Roche Braziliano
An illustration of Roche Braziliano in Alexandre Exquemelin's The Buccaneers of America (1678)
Born27 February 1630
Disappearedc. 1671
At sea
StatusBody never found
Piratical career
TypeDutch buccaneer
Years active1654–1671
Base of operationsPort Royal, Jamaica

Roche Braziliano[needs Dutch and Portuguese IPA] (sometimes spelled Rock, Roch, Roc, Roque, Brazilliano, Brasiliaan[1] or Brasiliano) (c. 1630 – disappeared c. 1671) was a Dutch Brazilian pirate born in the town of Groningen. His pirate career lasted from 1654 until his disappearance around 1671. He was first made famous in Alexandre Exquemelin's 1678 book The Buccaneers of America; Exquemelin did not know Braziliano's real name, but historians have found he was probably born as Gerrit Gerritszoon and that he and his parents moved to Dutch-controlled Brazil.[2] He is known as "Roche Braziliano", which in English translates to "Rock the Brazilian", due to his long exile in Brazil.[3]

Pirate career

Roche Braziliano was a notoriously cruel buccaneer who operated out of Port Royal, Jamaica. He was a privateer in Bahia, Brazil, before moving to Port Royal in 1654. He led a mutiny and adopted the life of a buccaneer. On his first adventure he captured a ship of immense value and brought it back safely to Jamaica. He eventually was caught and sent to Spain, but he escaped with threats of vengeance from his followers.[4] He soon resumed his criminal career, purchasing a new ship from fellow pirate François l'Olonnais and later sailing in company with Sir Henry Morgan and Joseph Bradley among others. Braziliano's first mate Yellows eventually became a captain in his own right, sailing with Braziliano, Morgan, and others in raids against the Spanish.[5]


Drunken and debauched, Braziliano would threaten to shoot anyone who did not drink with him. He roasted alive two Spanish farmers on wooden spits after they refused to hand over their pigs. He treated his Spanish prisoners barbarously, typically cutting off their limbs or roasting them alive over a fire.[6] The Spaniards feared him so much, that Spanish mothers used his name as a hush word for their children.[7]

Roc the Brazilian, Capturing Boat's Crew, from the Pirates of the Spanish Main series (N19) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes MET DP835018


After 1671, Braziliano was never seen or heard from again. To this day, nobody knows what became of the Dutch pirate. Whether he (and his vessel and men) were lost at sea in a brutal storm, was secretly captured, or possibly retired and lived the rest of his life in anonymity is a matter of debate.

Popular culture

See also


  • Pickering, David. "Pirates". CollinsGem. HarperCollins Publishers, New York, NY. pp-52, 201. 2006.
  1. ^ Lunsford, Virginia W. (2005). Piracy and Privateering in the Golden Age Netherlands. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 62–63. ISBN 1-4039-6692-3.
  2. ^ Zuidhoek, Arne (2006). Piratenencyclopedie (in Dutch). pp. 20–24.
  3. ^ Platt, Richard (1995). Eyewitness Guide to Pirates. London: Dorling Kindersley. p. 64. ISBN 0-7513-6035-X.
  4. ^ Pyle, Howard. Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates. ISBN 1-60303-278-9
  5. ^ Marley, David (2010). Pirates of the Americas. Santa Barbara CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781598842012. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  6. ^ Pickering, David. "Pirates"
  7. ^ The Monarchs of the Main. Routledge, Warne, & Routledge. 1861.