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De Veenboer (15..?-1620)


Like so many Dutch pirates De Veenboer started out by privateering with a Letter of Marque. When he didn't fare so well he began attacking ships of all nations. For a while (somewhere between 1606-1609) he was in the service of Simon the Dancer, another notorious corsair. While in Algeria he was converted to the Islam and took the name of Soliman or Slemen Reis. De Veenboer was a very succesful corsair and eventually became the Admiral of the fleet in 1617.

After some years De Veenboer wanted to return to Holland. When he attacked ships he spared the Dutch ships or when he did attack them, he made sure that the crew was not harmed. From the correspondence between the consul in Algiers, Wynant de Keyser, and the Dutch Government in 1617 it is obvious that he is trying to obtain a pardon for his actions. Relations between De Veenboer and De Keyser took a turn for the worse, however, which did not improve De Veenboers chances to return.

The crew on the ships of De Veenboer consisted mostly of Dutchmen. He usually sailed under the colours of Algiers, but when he attacked Spanish ships he raised the Dutch flag (Holland was ruled by the Duchess Isabella of Spain together with her husband Albrecht of Austria at this time). In 1618 the pirate fleet of Algiers was 50 ships large. The corsairs used them in squadrons to attack other ships. In the same year De Veenboer lost his position as admiral of the fleet. In a battle against 5 Dutch ships, one French ship and an Italian one two of these ships were captured by Mustapha Reis and another captain. De Veenboer then sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar. Because the corsairs thought that they could have taken the other 5 ships as well, Mustapha Reys, was able to take over as admiral of the corsairs in Algeria.

After having captured at least one more ship loaded with sugar, according to several records, De Veenboer decided to stay ashore in Algiers. Apparantly he changed his mind though, because in 1620 he was active again. Apparantly he had sailed out again and captured a rich French ship. Eventually his luck changed for the worse. When he took of with 4 ships in July 1620 he was caught by calm weather and was unable to escape 3 Dutch Men-of-war (under command of Captain 't Hoen, Captain Cleijnsorgh and Captain Schaeff). He managed to escape the barrage of cannon fire heavily damaged with two other ships. In August 1620 De Veenboer arrived in Algiers. A whole month was needed to repair the damaged ship. In September he took off with eight ships on what was to be his last voyage. On the 10th of October he was attacked by a squadron of 5 ships (one Dutch, two French and two English ones) and after a long battle killed by a cannonball that shattered both his legs.


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For this text I drew heavily on:
Vrijman, L.C.
Kaapvaart en zeeroverij / L.C. Vrijman. - Amsterdam, [1938]
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