• Gasparilla

Published Date

  • published 1940


Back in his native town, Roderigo said he explained that the Florida
Blanco had never reached the English port, but was wrecked and lost in mid-
ocean. Half-drowned, he was picked up in a life-boat and landed at Liverpool.
From there he made his way to Spain. The entire populace believed the story and
he was given a hero's welcome. He told them Jose Gaspar had gone down with
his ship.

During this recital Roderigo finally confessed to Gasparilla that he
had taken with him, Gasparilla's diary. He had left the manuscript with his
wife, Sanibel, but he assured his leader, it would be safe there. Gasparilla
had missed his book and had searched for it long and fruitlessly. He was
angry with Roderigo, but much too glad to have him back to punish him.

Both Roderigo and Gasparilla were wrong in their assumption that
Sanibel would guard her trust. Not long after Roderigo left his native
country, his wife began talking of the diary in her care. The city authorities
heard of it, and seized the diary, getting from its finely written pages,
knowledge of Gasparilla and his career of piracy. The diary ran from 1784,
the year following his arrival in Florida, to 1795, when it was stolen by
Roderigo. It disclosed that in these eleven years, Gaspar and his men had
captured and sunk 36 ships. The notes also revealed that more than forty
ships escaped.

Reference was made to a battle with a Britisher, in which there was
such a terrific fight that the buccaneers barely got away. In this battle 14 of
Gasparilla's men were killed and 20 wounded.