A legendary pirate utopia, supposedly founded sometime in the 1690s.

Here's how the story goes: Sometime in the 1680s, a French sailor named Mission met a disenchanted Dominican priest named Father Caraccioli, who converted Mission to his personal ideology of rationalism and liberty. Mission and Caraccioli became pirates, and after a battle with a British ship killed their officers, the pirates elected Mission as their new captain.

Mission and the other pirates began raiding ships around the coast of Africa, specializing in liberating both money and slaves. Mission and Caraccioli eventually decided to found a "new marine republic" called Libertatia on the island of Madagascar, where they proclaimed that "every man is born free, and has as much right to what will support him as to the air he respires." They decided that they were no longer pirates, so they quit flying the Jolly Roger and instead flew a white flag emblazoned with the word "Liberté".

On Libertatia, all property was shared. The pirates and the liberated slaves built docks, houses, ships, and fortifications, but no fences. The infamous pirate Thomas Tew joined their ranks as its Admiral and helped successfully defend the island from numerous attacking European ships.

But no utopia lasts forever. The Libertatians quarreled, elected a democratic government, and began keeping personal property. The colony attracted new settlers, but in 1694, it was destroyed in a surprise attack by the island natives. Mission died in a storm while traveling to America with Tew.

However, the entire story of Libertatia comes from only one source: "A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates, Volume 2" by Captain Charles Johnson--a pseudonym of novelist Daniel Defoe. Aside from the novel "Robinson Crusoe", Defoe's works include a number of travel guides for places he'd never traveled to--in other words, he might have made the whole thing up. Besides, Tew's career is quite well-documented, and there's nothing to suggest that he had the time to play Admiral for a utopian island paradise...

Primary research: Suppressed Transmission: The Second Broadcast by Kenneth Hite, "Libertatia or Death", pp. 82-84.

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