Olivier Levasseur
Olivier Levasseur (1690-7 July 1730) was a French pirate who was active during the Golden Age of Piracy, known for his large hidden treasure.


Olivier Levasseur was born in Calais, northern France in 1690 to a bourgeois family, and he served as a French Navy officer during the War of the Spanish Succession. Levasseur operated as a privateer, and he decided to join the pirate Benjamin Hornigold's crew in 1716 rather than return to France with the war's end. He partnered briefly with Samuel Bellamy after Bellamy ousted Hornigold in a mutiny, but Levasseur decided to try his luck on the West African coast in 1717. In 1719, he partnered with Howell Davis and Thomas Cocklyn in their pirating adventures off West Africa, and he reduced the fortress of Ouidah in Benin to ruins after attacking the Kingdom of Whydah in 1720. After 1720, he used the island of Sainte-Marie (off Madagascar) as a base for his Indian Ocean operations, together with John Taylor and Edward England. Levasseur plundered the Laccadives off the western coast of southern India and sold the loot to Dutch traders, and Taylor and Levasseur marooned England on Mauritius after tiring of him. Levasseur proceeded to attack the Portuguese galleon Nossa Senhora do Cabo as it left Goa for Lisbon in Portugal, and the unarmed ship (which had thrown its armaments overboard to prevent it from capsizing during a hurricane) surrendered instantly. The ship had so much treasure that the crew decided not to rob the crew members on board; they found bars of gold and silver, dozens of boxes full of golden Guineas, diamonds, pearls, silk, art, and religious objects from the Se Cathedral in Goa. Each pirate received 50,000 Guineas and 42 diamonds each, and Levasseur parted with his share of the large treasure. Levasseur was denied a 1724 amnesty by the French authorities after they attempted to gain a cut of his loot, and he was captured in the Seychelles in 1730 and hanged for piracy on Reunion.