Piracy: Golden Age –

The cinema has known how to give a romantic and adventurous vision of the Piratesbandits of the sea who possessed strangers and complex maps with which to locate impressive treasures. Their agility to jump from ship to ship, that rogue point that makes us quickly sympathize with them. But, is that vision real? Of course not, pirates, buccaneers, freebooters, etc., were unscrupulous people who sometimes acted on their own and other times supported by their governments. In this blog that we have titled Piracy: Golden Age, We are going to find out what differences there were between the different types of “pirates”, which were the most terrible and feared, as well as their way of life.

Piracy: Golden Age | The origin

It has been defined as the golden age of piracy to the period between the years 1620 and 1795a time when attacks were constantly taking place, many times for personal interests, but during some periods that we will now see, they also enjoyed the support of some other government.

The use of the word piracy to encompass an era is not correct, because in this period they not only acted the Pirates, but also existed Corsairs, Buccaneers and Filibusters. Each one with different characteristics that we are going to explain.

Piracy: Golden Age | buccaneers

They were about cattle and wild pig hunters. The buccaneers traveled with their boats from island to island capturing the cattle, to later smoke them through the procedure of boucan (hence the name Buccaneer), to later sell it in the ports, where the ships came to load supplies.

The first French buccaneers settled in the Hispaniola Island, current Santo Domingo/Haiti. As we have just mentioned, they were dedicated to hunting full time, but when the Spanish decided to destroy the cattle they depended on and began to persecute them, they were forced to flee from Hispaniola, settling in Turtle Island, a small island of limited resources.

In a place without resources and with their means of subsistence gone, the buccaneers began to carry out small and sporadic attackswhich gradually increased.

When in 1655 Jamaica passed into English hands, buccaneer attacks increased. The new governors of the Island of Jamaica provided the buccaneers of Tortuga Island the patent of marque.

While port-royalseat of the British government in Jamaica, was already beginning to be considered one of the main commercial and fishing ports in the Caribbean and a propitious place for the sale of buccaneer booty.

Between the top buccaneers it’s found Pierre le Grand, who specialized in the galleons that returned loaded to Spain.

Piracy: Golden Age | pirates

The word pirate It is a word of Greek origin that means “sea adventurer”. The existence of pirates is as old as navigation. The Barbary pirates managed to get different communities of the Mediterranean coast to be abandoned by the constant attacks of Barbary pirates.

But in the 17th and 18th centuries, the scenario had changed, the coasts that now provided wealth were the caribbean shoreswhere the ships and ports of the Spanish and Portuguese crowns could attack without too many problems.

The pirate attacks were not for political reasons, nor for national rivalry. Pirates had no nationalitytheir crews were made up of people from different nationalities and with different languages. It was a democratically organized group, by vote the captain was elected and he was also dismissed. The spoils were shared equally among the entire crew and they even formed part of a union, where “pensions for retirement or death” were awarded.

But the way of life and the pirate interests were to attack any ship that could report profits and wealth of any type.

Between the most famous pirates we can meet with Edward Teach (Blackbeard), Jack Rackham (Calico Jack) or Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart).

Piracy: Golden Age | corsairs

the corsairs they were other types of criminals Unlike pirates, for some they were true heroes and for others terrible criminals. Corsair was called both the ship and the staff that handled it, these sailed under the patent of marque, that is, they had a king’s warrant to be able to attack both ships and enclaves of enemy countries.

In this period of history, colonial America was dominated by Spain and Portugal. Trade was fruitful, the exploitation of the mines provided riches to these kingdoms, while crowns such as France, England and Holland, outside the distribution, authorized different ships and captains to attack the territories under Spanish and Portuguese protection.

The Corsairs they had no special interest in theft, although if the opportunity arose they would not reject her, the most important mission was hinder trade and the prosperity of the countries that have traditionally been enemies, intercepting any ship loaded with wealth that tried to reach Europe. Many of these riches would serve to pay for various wars that Spain was basically fighting with England.

It stands out among the best known corsairs stand out Sir. Francis Drake, Raleigh and Henry Morgan.

There was also a Spanish corsair, the canary amaro snapper, (1678-1747), who dominated the route of the ships that traveled between Cádiz and the Caribbean, protecting Spanish ships and attacking enemy ships of the Crown of Spain now in the hands of the first King Bourbon Felipe V.

Piracy: Golden Age | filibusters

The filibusters were originally thieves who acted freelyThey attacked small ships not far from the coast. The freebooters used small ships but very fast. They created the first filibuster society on Tortuga Island and Hispaniola, this society was baptized as Brotherhood of the Coasta brotherhood to which the pirate community would also join.

Over time, some governments saw the advantages in filibustering raids and hired many of them to attack the enemy territories of their paymasters. In this way, it is not uncommon to find the term filibuster as a mix between pirates and corsairs.

Among the most outstanding filibusters we find Jean David Nau who spread terror in the Caribbean for more than 20 years under the pseudonym of Francois l’Olonnais.

Piracy: Golden Age | Pirate Women

The woman in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was a woman dedicated to procreate and take care of her family, she had no thoughts of her own, no voice. That is why there is not much documentation on women in piracy.

But what can be confirmed is that at least two, Anne Bonny, also known by her diminutive Boon and Mary Read. The history of these two women intersect at a certain moment, so you can’t talk about one without mentioning the other.

When anne bonny fell madly in love with the pirate Jack Rackham, better known as “Calico Jack”, He decided to abandon everything and dedicate himself to piracy together with him. His attacks were really successful, although his spoils used to be the catch of fishermen’s boats.

In one of his captures, specifically of a dutch Ship, a young man caught the attention of the beautiful pirate Anne. That young man really it was a woman dressed as a man who had joined the Dutch ship in search of adventure. It was about MaryRead, From here on, the story of both women will continue hand in hand.

At that time the seas were already invaded by patrols trying to secure trade routes and in 1720, the luck of the trio of pirates ran outtaking advantage of a night in which the pirate crew was drunk, Commander Jonathan Barnet, following orders from the Governor of Jamaica, ended his adventures.

People say that the last to fall were the two womenwho fought with real fury, until they managed to be reduced. Jack Eackham “Calico Jack”, was sentenced to death, while Mary and Anne were imprisonedsince they had claimed to be pregnant and the law prohibited the execution of pregnant women, then their sentences were postponed until after delivery.

It’s known that Mary died of a fever, but of Anne little is known, suddenly disappeared of the prison. Legend has it that her father being aware of the situation that Anne was going through, with a death sentence. Thanks to her great influence, he must have obtained Anne’s indulgence and possibly ended her days in the Antilles.

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Piracy: Golden Age | Image gallery