Paul E. Hoffman


In a letter to Philip II from Cadiz on December 3, 1570, Pedro Menendez de Aviles, Adelantado of Florida and Captain General of the Armada for the Guarding and Security of the Coasts, Islands, and Ports of the Indies, said that he planned to “place myself in the Bahama Channel where he [Jacques Sores, considered to be one of the best French corsairs and at the time at large in the Caribbean] could not come out without my seeing him.” Menendez recognized that the control of the Bahama Channel was essential for the security of the Caribbean. He said that he was afraid that Sores would “make himself ruler of Havana and Florida, so as to be able to commit his criminal acts with greater safety.” This recognition was the basis of Menendez’s development of a strategy for the control of large areas of the sea by means of the control of a strategic narrow-water passage.