Buccaneer, an order of men, not quite pirates, yet with decidedly piratical tendencies, who for nearly 200 years infested the Spanish main and the adjacent regions. A bull of Pope Alexander VI., issued in 1493, having granted to Spain all the lands which might be discovered W. of the Azores, the Spaniards thought that they possessed a monopoly of all countries in the New World, and that they had a right to seize, and even put to death, all interlopers into their wide domain. The association of buccaneers began about 1524, and continued until after the English Revolution of 1688, when the French attacked the English in the West Indies, and the buccaneers of the two countries, who had hitherto been friends, took different sides, and were separated forever. Thus weakened, they began to be suppressed between 1697 and 1701, and soon afterward ceased to exist, pirates of the normal type, to a certain extent, taking their place. The buccaneers were also called "filibustiers" or "filibusters" -- term which was revived in connection with the adventures of "General" Walker, who fought to establish himself as a ruler in Central America.
Entry from Everybody's Cyclopedia, 1912.