One Piece: The real origin of the name of Roronoa Zoro

The name of Roronoa Zoro from One Piece has a peculiar origin that no one would expect. Here is a summary of his story

If a large group of ‘One Piece’ fans were asked what they like most about the franchise, there would surely be a wide variety of answers. What we are not sure is if all of them know this information. Did you know that Eiichiro Oda is married to Nami in real life? Two of the most notable aspects of shonen juggernaut are character creation and world crafting. Author Eiichiro Oda is believed by many to have the most creative mind there is, as seen in the character’s source of inspiration for him and the world of One Piece. This extensive list includes the actual origin of the Roronoa Zoro’s name.

The origins of Roronoa Zoro

Zoro is an old bounty hunter and the first member of Luffy’s crew, the Straw Hat Pirates. Although not explicitly stated, both ‘One Piece’ fans and characters consider him the vice-captain of the crew. Roronoa Zoro’s name comes from François l’Olonnais, a real-life French pirate in the 16th century.

Zoro is the only member of the crew whose name comes from a real buccaneer, but both characters, real and fictional, have other traits in common as well. François l’Olonnais arrived in the Antilles enrolled in the French army, doing his military service. Once finished, he chose to stay in Santo Domingo in the company of the adventurers and filibusters who lived there. Having earned the admiration of the French governor of the island of La Tortuga, De La Place, he entrusted him with a small ship to fight the Spanish fleet in the Caribbean Sea.

This buccaneer, and later pirate, had an ability that made him very special. This was none other than to torture the prisoners on his ship. In those days he was one of the most notable pirates of the Golden Age of Piracy, he came to reap a well-deserved fame in the seas and oceans and ended up being labeled “The curse of Spain” for his numerous boardings, cruelty and violence in their actions.

The cruel François l’Olonnais

At some point in their journey, l’Olonnais and his crew were shipwrecked in Mexico, off the coast of Yucatan, with considerable loot accumulated from their raids. Spanish soldiers appeared and looted the crew, killing almost all of them. The pirate was able to survive after hiding under the corpses and covering himself with their blood and his entrails.

This Frenchman with few scruples and a very bad background was very ruthless, capable of beheading an entire Spanish crew that was chasing him. His thirst for blood led him to rip a Spaniard’s heart out of his chest and eat it in front of him.

François l’Olonnais, aka “The Bane of Spain”

In another episode, the governor of Havana had a ship find l’Olonnais and his group in order to kill them. l’Olonnais beheaded the entire crew, leaving one of them to send a message to Havana:

«From now on I will not give quarter to any Spaniard».

Another event involving François is the looting in Maracaibo, currently Venezuela. Maracaibo was supposedly impenetrable, but l’Olonnais took an unguarded route. The inhabitants hid their gold, so the crew searched for them, and tortured them until they revealed the location of the gold. The Kuna indigenous tribe ended up capturing the crew, where the savage pirate met a gruesome end and as a being of his stature must have.

One Piece - Zoro

Roronoa Zoro from One Piece, aka The Pirate Hunter Zoro

Roronoa Zoro is the most skilled swordsman of the Straw Hat crew, and his brutal strength is recognized by allies and enemies alike. His combat strategy in One Piece sometimes includes the concept of demons, such as the King of Hell’s Three Swords style and his ancient signature technique, the Oni Giri.

Zoro is known for his great loyalty and is often the crew’s voice of reason when needed. In cases where some colleagues are carried away by their emotions, this brings the logical perspective. These abilities are the reason why many consider him the vice-captain of the Straw Hats.

While not as insane as l’Olonnais, he does have a certain sense of brutality of his own, especially in fighting. Both are skilled with sabers, though Zoro uses various sword styles when he attacks the enemy. L’Olonnais may have had his own swords for certain boarding circumstances as well, though that mainly meant slicing through his enemies…literally.

Zoro would not hesitate to fight with killing intent if the situation called for it, while l’Olonnais rips people apart like a master torturer.

One Piece - Zoro

Both pirates find a way to survive in serious situations. l’Olonnais uses his cunning and resourcefulness, while Zoro has a very high level of bravery and resistance. As far as titles go, the fact that he is part of the worst generation can be equated to l’Olonnais being a well-known pirate during the Golden Age of Piracy.

And since we are in the One Piece universe, don’t miss cosplayer Seeu who make a cosplay of Uta that will make you want to live in the anime.

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