Great entries so far! Couldn't let this one slide myself so I'm in. I actually decided to get in the ring about a month ago, but couldn't figure out what to do with the subject '10'. I only knew I didn't want to take it so literally so I did some random sketches and penned down some idea's, but nothing came up for a while. That was until I started listening to Stephen King's audiobook from 'The Stand' while doing some straight forward painting on another commission. I absolutely adore everything that comes with lots of lore - and The Stand comes with tons of it - so I figured, why not write up my own Wikipedia-like lore and build around that. Anyway, that's what I did, so here goes.[b][u] LaGrande & the 10 Sea Beggars[/u][/b] LaGrande (Italian: La Grande, literally The Great) is the name of the flagship of the infamous buccaneer Bartholomew The Cutthroat Van Helgen. Together with the 10 Sea Beggars he formed a massive fleet that plundered and pillaged over 120 Spanish settlements and ships along the Caribbean coastlines during the first period of the Golden Age of Piracy.
LaGrande (variously written as LaGrande or LeGrand) was originally a fully rigged frigate called The Minotaur and was built in England in 1713. Later the ship was modified to hold more cargo, including slaves and was used by the English as a slave ship, until she was captured by the pirate Marcos Robert Moore on August 11, 1716. Moore turned her over to one of his men Bartholomew Van Helgen, later known as ‘The Cutthroat’ and made him her captain. Van Helgen modified her again, this time almost doubling her in size, and renamed her LaGrande.
On November 21, Moores fleet went ashore Tortuga. For the coming years they used it as their homeport, mostly due to the fact that the early English governors of Jamaica freely granted letters of marque to Tortuga buccaneers and to their own countrymen. Moore and Van Helgen used that as an excuse to raid the Caribbean shorelines together for some time, until in 1719 Moores ship was found wrecked and abandoned on an uncharted reef somewhere between New Providence and Mexico. The entire crew, including Moore, was missing. The LaGrande who harbored in Tortuga as well, never showed up again. Nor did any of the other ships that were part of Moore’s original fleet.
Around 1727 several settlements and ports got ransacked and burned to the ground by (according to a few survivors) a fleet that consisted of an enormous frigate and 10 smaller galleons. All hoisted a black flag that depicted a hand shaking the hand of a skeleton, with a knapsack connecting the two. It was the same logo that was used by the famous Sea Beggars who in 1566 opposed Spanish rule in the Netherlands. The only difference was that the Sea Beggars original emblem consisted of two normal hands shaking each other.
Since then more and more raids took place around the Caribbean by a similar fleet. More and more survivors and stories found their way around, but none could be backed up by physical proof, other than burned down houses and ports. Several survivors claimed they recognized the LaGrande as the flagship of the fleet, others say it could not have been the LaGrande, because that ship too would have been wrecked along with Moores ship. No actual evidence has been found to back any of the two stories up.
Image: The flagship LaGrande & the 10 Sea Beggars raiding a settlement.