Stack Island was also associated with river pirates and counterfeiters in the late s. In , the last major river pirate activity took place, on the Upper Mississippi River, and river piracy in this area came to an abrupt end, when a group of flatboatmen raided the island, wiping out the river pirates.
1. Port Royal
From —, Cave-In-Rock was the principal outlaw lair and headquarters of river pirate activity in the Ohio River region, from which Samuel Mason led a gang of river pirates on the Ohio River. River piracy continued on the lower Mississippi River, from the early s to the mids, declining as a result of direct military action and local law enforcement and regulator-vigilante groups that uprooted and swept out pockets of outlaw resistance. Pirates had a system of hierarchy on board their ships determining how captured money was distributed. However, pirates were more egalitarian than any other area of employment at the time.
In fact, pirate quartermasters were a counterbalance to the captain and had the power to veto his orders. The majority of plunder was in the form of cargo and ship's equipment, with medicines the most highly prized. Jewels were common plunder but not popular, as they were hard to sell, and pirates, unlike the public of today, had little concept of their value. There is one case recorded where a pirate was given a large diamond worth a great deal more than the value of the handful of small diamonds given to his crewmates as a share.
He felt cheated and had it broken up to match what they received. Spanish pieces of eight minted in Mexico or Seville were the standard trade currency in the American colonies. However, every colony still used the monetary units of pounds, shillings, and pence for bookkeeping while Spanish, German, French, and Portuguese money were all standard mediums of exchange as British law prohibited the export of British silver coinage.
Until the exchange rates were standardised in the late 18th century each colony legislated its own different exchange rates. In England, 1 piece of eight was worth 4s 3d while it was worth 8s in New York, 7s 6d in Pennsylvania and 6s 8d in Virginia. As such, the value of pirate plunder could vary considerably, depending on who recorded it and where. Ordinary seamen received a part of the plunder at the captain's discretion but usually a single share. It is known there were actions with multiple ships captured where a single share was worth almost double this.
By contrast, an ordinary seamen in the Royal Navy received 19s per month to be paid in a lump sum at the end of a tour of duty, which was around half the rate paid in the Merchant Navy. However, corrupt officers would often "tax" their crews' wage to supplement their own, and the Royal Navy of the day was infamous for its reluctance to pay. From this wage, 6d per month was deducted for the maintenance of Greenwich Hospital , with similar amounts deducted for the Chatham Chest , the chaplain and surgeon.
Six months' pay was withheld to discourage desertion. That this was insufficient incentive is revealed in a report on proposed changes to the RN Admiral Nelson wrote in ; he noted that since more than 42, sailors had deserted. Roughly half of all RN crews were pressganged and these not only received lower wages than volunteers but were shackled while the vessel was docked and were never permitted to go ashore until released from service.
Although the Royal Navy suffered from many morale issues, it answered the question of prize money via the 'Cruizers and Convoys' Act of which handed over the share previously gained by the Crown to the captors of the ship. Technically it was still possible for the Crown to get the money or a portion of it but this rarely happened. The process of condemnation of a captured vessel and its cargo and men was given to the High Court of the Admiralty and this was the process which remained in force with minor changes throughout the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars.
Even the flag officer's share was not quite straightforward; he would only get the full one-eighth if he had no junior flag officer beneath him. If this was the case then he would get a third share. If he had more than one then he would take one half while the rest was shared out equally. There was a great deal of money to be made in this way.
The record breaker was the capture of the Spanish frigate Hermione , which was carrying treasure in All through the wars there are examples of this kind of luck falling on captains. Another famous 'capture' was that of the Spanish frigates Thetis and Santa Brigada , which were loaded with gold specie. It should also be noted that it was usually only the frigates which took prizes; the ships of the line were far too ponderous to be able to chase and capture the smaller ships which generally carried treasure.
Nelson always bemoaned that he had done badly out of prize money and even as a flag officer received little. This was not that he had a bad command of captains but rather that British mastery of the seas was so complete that few enemy ships dared to sail. Even though pirates raided many ships, few, if any, buried their treasure. Often, the "treasure" that was stolen was food, water, alcohol, weapons, or clothing. Other things they stole were household items like bits of soap and gear like rope and anchors, or sometimes they would keep the ship they captured either to sell off or keep because it was better than their ship.
Such items were likely to be needed immediately, rather than saved for future trade.
For this reason, there was no need for the pirates to bury these goods. Pirates tended to kill few people aboard the ships they captured; usually they would kill no one if the ship surrendered, because if it became known that pirates took no prisoners, their victims would fight to the last breath and make victory both very difficult and costly in lives.
In contrast, ships would quickly surrender if they knew they would be spared. In one well-documented case heavily armed soldiers on a ship attacked by Thomas Tew surrendered after a brief battle with none of Tew's man crew being injured. During the 17th and 18th centuries, once pirates were caught, justice was meted out in a summary fashion, and many ended their lives by "dancing the hempen jig", a euphemism for hanging.
Public execution was a form of entertainment at the time, and people came out to watch them as they would to a sporting event today. Newspapers reported details such as condemned men's last words, the prayers said by the priests, and descriptions of their final moments in the gallows. In the cases of more famous prisoners, usually captains, their punishments extended beyond death. Their bodies were enclosed in iron cages gibbet for which they were measured before their execution and left to swing in the air until the flesh rotted off them- a process that could take as long as two years.
While piracy was predominantly a male occupation throughout history, a minority of pirates were female. Additionally, women were often regarded as bad luck among pirates. It was feared that the male members of the crew would argue and fight over the women. On many ships, women as well as young boys were prohibited by the ship's contract , which all crew members were required to sign.
Because of the resistance to allowing women on board, many female pirates did not identify themselves as such. Anne Bonny, for example, dressed and acted as a man while on Captain Calico Jack's ship. Unlike traditional Western societies of the time, many Caribbean pirate crews of European descent operated as limited democracies. Pirate communities were some of the first to instate a system of checks and balances similar to the one used by the present-day United States and many other countries.
The first record of such a government aboard a pirate sloop dates to the 17th century. To date three identifiable pirate shipwrecks have been discovered. One is the Whydah Gally , a former slave ship seized on its maiden voyage from Africa by the pirate captain "Black Sam" Bellamy. Since the Wydah collection has been touring as part of the exhibit "Real Pirates" sponsored by National Geographic. The second is the Queen Anne's Revenge , the flagship of the infamous pirate Blackbeard. He used the ship for less than a year, but it was an effective tool in his prize-taking. In late , Intersal,  a private firm working under a permit with the state of North Carolina, discovered the remains of the vessel.
Thirty-one cannons have been identified to date and more than , artifacts have been recovered. The discovery is recounted in Robert Kurson's book Pirate Hunters    . A privateer or corsair used similar methods to a pirate, but acted under orders of the state while in possession of a commission or letter of marque and reprisal from a government or monarch authorizing the capture of merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation. For example, the United States Constitution of specifically authorized Congress to issue letters of marque and reprisal.
The letter of marque and reprisal was recognized by international convention and meant that a privateer could not technically be charged with piracy while attacking the targets named in his commission. This nicety of law did not always save the individuals concerned, however, since whether one was considered a pirate or a legally operating privateer often depended on whose custody the individual found himself in—that of the country that had issued the commission, or that of the object of attack.
Spanish authorities were known to execute foreign privateers with their letters of marque hung around their necks to emphasize Spain's rejection of such defenses. Furthermore, many privateers exceeded the bounds of their letters of marque by attacking nations with which their sovereign was at peace Thomas Tew and William Kidd are notable alleged examples , and thus made themselves liable to conviction for piracy.
However, a letter of marque did provide some cover for such pirates, as plunder seized from neutral or friendly shipping could be passed off later as taken from enemy merchants. The famous Barbary Corsairs of the Mediterranean, authorized by the Ottoman Empire, were privateers, as were the Maltese Corsairs, who were authorized by the Knights of St.
John , and the Dunkirkers in the service of the Spanish Empire. In the years — alone, the Dunkirk privateers captured 1, ships, and sank another His patron was Queen Elizabeth I, and their relationship ultimately proved to be quite profitable for England. Privateers constituted a large proportion of the total military force at sea during the 17th and 18th centuries. During the Nine Years War , the French adopted a policy of strongly encouraging privateers French corsairs , including the famous Jean Bart , to attack English and Dutch shipping.
England lost roughly 4, merchant ships during the war.
WOKOU: JAPANESE PIRATES
During King George's War , approximately 36, Americans served aboard privateers at one time or another. Privateering lost international sanction under the Declaration of Paris in A wartime activity similar to piracy involves disguised warships called commerce raiders or merchant raiders , which attack enemy shipping commerce, approaching by stealth and then opening fire. Commerce raiders operated successfully during the American Revolution. Since commissioned naval vessels were openly used, these commerce raiders should not be considered even privateers, much less pirates— although the opposing combatants were vocal in denouncing them as such.
In the Gulf of Guinea, maritime piracy has also led to pressure on offshore oil and gas production, providing security for offshore installations and supply vessels is often paid for by oil companies rather than the respective governments. In , Brazil also created an anti-piracy unit on the Amazon River. River piracy happens in Europe, with vessels suffering from pirate attacks on the Serbian and Romanian stretches of the international Danube river , i. Modern pirates favor small boats and taking advantage of the small number of crew members on modern cargo vessels.
Modern pirates can be successful because a large amount of international commerce occurs via shipping. Major shipping routes take cargo ships through narrow bodies of water such as the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Malacca making them vulnerable to be overtaken and boarded by small motorboats. As usage increases, many of these ships have to lower cruising speeds to allow for navigation and traffic control, making them prime targets for piracy. Also, pirates often operate in regions of developing or struggling countries with smaller navies and large trade routes.
Pirates sometimes evade capture by sailing into waters controlled by their pursuer's enemies. With the end of the Cold War , navies have decreased in size and patrol less frequently, while trade has increased, making organized piracy far easier. Modern pirates are sometimes linked with organized-crime syndicates, but often are small individual groups. Their records indicate hostage-taking overwhelmingly dominates the types of violence against seafarers. For example, in , there were attacks, 77 crew members were kidnapped and taken hostage but only 15 of the pirate attacks resulted in murder.
There was a 35 percent increase on reported attacks involving guns. Crew members that were injured numbered 64 compared to just 17 in The number of attacks from January to September had surpassed the previous year's total due to the increased pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia. Between January and September the number of attacks rose to from The pirates boarded the vessels in cases and hijacked 34 of them so far in Gun use in pirate attacks has gone up to cases from 76 last year. Rather than cargo, modern pirates have targeted the personal belongings of the crew and the contents of the ship's safe, which potentially contains large amounts of cash needed for payroll and port fees.
In other cases, the pirates force the crew off the ship and then sail it to a port to be repainted and given a new identity through false papers purchased from corrupt or complicit officials. Modern piracy can also take place in conditions of political unrest. For example, following the U. Further, following the disintegration of the government of Somalia, warlords in the region have attacked ships delivering UN food aid.
The attack against the German-built cruise ship the Seabourn Spirit offshore of Somalia in November is an example of the sophisticated pirates mariners face. The attackers were armed with automatic firearms and an RPG. Backers were now reportedly reluctant to finance pirate expeditions due to the low rate of success, and pirates were no longer able to reimburse their creditors. Many nations forbid ships to enter their territorial waters or ports if the crew of the ships are armed, in an effort to restrict possible piracy.
For the United States, piracy is one of the offenses against which Congress is delegated power to enact penal legislation by the Constitution of the United States , along with treason and offenses against the law of nations. Treason is generally making war against one's own countrymen, and violations of the law of nations can include unjust war among other nationals or by governments against their own people. In modern times, ships and airplanes are hijacked for political reasons as well. The perpetrators of these acts could be described as pirates for instance, the French term for plane hijacker is pirate de l'air , literally air pirate , but in English are usually termed hijackers.
An example is the hijacking of the Italian civilian passenger ship Achille Lauro by the Palestinian Liberation Organization in , which is regarded as an act of piracy. A book entitled International Legal Dimension of Terrorism called the attackers "terrorists". Modern pirates also use a great deal of technology. It has been reported that crimes of piracy have involved the use of mobile phones , satellite phones , GPS , machetes , AK74 rifles, Sonar systems, modern speedboats , shotguns , pistols , mounted machine guns , and even RPGs and grenade launchers.
Under a principle of international law known as the "universality principle", a government may "exercise jurisdiction over conduct outside its territory if that conduct is universally dangerous to states and their nationals. The goal of maritime security operations is "actively to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations",  and pirates are often detained, interrogated, disarmed, and released.
With millions of dollars at stake, pirates have little incentive to stop. In Finland, one case involved pirates who had been captured and whose boat was sunk. As the pirates attacked a vessel of Singapore, not Finland, and are not themselves EU or Finnish citizens, they were not prosecuted. A further complication in many cases, including this one, is that many countries do not allow extradition of people to jurisdictions where they may be sentenced to death or torture.
The Dutch are using a 17th-century law against sea robbery to prosecute. Prosecutors have a hard time assembling witnesses and finding translators, and countries are reluctant to imprison pirates because the countries would be saddled with the pirates upon their release. George Mason University professor Peter Leeson has suggested that the international community appropriate Somali territorial waters and sell them, together with the international portion of the Gulf of Aden, to a private company which would then provide security from piracy in exchange for charging tolls to world shipping through the Gulf.
The fourth volume of the handbook: BMP4 contains a chapter entitled "Self-Protective Measures" which lays out a list of steps a merchant vessel can take on its own to make itself less of a target to pirates and make it better able to repel an attack if one occurs. This list includes rigging the deck of the ship with razor wire , rigging fire-hoses to spray sea-water over the side of the ship to hinder boardings , having a distinctive pirate alarm, hardening the bridge against gunfire and creating a " citadel " where the crew can retreat in the event pirates get on board.
Other unofficial self-defense measures that can be found on merchant vessels include the setting up of mannequins posing as armed guards or firing flares at the pirates. Though it varies by country, generally peacetime law in the 20th and 21st centuries has not allowed merchant vessels to carry weapons. As a response to the rise in modern piracy, however, the U. The US Coastguard leaves it to ship owners' discretion to determine if those guards will be armed. Seychelles has become a central location for international anti-piracy operations, hosting the Anti-Piracy Operation Center for the Indian Ocean.
With safety trials complete in the late s, laser dazzlers have been developed for defensive purposes on super-yachts. In February , Italian Marines based on the tanker Enrica Lexie allegedly fired on an Indian fishing trawler off Kerala , killing two of her eleven crew. The Marines allegedly mistook the fishing vessel as a pirate vessel.
The incident sparked a diplomatic row between India and Italy. Enrica Lexie was ordered into Kochi where her crew were questioned by officers of the Indian Police. However, despite VPD deployment being controversial because of these incidents, according to the Associated Press ,  during a United Nations Security Council conference about piracy "U. Ambassador Susan Rice told the council that no ship carrying armed guards has been successfully attacked by pirates" and "French Ambassador Gerard Araud stressed that private guards do not have the deterrent effect that government-posted marine and sailors and naval patrols have in warding off attacks".
First and foremost, the best protection against piracy is simply to avoid encountering them. This can be accomplished by using tools such as radar ,  or by using specialised systems that use shorter wavelengths as small boats are not always picked up by radar. An example of a specialised system is WatchStander. In addition, while the non-wartime 20th century tradition has been for merchant vessels not to be armed, the U.
Government has recently changed the rules so that it is now "best practice" for vessels to embark a team of armed private security guards. Other measures vessels can take to protect themselves against piracy are air-pressurised boat stopping systems which can fire a variety of vessel-disabling projectiles,  implementing a high freewall  and vessel boarding protection systems e.
Any unexpected change in this information can attract attention. Previously this data could only be picked up if there was a nearby ship, thus rendering single ships vulnerable. However, special satellites have been launched recently that are now able to detect and retransmit this data. Large ships cannot therefore be hijacked without being detected. This can act as a deterrent to attempts to either hijack the entire ship or steal large portions of cargo with another ship since an escort can be sent more quickly than might otherwise have been the case. In an emergency warships can be called upon.
In some areas such as near Somalia, patrolling naval vessels from different nations are available to intercept vessels attacking merchant vessels. For patrolling dangerous coastal waters, or keeping cost down, robotic or remote-controlled USVs are also sometimes used. Section 2 of the Piracy Act creates a statutory offence of aggravated piracy. See also the Piracy Act In the British Foreign Office advised the Royal Navy not to detain pirates of certain nationalities as they might be able to claim asylum in Britain under British human rights legislation , if their national laws included execution, or mutilation as a judicial punishment for crimes committed as pirates.
These provisions replace the Schedule to the Tokyo Convention Act See section 5 of the Aviation Security Act The book " Archbold " said that in a case that does not fall within section 2 of the Piracy Act , the penalty appears to be determined by the Offences at Sea Act , which provides that offences committed at sea are liable to the same penalty as if they had been committed upon the shore.
William Hawkins said that under common law , piracy by a subject was esteemed to be petty treason. The Treason Act provided that this was not petty treason. In English admiralty law , piracy was classified as petty treason during the medieval period, and offenders were accordingly liable to be hanged, drawn and quartered on conviction. In either case, piracy cases were cognizable in the courts of the Lord High Admiral. English judges in admiralty courts and vice admiralty courts emphasized that "neither Faith nor Oath is to be kept" with pirates; i.
Pirates were legally subject to summary execution by their captors if captured in battle. In practice, instances of summary justice and annulment of oaths and contracts involving pirates do not appear to have been common. In the United States, criminal prosecution of piracy is authorized in the U. Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.
Smith ,  a U. District Court ruled in in the case of United States v. Said that the definition of piracy under section is confined to "robbery at sea. District Court for the E. See also United States v. A any illegal acts of violence or detention or any act of depredation committed for private ends on the high seas or a place outside the jurisdiction of any state by the crew or the passengers of a private ship and directed against another ship or against persons or property on board such ship; or B any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship; or C any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in A or B above".
Court, ED Virginia During the 18th century, the British and the Dutch controlled opposite sides of the Straits of Malacca. The British and the Dutch drew a line separating the Straits into two halves. The agreement was that each party would be responsible for combating piracy in their respective half. Eventually this line became the border between Malaysia and Indonesia in the Straits. Piracy is of note in international law as it is commonly held to represent the earliest invocation of the concept of universal jurisdiction.
The crime of piracy is considered a breach of jus cogens , a conventional peremptory international norm that states must uphold. Those committing thefts on the high seas, inhibiting trade, and endangering maritime communication are considered by sovereign states to be hostis humani generis enemies of humanity. Because of universal jurisdiction, action can be taken against pirates without objection from the flag state of the pirate vessel. This represents an exception to the principle extra territorium jus dicenti impune non paretur "One who exercises jurisdiction out of his territory is not obeyed with impunity".
The acts of piracy, as defined in article , committed by a warship, government ship or government aircraft whose crew has mutinied and taken control of the ship or aircraft are assimilated to acts committed by a private ship or aircraft. A ship or aircraft is considered a pirate ship or aircraft if it is intended by the persons in dominant control to be used for the purpose of committing one of the acts referred to in article The same applies if the ship or aircraft has been used to commit any such act, so long as it remains under the control of the persons guilty of that act.
This definition was formerly contained in articles 15 to 17 of the Convention on the High Seas signed at Geneva on April 29, A limitation of article above is that it confines piracy to the High Seas. As the majority of piratical acts occur within territorial waters, some pirates are able to go free as certain jurisdictions lack the resources to monitor their borders adequately. Given the diverging definitions of piracy in international and municipal legal systems, some authors argue that greater uniformity in the law is required in order to strengthen anti-piracy legal instruments.
Pirates are a frequent topic in fiction and, in their Caribbean incarnation, are associated with certain stereotypical manners of speaking and dress, some of them wholly fictional: Some inventions of pirate culture such as " walking the plank "—in which a bound captive is forced to walk off a board extending over the sea—were popularized by J. Barrie 's novel, Peter Pan , where the fictional pirate Captain Hook and his crew helped define the fictional pirate archetype.
- Speech Separation by Humans and Machines.
- Access Check.
- Das Geheimnis des zweiten Sommers: Roman (German Edition).
- Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism.
- Whos In Charge?
The video game Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag also revolves around pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy. Many sports teams use "pirate" or a related term such as " raider " or "buccaneer" as their nickname, based on the popular stereotypes of pirates. Sources on the economics of piracy include Cyrus Karraker's study Piracy was a Business ,  in which the author discusses pirates in terms of contemporary racketeering. Note also the book The Invisible Hook: Some research examines the links between piracy and entrepreneurship.
In this context, researchers take a nonmoral approach to piracy as a source of inspiration for s-era entrepreneurship education  and to research in entrepreneurship  and in business-model generation. In this respect, analysis of piracy operations may distinguish between planned organised and opportunistic piracy. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. This article is about maritime piracy. For unauthorized use, copying, modification or distribution of content, see Copyright infringement.
For other uses, see Pirate disambiguation. For the amusement ride, see Pirate ship ride. Piracy in the Persian Gulf. Piracy in the Caribbean. No prey, no pay. Pirate code and distribution of justice. Ethnic violence Militia movement Resistance movement. Designated terrorist groups Charities accused of ties to terrorism. Counter-terrorism International conventions Anti-terrorism legislation Terrorism insurance. This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia.
See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. June Learn how and when to remove this template message. The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met. List of fictional pirates and Pirates in popular culture. Northern Morocco in the Mod-Nineteenth Century".
Narrow straits which funneled shipping into places where ambush was easy, and escape less chancy, called the pirates into certain areas. Ports, Piracy and Maritime War: Piracy in the English Channel and the Atlantic, c. Medieval Law and Its Practice. Insurgents, Raiders, and Bandits: From ancient high seas pirates to 'road agents' and a host of other bush and mountain pass brigands, bandits have been with us for ages. Retrieved October 23, Archived from the original on December 14, Retrieved December 8, A Growing Barrier to Maritime Trade".
Chiarugi April 9, Retrieved April 9, Retrieved December 18, Oxford English Dictionary 3rd ed. Subscription or UK public library membership required. Retrieved July 12, The Enemy of All: Piracy and the Law of Nations. Danish Institute for International Studies, November 16, Yeo 23 May History of the Roman People. Velleius Paterculus Roman History 2: Research suggests white slavery was much more common than previously believed ".
Archived from the original on July 25, Archived from the original PDF on August 14, Archived from the original on September 6, Retrieved July 20, Archived from the original on September 27, Archived from the original on November 4, Pirates, Ports, and Coasts in Asia: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives.
Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Archived from the original on August 29, The Book of Pirates. Outcasts of the Sea: The Long War Against Piracy: Combat Studies Institute Press. An Act for the more effectual suppression of Piracy.
WOKOU: JAPANESE PIRATES | Facts and Details
A History of Crime in England: From the accession of Henry VII to the present time. Retrieved 10 June Retrieved 20 March Retrieved April 21, Archived from the original on March 2, Retrieved April 20, The Pirates' Who's Who. New York University Press. Pirates Through the Ages Reference Library. The Law and Economics of Pirate Organization. Retrieved 18 March Archived from the original on August 26, Retrieved December 13, Archived from the original on July 9, University of the West Indies Press.
Anderson and Adam Gifford Jr. The Sinews of Power: War, Money, and the English State, — Retrieved February 18, Retrieved 27 September Navy warships exchange gunfire with suspected pirates off Somali coast". Retrieved January 18, The coastal villages and towns of Italy, Spain and Mediterranean islands were frequently attacked by them and long stretches of the Italian and Spanish coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants; after Barbary pirates occasionally entered the Atlantic and struck as far north as Iceland.
According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1. According to recent legal analysis by the U. Supreme Court, the United States treated captured Barbary corsairs as prisoners of war, indicating that they were considered as legitimate privateers by at least some of their opponents, as well as by their home countries.
The great or classic era of piracy in the Caribbean extends from around up until the mid s. The period during which pirates were most successful was from until the s. Many pirates came to the Caribbean after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. Many people stayed in the Caribbean and became pirates shortly after that. Others, the buccaneers, arrived in the mid-to-late 17th century and made attempts at earning a living by farming and hunting on Hispaniola and nearby islands; pressed by Spanish raids and possibly failure of their means of making a living, they turned to a more lucrative occupation not to mention more active and conducive to revenge.
Caribbean piracy arose out of, and mirrored on a smaller scale, the conflicts over trade and colonization among the rival European powers of the time, including the empires of Britain, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and France. Most of these pirates were of English, Dutch and French origin.
Because Spain controlled most of the Caribbean, many of the attacked cities and ships belonged to the Spanish Empire and along the East coast of America and the West coast of Africa. Dutch ships captured about Spanish and Portuguese ships between and Some of the best-known pirate bases were New Providence, in the Bahamas from to , Tortuga established in the s and Port Royal after In the popular modern imagination, pirates of the classical period were rebellious, clever teams who operated outside the restricting bureaucracy of modern life.
Pirates were also depicted as always raising their Jolly Roger-flag when preparing to hijack a vessel. The Jolly roger is the traditional name for the flags of European and American pirates and a symbol for piracy that has been adopted by film-makers and toy manufacturers. In reality, many pirates ate poorly, and often lived on bananas and limes; few became fabulously wealthy; and many died young. Unlike traditional Western societies of the time, many pirate crews operated as limited democracies. The captain of a pirate ship was often a fierce fighter in whom the men could place their trust, rather than a more traditional authority figure sanctioned by an elite.
6 Famous Pirate Strongholds
However, when not in battle, the quartermaster usually had the real authority. Many groups of pirates shared in whatever they seized; pirates injured in battle might be afforded special compensation similar to medical or disability insurance. There are contemporary records that many pirates placed a portion of any captured money into a central fund that was used to compensate the injuries sustained by the crew. Often all of these terms were agreed upon and written down by the pirates, but these articles could also be used as incriminating proof that they were outlaws.
Pirates readily accepted outcasts from traditional societies, perhaps easily recognizing kindred spirits, and they were known to welcome them into the pirate fold. Even though pirates raided many ships, few, if any, buried their treasure. Other things they stole were household items like bits of soap and gear like rope and anchors, or sometimes they would keep the ship they captured either to sell off or because it was better than their ship.
Such items were likely to be needed immediately, rather than saved for future trade. For this reason, there was no reason for the pirates to bury these goods. Pirates tended to kill few people aboard the ships they captured, oftentimes they would kill no one if the ship surrendered, because if it became known that pirates took no prisoners, their victims would fight to the last and make victory very difficult, contrariwise ships would quickly surrender if they knew they would be spared.
Pirates had a system of hierarchy on board their ships determining how captured money was distributed. In fact pirate quartermasters were a counterbalance to the captain and had the power to veto his orders. The majority of plunder was in the form of cargo and ships equipment with medicines the most highly prized. Jewels were common plunder but not popular as they were hard to sell and pirates, unlike the public of today, had little concept of their value. There is one case recorded where a pirate was given a large diamond worth a great deal more than the value of the handful of small diamonds given his crewmates as a share.
He felt cheated and had it broken up to match what they received. Spanish pieces of eight minted in Mexico or Seville were the standard trade currency in the American colonies. However, every colony still used the monetary units of pounds, shillings and pence for bookkeeping while Spanish, German, French and Portuguese money were all standard mediums of exchange as British law prohibited the export of British silver coinage. Until the exchange rates were standardised in the late s each colony legislated its own different exchange rates.
In England, 1 piece of eight was worth 4s 3d while it was worth 8s in New York, 7s 6d in Pennsylvania and 6s 8d in Virginia. As such, the value of pirate plunder could vary considerably depending on who recorded it and where. One of the larger amounts taken from a single ship was that by captain Thomas Tew from an Indian merchantman in It is known there were actions with multiple ships captured where a single share was worth almost double this. By contrast, an ordinary seamen in the Royal Navy received 19s per month to be paid in a lump sum at the end of a tour of duty which was around half the rate paid in the Merchant Navy.
From this wage, 6d per month was deducted for the maintenance of Greenwich Hospital with similar amounts deducted for the Chatham Chest, the chaplain and surgeon. Six months pay was witheld to discourage desertion. That this was insuffient incentive is revealed in a report on proposed changes to the RN Admiral Nelson wrote in , he noted that since more than 42, sailors had deserted. Roughly half of all RN crews were pressganged and these not only received lower wages than volunteers but were shackled while the vessel was docked and never permitted to go ashore until released from service.
A recent surge in piracy off the Somali coast spurred a multi-national effort led by the United States to patrol the waters near the Horn of Africa. Coast Guard have nearly eradicated piracy in U. Modern pirates favor small boats and taking advantage of the small number of crew members on modern cargo vessels.
Modern pirates can be successful because a large amount of international commerce occurs via shipping. Major shipping routes take cargo ships through narrow bodies of water such as the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Malacca making them vulnerable to be overtaken and boarded by small motorboats. As usage increases, many of these ships have to lower cruising speeds to allow for navigation and traffic control, making them prime targets for piracy.
Small ships are also capable of disguising themselves as fishing vessels or cargo vessels when not carrying out piracy in order to avoid or deceive inspectors. Also, pirates often operate in regions of developing or struggling countries with smaller navies and large trade routes. With the end of the Cold War, navies have decreased size and patrol, and trade has increased, making organized piracy far easier.
Modern pirates are sometimes linked with organized-crime syndicates, but often are parts of small individual groups. Their records indicate hostage-taking overwhelmingly dominates the types of violence against seafarers. For example in , there were attacks, 77 crew members were kidnapped and taken hostage but only 15 of the pirate attacks resulted in murder. Crew members that were injured numbered 64 compared to just 17 in In other cases, the pirates force the crew off the ship and then sail it to a port to be repainted and given a new identity through false papers often purchased from corrupt or complicit officials.
Modern piracy can also take place in conditions of political unrest. For example, following the U. Further, following the disintegration of the government of Somalia, warlords in the region have attacked ships delivering UN food aid. Armed suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean near Somalia. Environmental action groups such as Sea Shepherd have been accused of engaging in piracy and terrorism when they sink ships by scuttling them, or ram them and throw butyric acid rancid butter on their decks.
Only non-lethal weapons are used by the Sea Shepherd ships. The attack against the U. The pirates carried out their attack more than miles km offshore with speedboats launched from a larger mother ship. The attackers were armed with automatic firearms and an RPG. Many nations forbid ships to enter their territorial waters or ports if the crew of the ships are armed in an effort to restrict possible piracy.
Shipping companies sometimes hire private security guards. In modern times, ships and airplanes are hijacked for political reasons as well. An example is the hijacking of the Italian civilian passenger ship Achille Lauro, which is generally regarded as an act of piracy. Modern pirates also use a great deal of technology.
It has been reported that crimes of piracy have involved the use of mobile phones, modern speedboats, assault rifles, shotguns, pistols, mounted machine guns, and even RPGs and grenade launchers. Reports of piracy attacks were declining worldwide since , but seems to have bottomed out in Figures reported by the International Maritime Bureau indicate incident reporting fell for the third year in a row in Ships reported incidents to the IMB during the year , down from in , and in The maritime watchdog group points to better awareness of the magnitude of piracy and subsequent involvement by governments in combating piracy as factors in the decline.
Furthermore, experts caution that local problem areas can emerge quickly, despite a worldwide down trend in pirate attacks. The recent downward trend in piracy worldwide follows a period when attacks tripled between and The first half of was the worst 6-month period on record, with pirate attacks, 16 deaths, and 52 people injured worldwide. There were also crew members held hostage during this period.
In the first 6 months of , reported cases of piracy turned up worldwide, 50 of which occurring in Indonesian waters. The Piracy Reporting Centre of the International Maritime Bureau IMB stated in that more pirate attacks in that year occurred in Indonesian waters 70 of reported attacks than in the waters of any other country. Of these attacks, a majority occurred in the Straits of Malacca. They also stated that of the attacks in , oil and gas tankers and bulk carriers were the most popular targets with 67 attacks on tankers and 52 on bulk carriers.
There are legal barriers to prosecuting individuals captured in international waters. Countries are struggling to apply existing maritime law, international law, and their own laws, which limits them to having jurisdiction over their own citizens. With millions of dollars at stake, pirates have little incentive to stop. Prosecutions are rare for several reasons. Modern laws against piracy are almost non-existent. Warships that capture pirates have no jurisdiction to try them, and NATO does not have a detention policy in place. Prosecutors have a hard time assembling witnesses and finding translators, and countries are reluctant to imprison pirates because they would be saddled with them upon their release.
A wartime activity similar to piracy involves disguised warships called commerce raiders or merchant raiders, which attack enemy shipping commerce, approaching by stealth and then opening fire. Commerce raiders operated successfully during the American Revolution. Since commissioned naval vessels were openly used, these commerce raiders should not be considered even privateers, much less pirates—although the opposing combatants were vocal in denouncing them as such.
During the 18th century, the British and the Dutch controlled opposite sides of the Straits of Malacca. Some pirates carried on activities similar to armed rebellion with the aim of resisting the colonisers.