Discover how the coast of southwest Florida, with its shallow waters, inlets, and mangrove islands provides the setting and backdrop for a variety of pirates, privateers, and independents not to bury treasure, but to become smugglers of nearly every commodity known to mankind from the early 17th century up to and including the present day.
Find out how John "Calico Jack" Rackham and Anne Bonny, two of the more colorful 18th century pirates, gave Lover's Key state park its name.
Learn both the legend and facts surrounding the pirate Jose Gaspar or Gasparilla, Southwest Florida's most famous pirate. The Gasparilla legend has resulted in the annual Gasparilla Pirate Days celebration held annually in Tampa since 1904.
Experience the irony that a second civil war took place in Florida during the greater American Civil War. In fact, Fort Myers, a northern outpost in Southwest Florida that became the county seat of Lee County was actually born as a result of the Florida civil war.
So, come on aboard to learn how Southwest Florida, with its hundreds of miles of coastline, many uninhabited islands, and limited Federal and state enforcement resources has seen smuggling of rum, guns, drugs, and humans throughout history and to the present day.
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October 21, 2007
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