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The History Of Piracy: A Closer Look At Early Pirates

1472 words - 6 pages

When you hear the word pirate, most people think of the modern day pirates, Captain Hook from Peter Pan, Jack Sparrow from The Pirates of the Caribbean. The stereotypical definition of pirates was men who sailed the sea saying arrrgh and wear eye patches. But they were a lot bigger than that. Pirate is a word from Greek and Latin piratia, and the root of peril prefers to a person who commits acts of piracy (Waldman).

The first pirate activity that the world has knowledge of is back in the seventh century BC (Matthews 1). By the mid 13th century BCE pirates had become the dominant seafaring people of the Mediterranean, committing acts of piracy (Waldman). The Golden Age of Piracy was when pirate activity increased greatly. The Golden Age of Piracy dated 1660 to 1730 (Matthews 2). The act of piracy was a crime on the seas. For over 2,500 years pirates lurked along trading routes, ready to attack merchant ships (Lock 8). Some pirates were stealers, while others were famous for behaving unusually. The most famous were the ones whose names could strike fear into the hearts of all who heard the name (Mason 26). But during the 1800's was when Pirates were seen as monsters in human form (Mason 4).

Pirates sailed seas and oceans around the world, there was no specific area for pirates. They were called by different names in each place though (Lock 6). The most popular places for pirates were common seas like the Caribbean and the Mediterranean (Williams 18). There were many kind of pirates that sailed the seas, such as Turkish, Greek, Latin, French, and many more (Waldman). Pirates and privateers in the 17th century were mostly English, Dutch, and French (Waldman).

The first Pirates that we have records of were Phoenician sailors from the eastern Mediterranean (Mason 6). Vikings were another one of the first pirates that showed up within the seas, they appeared in the Middle Ages (Waldman). Vikings were European pirates who sailed the North Atlantic Ocean in long ships, called drakkars (Williams 5). Another type of pirate was Barbary Pirates; they were Muslims that operated with the approval of their ruler. So they saw themselves as privateers, others saw them as pirates (Mason 8). Privateers were pirates, but did not consider themselves pirates because they had permission from the government to do so. Privateers were allowed to attack enemy ships; they killed the sailors aboard and stole the treasure to give to their king or queen (Lock 18). English privateers preyed on Spanish trade routes in the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean due to the large amounts of ships. Two English Privateers were Sir Francis Drake, and Sir John Hawkins. They both worked for Queen Elizabeth. One major group of pirates was the Buccaneers. They were pirates in the 17th century who raided ships around the Caribbean Seas (Lock 6). From the 1630's out they stole from ships. Most buccaneers were settlers, slaves, or escaped criminals (Mason 14). After a while the Buccaneers...

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