Amelia Island has a long and rich history of pirates and privateers.
At one point in history seeing 300 plus vessels anchored in our harbor would be a common sight. Many of those ships belonged to pirates and privateers.
Piracy is a war-like act that generally includes criminal violence at sea, and in our past here in northeast Florida, a log of piracy included smuggling!
Remember, Amelia Island was not part of the United States at that time in history and our natural deep-water harbor made it convenient for large ships to come to the Port of Fernandina. Silk, tobacco, and other products were smuggled up the St. Mary’s River and into the United States. Legal cargo was also transported up and down the river including lumber, cotton, sugar cane and rice.
Pirating has a colorful past here on the Island of Eight Flags, and along with the wide-eyed tales of buried treasure there also comes a bit of fascinating history regarding a few notorious Pirates like Luis Aury, Captain Kidd, and Jean LaFitte.
In the early 1800’s, a pirate named Luis Aury came to Amelia Island and decided to lay claim to our island. His flag (The Mexican Rebel Flag) is one of the eight flags that has flown over Amelia Island. Founded in October of 1973, the Fernandina Pirates Club, Inc. has been entertaining crowds and promoting the Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival, Fernandina Beach, and all of Nassau County, Florida by being a lively and active presence in this lovely coastal Florida community.
Although our primary focus is on promoting our annual ‘Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival’, we are also interested in the community at large and try to do our part to better life in our charming little seaport town. Fernandina Beach offers a slow-paced tourist driven community that was all about Pirates well before being a Pirate was “cool”. Having been around for almost 50 years, we are involved with several community enriching programs. We have two road worthy parade floats, ships, that are used to help promote our little corner of Paradise in NE Florida. We are involved in many local charity events and sponsor our own annual SCHOLARSHIP CONTEST for local Nassau County high school seniors. We present three scholarships; one goes to the essay winning college student for $1,500. Another $1,500 for trade school bound student. And $750 is awarded to the winner entering the military. We make many public appearances for community and charitable events, but we can also be had for a price for private events! We are “Pirates for Hire” at corporate functions, private parties, and other groups to raise funds for our pet projects.
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