Saturday, 24 March 2012


It was not a strange coincidence that as the plantations developed and the shipping increased it piracy also grew.
Right through, from the earliest centuries, where there were ships, there were pirates.

Even Julius Caesar was captured in 78 BC and held for ransom. However, once released the pirates lived to regret it.
The Vikings were notorious for raiding the settlements along the shores of England and Ireland from 834 till 930 BC.
Corsar, a Mediterranean pirate captured Christians and sold them as slaves in North America.
Drake Hawkins and Walter Raleigh were encouraged by Queen Elizabeth I to pirate the Spanish Ships and bring her the treasures.


Piracy was at its height from 1500 till 1750.  Merchant ships laden with treasures plied the seas without protection. When the navy grew bigger, they could protect the ships and piracy was declining.
After they discovered America and a route to India, the trade really began to increase by the 100-fold. That also encouraged the pirates. Ships went from Europe to Africa and America. Or from Europe to Africa and the East. They carried tea, coffee, spices, sugar, tobacco and slaves.
Indian and Arab pirates operated once in the Indian Ocean only. After the European discovered the route round the Cape of Good Hope pirates came from every nation to get their hands on those merchant ships.

From the islands on the east coast of Africa, especially Madagascar, the goods were silk. jewels, ivory and spices. The pirates took the lot plus clothing, food and tools.
Drake and his sailors used to pirate the Spanish merchants ships coming from the Spanish Main loaded with treasures. The mass islands were a paradise for pirates' ships with their deep harbours and secluded inlets for hiding out.
Treasure ships were less in the 16th century and those few were heavily guarded. The merchant shipping increased because of the New World which was being colonized rapidly.
The settlers in the Spanish West Indies, the English colonies in Virginia and Georgia and the Portuguese and Dutch colonies in South America were planters and grew rich on growing sugar and tobacco for the European market.
Tea and coffee became fashionable and demand of sugar grew. Tobacco were smoked or chewed by many people.
Plantations multiplied and so did the demand for people to work on it. The Caribs and Native Americans had been either killed off or died of diseases brought over by Europeans for which they had no resistance. Therefore, slaves were brought over from Africa and sold to planters.
With that a triangular was slowly established and proved to be very lucrative. The ships took manufactured goods to West Africa and exchanged them for human cargo. They were shipped in appalling conditions to the Caribbeans and colonies in North and South America to be sold. From that money they bought sugar and tobacco to be taken to Europe.
The trade companies tried to reduce cost and increase profits. They shipped the goods in undermanned and under gunned ships which were an easy target for pirates. National government directly or indirectly encouraged piracy. To 'unload' an enemies' ship when you are at war with the country was thought of as patriotic act.
Another reason for becoming a pirate was that in the national navies the conditions were appalling and low pay. They turned into pirates because they would get rich on the loot although the conditions weren't any different.
There were three types of sea villains operating:
PIRATES who were sea-going thieves.
PRIVATEERS who were licensed by government or shipping companies but just the same sea-going thieves.
BUCCANEERS who belonged to a band of sea-going thieves. of those people have been settlers but after being dispossessed by the Spaniards turned to be sea-going thieves to survive.
The status of one of those three types was important. Piracy was punishable by death or branding. However, if you did it for someone else, you could get away with it or even got a reward from some king.
The pirates of the Caribbean or elsewhere did not died out. Owners of luxury yacht are given guns to protect themselves. These pirates are now after luxury goods which are easily to carry.
Pirates also operate in the South China Sea and have high-speed motor vessels. Kidnapping and demand for ransom is mostly their businesses and rapidly increasing.
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