The Legend of Pirate "Roberto Cofresi"

Roberto Cofresi (June 17, 1791 – March 29, 1825) Born Roberto Cofresi y Ramirez de Arellano in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, is Puerto Rico’s most famous pirate and is better know as “El Pirata Cofresi”.

There are two stories about where Cofresi’s father came from. The first version is that his father was a German named Franz Von Kupferschein, who changed his surname to Cofresi because it was easier for the people of Puerto Rico to pronounce. The second version is that his father was Francisco Cofresi from Trieste, Italy.

However, one thing is certain and that is that his mother was Maria Germana Ramirez de Arellano from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. She died when he was four years old. Cofresi went to primary school in his hometown. As a young child, raised on the coast with the sounds of the waves pounding on the beach, Cofresi spent hours and days daydreaming about someday becoming an adventurous sailor in the seas. Those dreams were mostly inspired by the tales that he heard from the sailors who visited his town. Cofresi had a small boat, which he baptized “El Mosquito” (The Mosquito).

Cofresi married Juana Creitoff from Curacao in the San Miguel Archangel Parish of Cabo Rojo. They had two sons, who each died soon after birth. In 1822, Cofresi and Juana had a daughter, whom they names Maria Bernada.

Cofresi would set out to sea in his schooner, “Ana”, with a crew made up of men from Cabo Rojo, and attack ships that did not fly the Royal Spanish flag. The people on the coasts of Puerto Rico are said to have protected him from the authorities and, according to the Puerto Rican historian Aurelio Tio, Cofresi shared his spoils with the needy, especially members of his family and his friends. He was regarded by many as the Puerto Rican version of Robin Hood.

It is believed by some that part of Cofresi’s treasure may still be hidden in the caves of Sabana Seca, close to a restaurant called “La Guarida del Pirata Cofresi” (Pirate Cofresi’s Hideout).



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