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The Allure of Pirates! Fortune and Freedom

Updated on December 28, 2019

Pirates of the Caribbean Series

Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean

What drove them to piracy

Although pirates have been around for centuries, it is the Golden Age of Piracy that has been romanticized in books, songs and plays. This period of the golden age is considered to be between the years 1650-1720. But even before this era Vikings and Greeks were pirating the oceans.

There were several factors contributing to the ever increasing number of pirates during this time. England was suffering economically, unemployment was high, small businesses were driven out by the larger business and farmers were forced off their lands by ruthless landowners. These factors were leading for the hunt for a better life. The cities were over crowded, food was scarce and they saw little option but to try their hand at sea as a pirate.

Pirate ships fighting for bounty

Pirate Ships
Pirate Ships

The dangers of piracy

Although a pirate could make more in one successful raid than he ever could in a lifetime. They were well aware of the perilous duties at sea. But many felt they had no choice and took the risk. They knew they could die in battle, fall over board or if captured hanged.Their lives could be cut short at any time so they lived for today and took their pleasure whenever it suited them and it almost always included wine and women. For the majority the life of a pirate signified freedom and adventure.

Gold coins found

Pirates gold coins
Pirates gold coins

Code and Rules of Pirates

Every pirate joining a ship had to sign Articles of Agreement stating the rules, discipline, division of goods and compensation for injury. They were after all a democratic bunch. Their rules for compensation could be construed as the first workman's laws enacted. This code was usually signed with several X's as most of the sailors were illiterate. The Rules were as follows:

Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs

No stealing from each other

Mind the curfew, no lights or candles after 8 PM

Stay battle ready and armed

No women on board

Settle disputes on land

Compensation for crew:

Loss of one arm, 600 pieces of eight or six slaves

Loss of one leg, 500 pieces of eight or five slaves

Loss of finger or eye, 100 pieces of eight or one slave for each

Captain to receive 5-6 portions of loot

First mate, two portions of loot

Rest of the loot divided equally among crew

Golden Age, Rules and Compensation

Rules and Compensation
Rules and Compensation

Famous Pirates

Some of the more famous pirates are:

Henry Morgan, famous for his brutality attacking the Spanish and burning the city of Panama, later made governor of Jamica..

Blackbeard, his ship Queen Anne's Revenge was discovered in 1998 about one mile off shore from Ft. Macon State Park, N. C. In 2011, the anchor was brought to surface.

William "Captain" Kidd. His ship was the Adventure Galley.

Henry Every, also known as The King of Pirates and he was known as one of the few pirates to escape with his loot and his life. He began his career as a pirate on a slave ship but ended up the most successful pirates in history.

Henry captured the ship Ganj-i-Swai in 1695 and by the time they divided the loot, each man is said to have received $500,000 in today's dollars. Crew members under the age of 14 each got $50,000. There is no record of Henry after this but it is assumed he took his loot, retired and lived in seclusion.

Henry Every-Most Successful Pirate

Henry Every
Henry Every

Famous Women Pirates

Yes, there were women pirates. Most became pirates to get out of bad situations but they were as fierce as the men. Some of them are well known and they are as follows:

Mary Reed

Anne Dieu le-Veut, a French pirate

Charlotte Badger who also was the first white female to New Zealand as a convict

Rachel Ward, last woman to be hanged in Massachusetts

Grace O'Malley, Irish, she led 20 ships and is a legend in Ireland

Discoveries of Lost Pirate Ships

The Black Swan Found in 1992 and one of the greatest recovery of gold treasure in history. In 2007 the American company, Odyssey Marine Exploration announced it uncovered gold worth 500 million. But the Spanish government claimed ownership and the case went to the US Supreme Court and in 2012 it was returned to the Spanish and is now displayed in exhibitions around the country.

The Queen Anne's Revenge was found in 1996 offshore of North Carolina and is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

The Vasa was a Swedish warship that sank on it's maiden voyage August 10, 1628. It was recovered in 1961 and is now a tourist attraction in Sweden with over 22 million visitors.

Discoveries Waiting to be Found

Here are some of lost ships just waiting to be found:

Santa Maria sailed in 1492 and ran aground in today's Haiti

Endurance trapped ice in 1915 in the Weddell Sea off Antarctica

Merchant Royal sunk in 1641 off Land's End, England and said to have 1.5 million in gold

So there are discoveries waiting to be found.

Pirate Movies

There are great movies of pirates before the series of Pirates of the Caribbean. Some of those were

The Crimson Pirate starring Burt Lancaster

Captain Blood starring Errol Flynn

Treasure Island

The Buccaneer starring Yul Brynner and Charleston Heston

The recent films of pirates are a series of five films of the Pirates of the Caribbean

The awards have been many for the Pirates of the Caribbean . Among the awards included Academy Awards, MTV Awards, and the Teen Choice Awards.

Crimson Pirate
Crimson Pirate

The Movie Buccaneer

The Buccaneer
The Buccaneer

Movie Captain Blood

Movie Captain Blood
Movie Captain Blood

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