Chasing Gaspar, a Tampa Bay Times article
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  1. #1
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    Chasing Gaspar, a Tampa Bay Times article

    Tampa Bay Times Article


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    Head up to the University of South Florida, to the library in the middle of campus. Take the elevator to special collections, and ask for the only known copy of History of Gasparilla and Ye Mystic Krewe, circa 1935, in public circulation. It's the size and shape of an old high school yearbook, handsomely bound and dedicated to "those who have perpetuated the celebration inspired by the gay and daring buccaneer." Save a few missed years, that gay buccaneer-inspired party has played out in Tampa since 1904, and, of course, continues today.
    Inside — careful with the binding — is a riveting, 35-page account of the exploits of Gaspar, penned by Edwin D. Lambright, editor of the Tampa Morning Tribune. "Yes," he writes in Chapter 1, "there was a Gasparilla. His actual existence, many of his depredations, are authenticated in unquestionable records." His primary record was Gaspar's own diary, loaned to Lambright, the acknowledgement suggests, by "an American, resident in Madrid, who wishes his name withheld." One of those records details a bloody mutiny aboard a Spanish ship-of-war called the Florida Blanca. The strike was led by Gaspar, and "sometime in the latter part of 1783," the outlaws headed for Florida and settled at a hideout forevermore known as Gasparilla Island. There they embarked "on a career of slaughter and pillage — to become greedy, gory outlaws of the sea."

    For the complete article, hit the link above.
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  2. #2
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    For years I thought Jose Gaspar was a real pirate until I found some research. All the islands around Charlotte Harbor were named on navigational maps long before Gaspar was born. The islands were named by Cuban fishermen that lived in fishing ranchos along the coast since the 1600's. Gasparilla Island actually got it's name from a Spanish Catholic priest named Gasparillo who had a missionary on the island to minister to the fishermen. Gaspar is a common Spanish name like Smith or Jones. There are no records of Gasparilla in the Spanish archives, and they kept meticulous records.

    The legend was first told by John (or Juan) Gomez who claimed to be a member of Jose Gaspar's crew. The first printed version of Gasparilla appeared in a brochure for the Charlotte Harbor and Northern Railroad Co. owned by Henry B. Plant. Plant met Gomez in 1899 and Gomez told him all his pirate stories.
    Bum Luck and Denboux like this.

  3. #3
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    I concur.

    I spent quite a few hours on this before I came to the same conclusion.

    There's just no records, not a one.
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