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Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Lafitte, Jean

LAFITTE, JEAN (lä-fēt'), an American buccaneer; born in France, 1780. He is first authentically known as the chief of an organized and formidable body of desperadoes, having their headquarters on an island in Barataria Bay, in the Gulf of Mexico. Committing various piratical acts, the United States Government sent out an expedition against them in 1814, which captured their stronghold and all vessels lying there at the time, Lafitte and his companions escaping. At the commencement of the war with the United States in 1812, Lafitte was offered by the British Government $30,000, and a naval commission, to co-operate in their expedition against New Orleans. This offer he spurned, and communicating its nature to Governor Claiborne of Louisiana, he offered the services of himself and men against the enemy, on the sole condition of pardon for their past offenses. His offer was accepted, and Lafitte kept his word by rendering efficient aid to the Americans in the battle of Jan. 8, 1815. Lafitte later settled in Galveston, then removed to Yucatan, where he died in 1826.