Pirate History For Kids

Depiction of Pirates in a plunder.
Depiction of Pirates in a plunder. | Source

Fun History Fact

Julius Caesar was once held captive by pirates, once he escaped he tracked down and killed every single one.

Just as there has always been murder and thievery on land, the moment merchants went on water there was piracy. I don't mean the stealing of movies and music online, but piracy as in "arr matey" a pirate! There are many kind of pirates: corsairs, vikings, buccaneers, and privateers. Each had their own era and their own philosophies of what a "good' pirate was like; although some pirate codes were maintained throughout all pirating.A pirate in the most simple definition could be described as a seafaring criminal who attacks ships regardless of nationality, during both times of war and times of peace for the sole purpose of thievery and or revenge. The focus on thievery, explains why they refer to stealing downloads off the Internet as piracy.

Piracy is still around today, although organized piracy has ended. This may be in part due to steam engines that could sail even without wind, which was a great disadvantage for pirate ships that relied on sails. Pirates today can be found in the South China seas and East Africa. Although instead of ships with sails, you will find them on very small speed boats,

Why Did Pirates Pierce Their Ears?

They truly believed that it would improve their eyesight and good vision is important when you are out at sea!

Why Do Pirates Wear Eye Patches?

Pirate Facts

Pirates were most dangerous and plentiful during the seventeenth and eighteenth century, although they existed long before. This period became known as the Golden Age of Piracy. The pirate life was not easy, it was filled with loneliness, hard work, and a constant threat of death. But many who chose this life, was because being a pirate was easier than their current position. Some pirates began their life after leaving the navy, because of low wages and cruel captains. Yes, captains on board a pirate's ship were often more considerate than on a navy ship. This was in part due to pirate ships being run like a democracy.

Other people joined a pirate's ship because they were young men looking for a life full of adventure. The captains did not always willingly accept all men seeking this lifestyle; each person had to be approved by the captain before joining a pirate ship. Often the captain would ask a new recruit if they had a wife or children. If they said yes, they were denied on-board. Of course there were the pirates that joined a ship to become rich. These men were often disappointed since riches and piracy rarely went hand in hand. The majority of loot was squandered on beer, gambling, and woman.

A Pirate Raid

Sometimes they would burn a ship after a raid.
Sometimes they would burn a ship after a raid. | Source

Did Pirates Really Bury Their Treasure?

Probably not! There have not been any found treasure maps. Plus pirates were known for living lavishly, which means they spent most of what they had, as soon as they got it.

Pirate Fights

Hollywood loves a good pirate fight. You will see long swords, great weaponry, and extravagant fights. Truth is, pirate ships were probably some of the most well-equipped ships, wich made them greatly feared by merchant ship crews; therefore, merchants rarely even attempted to fight a pirate, giving their loot willingly in fear of their own lives. One reason for this is because pirate ships would only attack ships that they felt they could win, and this was often obvious to the merchant themselves. They would rather lose their cargo than their lives.

Pirates were usually better at scare tactics than actual fighting. Although if necessary, they definitely had their weaponry on their side and would show no mercy. Often when trying to get a merchant to come close, they would pretend to be a fellow merchant requesting help such as water or other needed good. When the other ship got close enough to help, the pirates would raise their jolly roger (a pirate flag) and begin to yell curses and other scare tactics to instill great fear on the merchant ship. It was then in the hands of the merchant vessel, whether they fought until death or got their loot.

What's In a Name?

Pirates have been known by many different names. Each name is unique to a certain type of pirate in a certain era. These names cannot be used interchangeably, as they each carry their own meaning.

Viking Statue

Vikings are very revered even today.
Vikings are very revered even today. | Source

Pirate Viking

Viking is old English for pirates. When one uses this term, they are referring to pirates from the eighth to the early twelfth century. Many of these pirates roamed the North Sea. Unlike later pirates, these Scandinavian warriors would raid villages inland, not just on their shipping routes.

Another unusual aspect about Vikings, they allowed both males and females to join. They often called the women Valkyrie after the Norse goddesses who rode into battle to escort dead warriors to Valhalla.

Privateers!

Privateers were considered distinguished pirates, but pirates nonetheless.
Privateers were considered distinguished pirates, but pirates nonetheless. | Source

Privateer Pirate

Another more dignified version of a pirate were called privateers. In fact, they were referred to as the gentleman pirate, because they only attacked enemy ships. During times of war, government officials could legally commission a civilian sailing man to attack an enemy city or ship. They considered privateers a section of the state navies. Often these privateers were no gentleman, as there was often temptation to fight nonenemy ships. This is why they are not well-respected in today's mind's eye. They crossed that very fine line between gentleman and pirate. French referred to their privateers as Corsairs.

The infamous Blackbeard began his journeys as a privateer, but was better known for his days as a true full-fledged pirate.

Pirate Corsairs

Corsairs emerged in the ninth century and sailed along the Mediterranean. They were very choosy on the ships they would attack; therefore, instead of attacking on first seeing a ship, they would wait to see if the ship had anything of value first. Sometimes this would take hours and even days following a ship with the captain looking through a spyglass. Corsairs also often would be checking to see how well armed these ships were. If they were more equipped than the Corsair's ship, they may avoid them in fear of being defeated themselves.

BlackBeard Buccaneer

Blackbeard is one of the most famus Buccaneers.
Blackbeard is one of the most famus Buccaneers. | Source

Buccaneer: Pirates

Buccaneers were pirates that wrere originally French and English game hunters. They lived in the Carribeans, or more specifically on the island of Hispaniola in the sixteenth century. These men that lived here were social outcasts that lived their lives as religious or political refugees, criminals, exiles, deserters, runaway slaves and indentured servants; whom lived off wild pigs and cattle. They actually got their name after the the art of smoking meat over fire on green sticks that were called boucans.

At first, the buccaneers only traded with passing merchants and would exchange goods such as meat. Spanish ships were brutal to them, which caused these game hunters to develop a deep hatred for the Spanish. So much so, that they began actively attacking Spanish ships and settlements. They then learned that piracy was a much easier way to live.

There were two separate names that often described the French buccaneers: freebooter and filibuster.

Piracy Today

There are still pirates today. Although instead of large sloop ships, they will usually use small high speed boats that allow them to escape sea patrol. Instead of cannons and cutlasses, they use AK 47 automatic machine guns.

I will forever be fascinated by pirate movies regardless of how little realism they contain. Even in the tamest pirates,there is some truth to the Hollywoodian portrayal of these fearsome men. There are many very well known pirates that are even known today, like Blackbeard, yes he's real, as well as Pirates with a Bristol connection! There were even female pirates!

© 2010 Angela Michelle

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Comments 25 comments

Lee Cloak 21 months ago

Fantastic hub, lots of great detail, well done Thanks!


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 4 years ago from United States Author

Actually this is a portion of what I am writing for a book intended for kids!


shenequa 4 years ago

this is a cool website for kids


angela_michelle profile image

angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Very good point. I've thought about it, but I do LOVE the professor student interaction!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Life is what you do while you are making plans. Distance education via the Internet is a great option for the "time challenged." Your pace, your time, no geographical "anchor..!"


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

dallas, actually I have, and someday might. I seem to not be able to get through school due to a severe illness, surprise adoption. It's funny, I joke that my life is one big accident (I even wrote a hub about it) because though I have plans for my life, my life has a mind of its own, taking twists and turns. I had a four point in college, but had to drop out of school three times for very significant things. Still, I love research, and someday will finish schooling, and go onto my phD and eventually teach of some sort. Who knows. Life never goes as planned so I'll never know until I get there. If that makes sense.


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dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

Given you enjoy research, have you considered continuing formal education process. PhD program is built on the philosophy of conduction what is known and building on that... Perhaps if you are lucky, one grain of newly acquired grain of knowledge placed upon the growing cone of sandpile of existing knowledge...

Enjoyed your topic and research,

Dallas


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Very true. Oh wow, that's another topic I could study, the wild west. I'm such a dork. I think more than writing, I like doing research. :) I too, find pirates completely fascinating. I have so many more hubs, I could write on piracy due to my research. :)


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Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

A truly fascinating subject, and an even more fascinating hub. It's not surprising that there is more legend and myth with regard to piracy than of truths...we always like to breathe a little extra life into our historical record if we can. Even the wild west wasn't as wild as the westerns portray.

Still, there is no doubting that the old west times were rougher and tumbler ones than we experience today, and pirates then were still a scary lot.


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Thank you!


Chapter profile image

Chapter 6 years ago from Indonesia

Good hubpages with source (bibliography)


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Lily, thanks, I find them fascinating as well.


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Yes I did Pamela, actually this is just a shortened version of a much longer work.


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lilly_dens 6 years ago

great hub you have here! i always see pirates of earlier years as mysterious,dangerous and at the same time fascinating.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

You did a lot of research on this hub and I had no idea there were so many different types of pirates. Very good work Thumbs up!


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

FCEtier, definitely let me know. I'll definitely follow you so I can see them, in case you forget. Wait, I already am! If they are relevant, maybe I could place a link one of your articles!


FCEtier profile image

FCEtier 6 years ago from Cold Mountain

Hey! I've got a couple of articles about pirates...I'll let you know when I get them up at hubs. Thanks for the above article!


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Thank you so much Beth. I actually love doing research, so all of my hubs are always really well researched. I think I actually like research more than writing, which is kind of funny, because I love writing!


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Beth100 6 years ago from Canada

I just love pirates (that said, the Capt'n knows who he is!) and I love this hub! You've done your research and presented an excellent hub!


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Rose, it's funny that you say that, because as I typed this one up, I thought to myself. What adult is interested in pirates aside from myself. Actually I have found that with a lot of my topics and I get a kick out of people saying, "Hey, they fascinate me too." I'm like, "Really?"


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Thanks Dallas! I actually have a much longer version of this that I have considered trying to sell for children's nonfiction. Good luck with your book, I'll check that out in just a couple of minutes. :)


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angela_michelle 6 years ago from United States Author

Yeah, definitely Jayjay! I looked over yours, and I'm going to definitely put a link to yours as well!


Rose West profile image

Rose West 6 years ago from Michigan

I really enjoyed this hub! Why is it that pirates are just so fascinating? They always make a good story. I learned some new things here, so thanks!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

..Write a book ! Interesting.

My main character, villain that he is, would eliminate "Pirates."

Good research. Comments about: My book? Eyes Wide Shut: An Enigma

Enter into google for web URL ..

The best,

Dallas


jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England

Great hub with lots of research, if you like I could do a link on my pirate hub to yours.

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    Bibliography

    Blackwood, G. L. (2002). Bad Guys: Pirates. Cavendish: Benchmark Books.

    Gibert, A. Y., Ward, H., & Andrew, I. (2006). Pirateology. Cambridge: Candlewick Press.

    Hamilton, J. (2003). Pirates: A History of Pirates. Minnesota: ABDO Publishing Company.

    Hamilton, J. (2007). Pirates: Pirate Ships and Weapons. Edina: Abdo Consulting Group Inc.

    Harvard, B. (2002). The Best Book of Pirates. New York: Kingfisher.

    Lincoln, M. (1995). The Pirates Handbook, How to Become a Roge of the High Seas. Dutton: Cobblehill Books.

    O'Donnell, L. (2007). The Pirate Code: Life of a Private. Mankato: Capsone Press.

    Platt, R. (2004). Discovering Pirates. Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company.

    Platt, R. (2007). Eyewitness: Pirate. New York: DK Publishing Inc.

    Smith Jr., W. T., & Selinger, G. (2006). The Complete Idiot's Guide to: Pirates. Indianapolis: Alpha.

    Williams, B. (2005). A First Look at History: Pirates. Milwaukee, Minnesota: Gareth Stevens Publishing.

    Woodard, C. (2007). The Republic Pirates: Being the true and surprising: Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the man who Brought Them Down. Orlando: Harcourt Inc.

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