Archaeological discoveries

The pirate cemetery on Ile Sainte-Marie

During the 17th and 18th centuries many pirates took over Ile Sainte-Marie (Santa Maria Island), off the coast eastern Africa and near Madagascar, as a home and even as a place for “eternal rest”, as there is still an incredible pirate cemetery there. The location attracted pirates because it was not far from the routes to the East and also because it offered favorable conditions to hide ships and obtain means for crews to supply the vessels with food resources, obtain wood for repairs on the vessels, in addition, of course, to serve resting place for pirates who crossed the seas in search of fortune.

A city of pirates was eventually established on the island, who lived there free from the laws that framed them as maritime criminals and rumors indicate that a true autonomous republic prevailed there on the “Island of the Pirates” (as Ile Sainte-Marie was identified in a 1733 map). As it was a place of coexistence and even residence for pirates, a cemetery was also established on the island in which even the famous William Kidd (1645-1701) was buried there (and, as they say, he was buried in an upright position because of his various sins). In the cemetery there are currently only 30 identified graves and island residents report that in the past many others were seen there. The site is in ruins and has been degraded both by lack of conservation and by the action of natural factors, but it is an interesting historical setting.

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