This is the story of the buccaneers, privateers and pirates who extended their operations to the ""coast"" -- a 7,000 mile stretch from California to southern Chile, a long line of Spanish holdings, and thrust further over the Pacific until Dampier could sign for ""the Commanders of the whole South Seas"". From original records and documents, letters, manuscripts, comes this account of Sharp, Cowley, Dampier, Woodes Rogers, Clipperton and Shelvocke (who, in 1722, noted the gold in California soil but, since he had a reputation as a liar, nothing came of that) and others, of French voyages in this area, and of the loot, booty and prizes from the marauding activities. How all this contributed to breaking the Spanish monopoly, built up possibilities of trade. How their exploits, through their narratives, influenced further exploration and gave rise to such classics as Gulliver's Travels Robinson Crusoe, The Swiss Family Robinson, Treasure Island -- and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, is part of the story too. Fanciers of piratical history, students of exploration, and the adventure-minded will get much (and many odd sidelights) from this solid review of 17-18th century events.