalry arrived inopportunely early forcing the stranded buccaneers to fight a
delaying action while loading the canoes and setting to sea.
again set to sea, Roche was not idle as he captured a small local ship and used
it to Spanish merchant loaded with merchandise and silver. He and his crew then
returned to Jamaica. There is no record of his death.
Aside from various
tales of his brutality to friend and foe alike, that's about it. The stories go
that he would roast Spaniards tied to a wooden spit between two fires much as
one would roast a pig. Another quote from Exquemelin says that while on a
drunken binge in Port Royal, he would wander the town and attack the first
person he ran across and hack off an arm or a leg. My guess is that Exquemelin
embellished a little to better sell his book. Roche was a product of his times
and wouldn't have been the first or last to visit cruelties on the Spanish, but
running about town hacking limbs off the townsfolk would have probably gotten a
few people annoyed and spelled the end for this buccaneer.