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Hippolyte de Bouchard - Pirate

A fearsome pirate roamed the California Channel in the 1800s. He was a French captain named Hippolyte de Bouchard, and had ravaged and looted the village on Monterey to the north. He then stopped in Refugio Bay, west of Santa Barbara. There he had a confrontation with soldiers from the Presidio who captured three of his men who had been onshore attempting to steal food and supplies from the ranchos.

His ship then left and headed for Santa Cruz Island for supplies. Four days later he was back, and angrily demanded the return of his men. The Presidio troops were greatly outnumbered - 50 soldiers to the 285 cutthroat pirates. Then they hatched a brilliant strategy - to foil the pirates into thinking there were many more many at the presidio, they staged a clever march on the beach, changing clothes behind a thicket so as to appear greater in number than they actually were.

As a result, the pirates chose not to attack and negotiated for the return of their men with out bloodshed. But further down the coast, they soon attacked and severely damaged the village of San Juan Capistrano.

Bouchard Photo Gallery

The life and history of the pirate Bouchard - Patrick O' Dowd
                        Video                         Audio

Bouchard, California and Don Jose De La Guerra - Patrick O' Dowd
                        Video                         Audio

Bouchard's capture and life after the sea - Patrick O' Dowd
                        Video                         Audio