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Archiver > Dutch-Colonies > 2005-09 > 1125857250

From: Richard Alan McCool <>
Subject: Re: [D-Col] Re: Jan Jansen the pirate
Date: Sun, 4 Sep 2005 11:07:30 -0700 (PDT)
In-Reply-To: <005e01c5b171$fd07e120$9600000a@lan>

Dear Ton,

Nicely done. Thank you.


Ton Oosterhuis <> wrote:

To all,

Now that the Salee-family is back, I must take my chance to get rid of my frustration. I don't want to rob anyone of his dreams, but I have my doubts about facts many people seem to accept without questioning

The legend that Anthony Jansen of Salee was the son of the pirate Jan Jansen of Haarlem is for me very difficult to believe. It gives me the feeling that somewhere in the past someone has tried to pull my leg.

There are few things certain when the biography of Jan Jansen is concerned. One of those things is the fact that captain David Pietersen de Vries has described how Jan Jansen started his career as pirate captain. It happend on 10 October 1620, when his captain De Veenboer (Peat-maker) died in a battle in which De Vries took part, and foreman Jan Jansen took over. (a complete citation is in the book Dick Dreux, De Boekaniers, Amsterdam 1964, pag.90-92).

After some years he became an admiral in the service of the Moors. In that capacity he came to Veere (Zeeland), where his wife paid him a visit. He has also visited Amsterdam, but there he was not very welcome. (Dreux pag 93)

Now the first reliable source, that tells us something about Anthony, reads as follows:

"15 decemb. 1629 Compareerden als vooren Anthonis Janss van Cartegene, vaerentgesel, out 22 jaer, geen ouders hebbende, wonende bij de harinckpackerij, en Grietie Reyniers, van Wesel, wed[uw]e van Albert Egbertss, verclaerde over de twee jaer wed[uw]e te sijn geweest. [Note in margin:] acte verleent om t'scheep te trouwen."

He has no parents, says Anthony. If you believe that the pirate was his father, this is an obviuous lie. Jan Jansen died around 1641.

He came from Cartegene and is a 'varensgezel' living near the 'haringpakkerij'. Everybody seems to read Cartagena in Spain. Why not Cortgene in Zeeland, where the haring-fishermen live? And is 'varensgezel' not very low placed for the son of an admiral?

According to one of the stories his father had sent him to Amsterdam, because there was a famine in Morocco. But Anthony was not a child that you send into safety in such a case. He was 22 years old then. His father should have taken him (and his brothers) with him aboard to learn the trade and to become his successor. But according to the story his father did not such a thing. By the way, how could Anthony have been a former pirate himself then, as Russell Shorto writes?

The same story tells us that Jan Jansen was converted to Islam in 1622. Yet, at the same time we are asked to believe that he married in 1600 a second wife in Cartagena, because having two wives was permitted by Islam. In 1600 he was still a law abiding Dutch seacaptain.

I think that this whole story has been made up to account for Cartagena in Spain as the birthplace of Anthony. Unless you show me his birth certificate I don't believe it.

There is a moving story that Jan's daughter Lysbeth visited him in Salee shortly before he died in 1641. Anthony was a respected citizen in New Amsterdam by that time. Did he neglect his father?

Of course I do realize that the main issue has not been solved by my remarks: what made Anthony Jansen choose the surname Van Salee of Van Vaes (Fez) if the pirate was not his father? It was not his name in the marriage license of 1629. I do have a theory about this, but let me first wait for your comments on my remarks.

Kind regards,


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