The first documented case of piracy took place in 14th century B.C. , when a group known as “the Sea Peoples” raided and attacked both Aegean and Mediterranean ships.
The word “Pirate” from the Latin word “pirata” which means sea robber. It also comes from the Greek word “Peirates” which means “he who attacks ships.” Prior to the 18th century, “Pirate” was often spelled as “Pyrate, Pirrot, and Pyrat.”
Pirates often patrolled areas that narrowed into sea channels that funneled ships containing valuable goods into predictable routes. Major routes included: The English Channel, Gibraltar, and the Strait of Malacca.
The first pirate to be hanged, drawn, and quartered for the crime of piracy was William Maurice.
While the pirates of the Atlantic and the Caribbean seem to be the most famous, pirates of the Mediterranean always had as many or more pirates throughout any given point in time during the golden age of piracy.
Pirate ships were often relatively small and lightly armed. However, they were filled to the brim with men. This made it so that they could overwhelm the crews found on ships they raided. Also, with their ships being so agile and well-manned, it made them harder to hunt down.
Pirates often chose not to kill the crews that they captured. This was because they understood that if they became known for killing everyone they captured, people would fight to the death during raids, ultimately making it harder on the pirates.
British vessels that were both wind powered and man powered (using oars from the lower decks) were used with the specific purpose of hunting pirates.
When the Caribbean started to dwindle, pirates started focusing on the Indian Ocean and the Coast of Spain. These areas often were used as routes for ships carrying high value goods like silk.
There were rumours among pirates during the late 17th century of an entirely pirate-run colony known as Libertalia. It was said to be situated somewhere in Madagascar, but there’s no actual documented evidence that this place existed.
Despite being savages, pirates did have a very organized system among themselves. Crews were given wages, rations, and ranks and were seen as family.
Mary Read and Anne Bonny are the only two female pirates to have been convicted of piracy during the golden age.
Blackbeard was a man who loved theatrics. Before raiding a ship he would strap himself with 6 guns across his chest, weave hemp through his beard, and light the hemp on fire so that he was billowing with smoke as he fought.
Fredtheoyster/WikipediaBlackbeard flew a flag of his own design. His flag had a devil skeleton holding both an hourglass and a spear dripping with blood.
When it came to drinking, pirates preferred something known as “grog” which was rum, water, sugar, and lemon.
Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge, was found off the coast of North Carolina in 1996. It had over 30 cannons and 250,000 artifacts on it.
Bartholomew Roberts is known for being the pirate with the most captures. He also famously hung the governor of Martinique over the yardarm of his ship. The nerve.
Orem/WikipediaThis was his flag. It featured a pirate sharing a toast with a spear-wielding skeleton.
Pirates did wear eye patches. However, it wasn’t because they were missing an eye. It was a way to keep one eye adjusted to dark lighting for when they went below deck. Pretty smart, those pirates.
Despite the movies and pirate lore, pirates very seldom had anybody walk the plank. They preferred to kill people straight off- unless it was a punishment.