Juana Larando, innkeeper and corsair

Juanita Larando, a 17th century widow innkeeper that had a little bit of money. Her inn was extremely popular among the feared San Sebastian privateers, which hunted French and English ships.

It may surprise you, but for many centuries the Basque coast was corsair territory. From our harbours countless sailors left who, provided with letters of marque, attacked the enemies of their master (whoever they were in each historical period). San Sebastian also took part in this profitable business, and among the donostiarras there were men dedicated to this activity, but also women joined this legal piracy. Women as Juanita Larando.

This San Sebastian innkeeper was the owner of a tavern that during the 17th century served as a refuge and meeting point for pirates of all sorts to whom she sold on credit until they were back to port with a good prey to claim. Along with other partners, including Orio’s priest, funded the purchase of a flat-bottomed boat that baptised as San Juan (Saint John), and dedicated very successfully to the lucrative pirate activity at the expense of the French and the British.

If you are curious I encourage you urgently to go to The Sea Factory Of The Basques of Albaola. There the flat-bottomed boat of our corsair is being rebuilt, as if the Nao San Juan wasn’t enough reason to visit this fantastic museum! We usually go during our hike tours, and we never get tired of Albaola’s energy.