Huguenot and Norman by origin, Jacques de Sores is a French corsair who terrorized the Caribbean in the middle of the 16th century.
Nicknamed the “exterminating angel”, he left a painful and lasting imprint on Cuban history.
His name remains today synonymous with devastation.
Jacques de Sores in a few words
After a short career as a smuggler, Jacques de Sores took his first steps in piracy with the famous François Le Clerc.
Known as the “Jambe de bois”, the latter was a Huguenot and a Norman like Jacques de Sores.
Le Clerc, well known for his violent crimes, also left a painful mark on Caribbean history!
The “exterminating angel” set Cuba on fire
In 1553, King Henry II sent François Le Clerc a “letter of marque”.
This letter authorized him to plunder and pillage the Caribbean.
The French king was indeed jealous of the incredible wealth amassed by the Spaniards in the Caribbean.
He thus commissioned Le Clerc (and de Sores, who accompanied him) to bring back a piece of the cake! François Le Clerc and Jacques de Sores embarked for the Caribbean at the head of 3 ships and a small army of Huguenot privateers.
Jacques de Sores, who had become Le Clerc’s second in command, was charged with the sacking of Cuba.
In 1554, he brutally attacked Santiago de Cuba.
The Castle of San Pedro de la Roca del Morro, which was under construction at the time, was completely destroyed.
In the middle of 1555, he ransacked Puerto Príncipe, Haiti’s capital.
Then, from July 10 to August 5, 1555, he set Havana on fire.
Disappointed, he did not find the spectacular quantities of gold he had imagined he would find.
It is following this attack that the Spaniards decide to launch the construction of Fort El Morro and the fortresses of Havana.
The return of Cuba: Jacques de Sores and the Jesuit missionaries Fifteen years after having put the Caribbean on fire and blood, Jacques de Sores proves that time has not softened him for a penny! Off the Canary Islands, he gets his hands on a ship of Jesuit missionaries on their way to Brazil and massacres them all.
The missionaries, victims of the cruelty of the famous pirate, are beatified by Pius IX in 1854.
Cuba, de Sores and piracy
Jacques de Sores is one of the historical figures who left a bloody and lasting mark on Cuba.
His violent crimes had a significant impact on the country, and in particular on the development of Cuban cities.
Indeed, it was as a result of the attacks carried out by de Sores that the Spaniards decided to build the fortresses that still stand today with their heavy silhouettes above the capital.
In a more general way, piracy has had a profound impact on Cuban history.
The “Jolly Roger”, the flag of the pirates, recognizable among all, is one of the emblematic flags that fly over the history of the country.