Roberto Cofresí

Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí

Roberto Cofresí, better known as "El Pirata Cofresí", was the most renowned pirate in Puerto Rico. He became interested in sailing at a young age. By the time he reached adulthood there were some political and economic difficulties in Puerto Rico, which at the time was a colony of Spain. Influenced by this situation he decided to become a pirate in 1818.
Roberto Cofresí's personal information overview.
17 June 1791

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  • 1825
    Age 33
    On March 29, 1825, Cofresí and most of his crew were executed by firing squad.
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    Cofresí's last capture was on March 5, 1825, when he commanded the hijacking of a boat owned by Vicente Antoneti in Salinas.
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    Evading the Beagle, Cofresí returned to Jobos Bay; on February 15, 1825, the pirates arrived in Fajardo.
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    On February 10, 1825, Cofresí plundered the sloop Neptune.
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    On the evening of January 25, 1825 Cofresí sailed a sloop towards the Grampus, which was patrolling the west coast.
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  • 1824
    Age 32
    With more ships, Cofresí's activity near Culebra and Vieques peaked by November 1824.
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    By October 1824 piracy in the region was dramatically reduced, with Cofresí the remaining target of concern.
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    On July 6, 1824 Cartagena resisted arrest and was killed in a shootout, with the developments again featured in La Gaceta del Gobierno de Puerto Rico.
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    However, the pirates fled the municipality and traveled west. On June 9, 1824, Cofresí led an assault on the schooner San José y Las Animas off the coast of Tallaboa in Peñuelas.
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    Poorly supplied after his hasty retreat, Cofresí docked at Jobos Bay on June 2, 1824; about a dozen pirates invaded the hacienda of Francisco Antonio Ortiz, stealing his cattle.
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    A number of unsuccessful searches were carried out in Cabo Rojo by an urban militia led by Captain Carlos de Espada, and additional searches were made in San Germán. On May 23, 1824, the Mayagüez military commander prepared two vessels and sent them to Pedernales in response to reported sightings of Cofresí.
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    In April 1824, Rincón mayor Pedro García authorized the sale of a vessel owned by Juan Bautista de Salas to Pedro Ramírez.
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    A similar search was undertaken in San Germán, whose mayor reported to de la Torre on March 12, 1824.
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    On February 16, 1824, de la Torre mandated a more-aggressive pursuit and prosecution of pirates.
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    Attacks on two brigantines were reported by Renato Beluche on February 12, 1824, and published in El Colombiano several days later.
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  • 1823
    Age 31
    By December 1823 other nations joined the effort to combat Cofresí, sending warships to the Mona Passage.
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    In an article in the May 9, 1936 issue of Puerto Rico Ilustrado, Eugenio Astol described an 1823 incident between Cofresí and Puerto Rican physician and politician Pedro Gerónimo Goyco.
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    By late 1823, the pursuit on land probably forced Cofresí to move his main base of operations to Mona; the following year, he was often there.
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    On October 28, 1823, months after the El Scipión case was settled, Cofresí attacked a ship registered to the harbor of Patillas and robbed the small fishing boat of 800 pesos in cash.
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    The earliest document linked to Cofresí's modus operandi is a letter dated July 5, 1823, from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico which was published in the St. Thomas Gazette.
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    By 1823 Cofresí was probably on the crew of the corsair barquentine El Scipión, captained by José Ramón Torres and managed by his cousin (the first mayor of Mayagüez, José María Ramírez de Arellano).
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  • 1822
    Age 30
    There is little documentation of Cofresí’s whereabouts in 1822.
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  • 1821
    Age 29
    On December 4, 1821, a wanted poster was circulated by San Germán mayor Pascacio Cardona.
    On August 17, 1821 (while Cofresí was in prison) Juana gave birth to their only daughter, Bernardina.
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    The central government issued wanted posters for Cofresí, and in July 1821 he and the rest of his gang were captured; Bey escaped, becoming a fugitive.
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  • 1820
    Age 28
    Among Cofresí's associates were Juan de los Reyes, José Cartagena and Francisco Ramos, and the criminals continued to thrive in 1820.
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  • 1818
    Age 26
    Although he belonged to a prestigious family, Cofresí was not wealthy. In 1818 he paid 17 maravedís in taxes, spending most of his time at sea and earning a low wage.
  • 1816
    Age 24
    By 1816, governor Salvador Meléndez Bruna shifted responsibility for law enforcement from the Captaincy General of Puerto Rico to the mayors.
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  • 1815
    Age 23
    On January 14, 1815, three months after his father's death, Cofresí married Juana Creitoff in San Miguel Arcángel parish, Cabo Rojo.
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  • 1791
    Born on June 17, 1791.
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