Spanish Main, mainland of Spanish America, particularly the coast of South America from the isthmus of Panama to the mouth of the Orinoco River. Spanish treasure fleets, sailing home from the New World, passed through the Caribbean N of the Main and were attacked by English buccaneers raiding from the islands and coast. Pirates congregated there until the 19th cent., and the words "Spanish Main" have become the symbol of piratic romance.
See C. O. Sauer, The Early Spanish Main (1966); A. O. Exquemelin, The Buccaneers and Marooners of America (1891, repr. 1971).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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