In 1690, a dramatic account of piracy was published in Mexico City. The Misfortunes of Alonso Ramirez described the incredible adventures of a poor Spanish American carpenter who was taken captive by British pirates near the Philippines and forced to work for them for two years. After circumnavigating the world, he was freed and managed to return to Mexico, where the Spanish viceroy commissioned the well-kwn Mexican scholar Carlos de Siguenza y Gongora to write down Ramirez's account as part of an imperial propaganda campaign against pirates. The Misfortunes of Alonso Ramirez has long been regarded as a work of fiction-in fact, as Latin America's first vel-but Fabio Lopez Lazaro makes a convincing case that the book is a historical account of real events, albeit full of distortions and lies. Using contemporary published accounts, as well as newly discovered documents from Spanish, English, French, Portuguese, and Dutch archives, he proves that Ramirez voyaged with one of the most famous pirates of all time, William Dampier. Lopez Lazaro's critical translation of The Misfortunes provides the only extensive Spanish eyewitness account of pirates during the period in world history (1650-1750) when they became key agents of the European powers jockeying for international political and ecomic dominance. An extensive introduction places The Misfortunes within the worldwide struggle that Spain, England, and Holland waged against the ambitious Louis XIV of France, which some historians consider to be the first world war.
FABIO LOPEZ LAZARO is Associate Professor of History at Santa Clara University. He is the author of Crime in Early Bourbon Madrid (1700-1808): An Analysis of the Royal Judicial Court's Casebook. His research publications focus on legal and maritime history between 1300 and 1800 and on the interaction between Western European empires and the Americas, Asia, and the Islamic World.
Fabio T. Lopez-Lazaro
University of Texas Press
Date of Publication
Geography & Earth Science: Textbooks & Study Guides
Joe R. & Teresa Lozano Long Series in Latin American & Latino Art & Culture