Buccaneer is a French derived word that is now synonomous with pirate. Buccaneers ravaged the Gulf coast and the Carribean during the late 17th century. They mostly attacked Spainish ships, plundering them of their treasure. Buccaneers were usually licensed by the English crown with a letter of marque giving them permission to attack the foreign ships as a way to do battle with Spain, England's main rival at the time.
Jean Lafitte considered himself, not a pirate, but a privateer (buccaneer). He controlled a fleet of men who looted Spanish and foreign ships, collecting the bounty which they would evenly divide up amongst themselves. From their pirate colony located near the mouth of the mighty Mississippi at Barataria Bay, they ruled the Gulf coast in the early 1800's.
Read more about Jean Lafitte and Buccaneers at your local library. Check out my book, Lafitte's Black Box.
Here's a quick link for a little info on Jean Lafitte (copy and paste)