Pirates and corsairs in the Ebro Delta

with No Comments

We go back in time to the 16th century, a time when the Delta did not have the shape of an arrow that it currently has. The tip of the Fangar, the tip of the Horn was in full formation and the island of Buda and Sant Antoni did not yet exist. The Ebro, It ended in different parts and the lagoons of the Reed and the Closed they were a single lagoon that was open to the Alfacs bay. Once we have got the idea of ​​the Delta of that time, we must also be aware of the living conditions that.

This century was a pirate era, specifically of Saracen and Berber pirates, all coming mainly from North Africa but also from the Middle East and Asia Minor. They realized the benefits they could obtain in this territory since it had everything they needed (sweet water, sal, foods, cattle raising…) and as a point in favor he was not defended. Apart, Due to its location, it was a first-rate strategic point since they could later navigate upstream or downstream to continue looting the Catalan and Valencian coasts..

The first pirate attack dates from the year 1521, when four ships went up the Ebro, and they caught the people of Amposta by surprise looting and capturing many inhabitants. From there everything got worse, since shortly afterwards different constant attacks began to occur also in the Alfaques area.

The entire territory of the sea of Ebro it depended on the defense companies of the city of Tortosa because the Delta did not have enough population to resist the attacks. The companies were an excellent deterrent but they were an afterthought since they were almost always late.
As continued episodes of looting occurred, the royal administration began to understand the problem that this posed. It was then that King Felipe II included the fortification of the Alfacs within its defense plan for the Levante coast. The start date of the works on the Codonyol and Sant Joan tower is located in 1568, the first one was small and easy to build and they finished it quickly but over the years it had deficiencies in the construction because it could not bear the force and weight of the guns. Regarding that of Sant Joan, it was bigger and more complex they finished building it in 1576.

From 1580, due to the improvement of the defensive system of the bay, the attacks shifted towards Cap Roig, to the left of the Delta. According to historical documents, the last attack of pirates and corsairs of these lands occurred on 11 September 1598 at Perelló.

Share