The pirate Jean Laffite is a well known but elusive figure about whom much has been written and much is still unresolved. Laffite studies are especially dynamic today because of the appearance in 1948 of an internally credible but controversial French-language manuscript that purports to be the pirate's own journal. Written largely in Missouri from 1845 to 1850 and recently issued in reprint, the journal contradicts previously accepted evidence that both Jean Laffite and his brother Pierre died in action and were buried in the Yucatan during the 1820s. It paints them instead as living until the 1840s and dying as prosperous middle-class citizens with traceable posterity. Today the chief historiographical question about Laffite and his followers is whether the Journal of Jean Laffite is authentic.



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