Friday, 6 August 2010


The Free Friday word for today is FREEBOOTER

Ah, the generosity of the boot manufactures who hand out their footwear for free?

This word is derived from the Dutch for something that is not related to kind and hardworking cobblers .

Frij (free) buit (booty) er.

When a Dutch sailor had a license for his activities they were kaper (licensed). These sailors had to share a percentage of their profits with the prince, whereas Vrijbuiters kept the proceeds for themselves.

Freebooters were pirates – like buccaneers.

But buccaneers, French boucaniers, were scary barbecuers!  (Everyone needs a hobby to occupy them, in between bouts of murder and mayhem.)

English (pirates), French (buccaneers) and Dutch (freebooters) sailors freely relieved the Spanish empire of its gold, between 1680 and 1725. They wreaked havoc on maritime commerce and terrorised travellers.

Pirate, buccaneer and freebooter all sound so much more exciting than murderer and thief.

Tomorrow I am going to Ibiza - Eivissa. They have calculated that 113 pirate ships could be found in the waters around Ibiza, during the darkest days of piracy. The islanders built D’alt Vila  to protect Ibiza town. Its fortifications are still intact today. The islanders were, in some respects, tolerant of the pirates: they built a monument in recognition of their presence. Of course, they hanged any pirates they captured on the island they called Los Ahorcados - The Hanged.

I am happy to be hunting for history on the island but there is only one kind of romantic fiction I can't read.

Is there any kind of book that you just can’t read?


  1. Very interesting. And here I thought Ibiza was just full of people dancing all night to Paul Oakenfold.

  2. Hi Matthew
    "Oh! I'm going to Ibiza!" Steeped in history,that and lager.

  3. Have a great trip.

    I've read probably every genre out there, but I find some are not to my liking, even though I admit the writers are talented.

  4. Hi Medeia
    Thank you. I am looking forward to my holiday. Everything I have read make s Ibiza sound fascinating.
    I agree it is important to read every genre. Even when it is not something you would ever want to write.