Shop  •   Avatar  •   FAQ  •   Search  •   Memberlist  •   Usergroups  •   Profile  •   Log in to check private messages  •   Log in  •  Register 

Misc. Stories about Pirates
Post new topic   Reply to topic     Forum Index -> Tavern
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:26 pm    Post subject: Misc. Stories about Pirates Reply with quote

We most often think of pirates together with tropical islands in the Caribbean. This is because the Caribbean, which is comprised of the islands of the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands, was the perfect place for pirates to hide or to attack merchant vessels.

There were hundreds of safe anchorages where pirates could clean and repair their ships. There were many islands with fresh water streams, turtles, fish, hogs and cattle to provide pirates with food and water. Merchant ships from Africa, loaded with ivory, gold and slaves passed through. Spanish treasure ships loaded with silver from Central America made their way out into the Atlantic and were the greatest prize for a pirate crew. The Caribbean was a pirate paradise and was home to at least two thousand of them in the 1700’s.

Piracy was not limited to the Caribbean waters. It was practiced throughout the world. In the Mediterranean, shipping was at the mercy of the Barbary Corsairs who sailed out from the African coast. In Northern Europe, wherever merchant ships sailed between islands or through straights, pirates were ready to pounce.

Many pirates were very fine seamen and often made long voyages across oceans to try their luck in new areas. Their charts were usually inaccurate, so they relied on good lookouts and their knowledge of local waters to stay clear of reefs.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Romantic Image of Piracy

Today, the image of piracy is colored by our books, films and amusement parks. The creation of this romantic image of piracy began back in 1684 when Alexander Exquemelin published a book called The Buccaneers of America. The English edition of the books turned into a best-seller. The author had actually met buccaneers like Henry Morgan and had taken part in buccaneer raids.

The Golden Age of Piracy lasted 40 years, between 1690 and 1730. Most of the famous pirates that have helped create the popular imaged of piracy flourished in the decade between 1714 and 1724.

In 1724, Captain Charles Johnson published A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pirates. It was also a huge success. Chronicling the adventures of the most famous pirates of the Golden Age, it is still one of the most popular books of all time. Most histories of famous pirates are based on the information provided in this book. It is now commonly known that the author’s name was not really Charles Johnson, but rather, Daniel Defoe, the author of Robinson Crusoe, the first English novel. Apparently, Defoe, after having legal troubles in England, wrote several works under a pseudonym.

Piracy was being romanticized even while it was being practiced in its heyday.

Perhaps the most famous and most written about pirate of all is Blackbeard, who operated off the American coast between 1716 and 1718. He was extremely violent and killed many merchant crewmen and even killed some of his own pirate crewmen.

In the early 1800’s, romantic fiction writers took to the subject of piracy and produced such works as Lord Byron’s poem, The Corsair, Sir Walter Scott’s novel, The Pirate, and Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, Il Corsaro.



Next: Treasure Island
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Treasure Island



The single greatest and most famous pirate book of all time is Treasure Island, by the Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson. (1850 – 1894).

Stevenson introduced all the elements that are now part of the pirate myth: treasure maps, buried gold, parrots, wooden legs, eye patches, and deserted islands.

The book tells a young boy’s story of how his normal existence is shattered when a mysterious stranger appears at his father’s
inn. A treasure map soon leads the boy on a sea voyage that results in treacherous pirates trying to mutiny and steal the treasure. There is a harrowing story of the boy’s survival on a deserted island. The book is much more than a pirate story. It deals with our innate longing for mystery and the adventure of learning to rely on one’s own abilities. Treasure Island is still one of the most popular books in the world.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pirates From Books to Film



In 1904, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan was performed on stage in London. It has enchanted children ever since. It is part fairy tale and part adventure story, presenting its pirates as foolish and incompetent caricatures.

In children’s literature of the 1800’s and early 1900’s, pirates were popular subject matter. A new breed of hero was created: the smart, young, Anglo-Saxon Protestant who does battle with pirates. From this came the swashbuckling heroes of the silver screen.




In 1920, the silent movie Treasure Island was released. Later came Captain Blood starring Errol Flynn and The Black Pirate starring Douglas Fairbanks. These were the first ‘swashbucklers,’ featuring sea fights and gentlemen pirates.

In the 1930’s and 40’s, there were many swashbucklers adorning the silver screen. The remake of Captain Blood (1935), The Sea Hawk (1940) and The Black Swan (1942) are classics of the genre. They made screen idols of such actors as Errol Flynn and Tyrone power. In later years, pirate movies tended to be comedies, making fun of the romantic image of piracy.

Hollywood tended to adapt the real pirate characters from history and incorporated may inaccuracies along the way. Many of the early pirate movies were based on the boys’ adventure tales written by Rafael Sabatini (1875-1950). It is interesting to note that Hollywood has not yet filmed a serious and historically accurate pirate story. Perhaps it will.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Appeal of Piracy





The popular image of piracy appeals to the repressed desire to rebel against the constraints of civilized society. Pirates, though violent, are also free-living, wandering, fearless, cunning and always in pursuit of ill-gotten plunder that will allow them to sail into port and spend weeks having a grand time.

We envy the free lives of characters like this and tend to ignore the harsh realities of starving pirate crews, killing and the fact that most ports were closed to them.

A pirate is a robber who commits crimes at sea. There are such people committing crimes today. The South China Sea is a hotbed of pirate activity where ships and boats are routinely attacked near the Philippines. The modern-day pirates use speedboats and automatic weapons. They are very dangerous people and do not fit the popular romantic image of pirates which we seem only to apply to pirates of the past.

The pirate Long John Silver in Treasure Island sums up the pirate lifestyle this way:


Here it is about gentlemen of fortune. They live rough, and they risk swinging, but they eat and drink like fighting cocks, and when a cruise is done, why it’s hundreds of pounds instead of hundreds of farthings in their pockets. Now the most goes for rum and a good fling, and to sea again in their shirts.

Long John Silver is talking about how pirates live free and make a good bit of money while doing it. They spend their earnings on merry-making in some port before heading out to sea again.



at the beginning of the 1800’s.

If the reality of piracy is so brutal and anti-social, why have we been so interested in putting it in our literature and our movies?

Possibly, the answer is that piracy is a form of escape from the constraints of modern society. Just as the American West of the nineteenth century is romanticized and idealized because it allows us to express the wilder, adventurous, unrestrained parts of ourselves, piracy is turned into an adventurous escape from what we know as normal life.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Spanish Main

When Christopher Columbus discovered the islands of the Bahamas in 1492, he began an era of Spanish colonial expansion that gave her control of South America and the Caribbean basin.

The Caribbean includes the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the island once called ‘Hispaniola’ which is now divided into the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

This new world for Spain was the site of brutal attacks and enslavement by armies of Spanish Conquistadors, including Hernando Cortez, who conquered Mexico. The Spanish controlled the entire region in the 1500’s and exploited the native populations in order to gain wealth that they shipped back to Spain. By the late 1500’s, the Caribbean became known as ‘The Spanish Main.’

the Spanish Main.

Spanish mines extracted vast treasures in gold and silver from Mexico, Venezuela and Peru. The Spanish build huge, well-armed sailing ships called galleons that they filled with New World treasure. The galleons would then form large convoys near the island of Cuba and then sail back across the Atlantic to Spain. These galleons, loaded with gold and silver, became the targets of pirates and buccaneers.

While Spain was nearly all-powerful in the Caribbean, England and France managed to establish several settlements on the fringes of the Spanish Main. These settlements were never safe from Spanish attack and so they began to rely on piracy to attack Spanish ships and ports.

In the 1570’s, English ships ventured into the Caribbean, attacking and plundering shipping and towns. Francis Drake was the most famous of these English raiders. He probably operated with the full knowledge and approval of Queen Elizabeth I. She even financed many of his raids.

Drake was known as a ‘privateer.’ A privateer was one who attacked ships and towns of his country’s enemy. He usually had a ‘Letter of Marque,’ issued by the Queen which said that he was instructed to rob by command of the Queen. Drake frequently committed piracy without a Letter of Marque from the Queen, but these indiscretions were overlooked by his country and he became a national hero in England.

The Elizabethan pirates disrupted the flow of gold and silver from the mines of the Americas to Spain. Most pirates had no allegiance to any Queen or country. They simply had a desire to plunder vast riches from Spanish ships.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Spanish Galleons



Illustration by Thomas Trojer

The galleon was designed to protect the annual treasure fleets sailing between Spain and the New World. Most galleons weighed 300-500 tons. They held a lot of cargo and were built with three masts called the foremast, mainmast and mizzenmast. They had tall forecastles and massive sterncastles which made them unwieldy and hard to sail.

Most of the sails were square, requiring that the galleons sail with the wind coming from near the stern. The galleons could hold up to 60 cannons and could carry 200 crew.

They often carried many Spanish soldiers to help fight off pirate boarding parties. The galleons main drawback was that they were heavy and slow. Pirate ships could easily chase them down, get past the cannon fire and come alongside for a boarding attack.

The English privateers, including Francis Drake, used much faster, smaller ships called ‘Race-Built Galleons.’ These became the main ships in the English navy. the English galleons had sleek hulls, low structures and powerful cannons.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Buccaneers

In the early 1600’s, French settlers who had been driven from their settlements in the Caribbean by the Spanish, lived as frontiersmen on the island of Hispaniola. These men were excellent hunters and used long muskets and knives. They were known as the best marksmen in the world with muskets. Many of these hunting men turned to piracy and began attacking Spanish ships in the Caribbean. They took over a small island called ‘Tortuga’ and turned it into a haven for pirates and fugitives from all nations. These men were known as ‘buccaneers.’

By the 1640’s, the buccaneers had turned from hunters to seamen. They wore coarse shirts, wool pants and hats. They used small row boats to sneak up astern of larger Spanish ships, usually under cover of darkness. Marksmen in the small row boats would shoot up at the Spanish helmsmen and soldiers while the other buccaneers swarmed up the side of the ship. They got a reputation for being cruel and were feared by all Spanish sailors.

In 1655, when England drove the Spaniards from Jamaica, many buccaneers moved to Port Royal. Many attacks were launched from this port and the governor of Jamaica encouraged the buccaneers’ activities. Soon, the buccaneers were attacking entire Spanish towns on the Spanish Main.

The most famous buccaneer was Henry Morgan. He raided Spanish towns in the 1660’s and 1670’s, capturing Puerto Bello on the island of Cuba and later capturing Panama in an epic battle between 500 buccaneers and over 2,000 Spanish soldiers. After a long and successful career as a buccaneer, Henry Morgan retired in Jamaica and was considered the most successful of all buccaneers. His raids did much to ensure the survival of English interests in the Caribbean.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote



The Ships

During the era of buccaneers and the Golden Age of Piracy (1690-1725), pirates in the Caribbean adapted cargo vessels for their own use. Captured ships were often turned into pirate ships. The best pirate ships were fast enough to catch or escape from powerful enemies.

Smaller, lighter ships like sloops, brigantines, or schooners were preferred.

Sloops were the most common ships in Caribbean waters in the 17th and 18th centuries. The name was used to describe a single-masted craft with a large spread of sail. They were fast and highly maneuverable, carrying a crew of 75 men and 14 small cannon.

Brigantines were two-masted ships in use for coastal trading in American waters. The foremasts carried square-rigged sails, while the mainmasts carried a fore-and-aft-rigged mainsail and square-rigged top sail. They were up to 80 feet long and could carry 100 men and 12 small cannon.

Most larger pirate ships were made of cedar and oak. They had a raised deck near the bow called a forecastle and a higher deck near the stern called the sterncastle. The deck on top of the sterncastle was called the quarterdeck. This was where the helm or the wheel was located. Most navigational decisions were made on the quarterdeck. Just under the quarterdeck were the captain’s cabin and officer’s quarters.

The gun deck was just beneath the ship’s main deck. This was where the cannon were located.

Gunpowder was stored in the ship’s magazine. This was usually on a lower deck near the stern, well away from the ship’s galley which held the stove. The risk of fire or explosion was very great on a pirate ship. The slightest spark could ignite the gunpowder in the magazine and destroy the entire ship. Pirates were not allowed to smoke below decks.

The ship’s water supply was stored in large barrels that were placed down in the hold to act as ballast. Sails were stored in the driest area below decks so they would not rot.

Meat was salted down and packed in barrels, but it often rotted and sailors were forced to fish or go ashore to hunt for fresh meat. Pirates also ate dry, hard biscuits called ‘hard tack.’ They drank rum or grog which was rum mixed with warm water and lemon.

The regular crew slept below in cramped and dirty quarters. The smell of bilge water was foul and rats were ever-present on board.

A ship was steered with a huge wooden rudder that was linked to the ship’s wheel. The anchor could weigh up to 3,000 pounds and had to be raised and lowered with a winch called a ‘capstan.’ Five or six pirates would turn the capstan slowly around on its axis to wind in the anchor rope.

Ropes were made of hemp and made up the ship’s rigging that supported the sails and masts. Every seafarer knew how to repair ropes and fix broken pulleys.

Sails was made of tough canvas called ‘sailcloth,’ woven from hemp, cotton or linen.
Pirate crews had to climb ropes called ‘ratlines’ to get up to the yardarms which held the sails to the masts. From there, they could take in or let out sails, depending on the wind conditions.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Jolly Roger



Many pirate ships flew their own flags designed to frighten their enemies. Red was the color of choice for these flags. It was a signal to an enemy that the pirates would have no mercy and would fight to the death. The French called these flags, “Jolie Rouge,” meaning pretty red. The French later became “Jolly Roger” in English. Soon, pirate captains adopted the black flag with a picture of a skull and crossed bones or swords on it. Most pirate captains designed their own Jolly Rogers.

The usual trick when attacking a ship would be for the pirates to fly the national flag of the ship under attack in order to confuse its crew. At the last moments, as the ships drew close, the pirates would hoist the Jolly Roger to strike terror into the hearts of their victims.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Attacking Merchant Ships



Pirate ships would draw alongside a merchant vessel so that grappling hooks could be thrown over the side to latch onto the merchant vessel. Pirates would then board the merchant vessel, ready for a fight on deck. Many crews were to frightened to put up much of a fight against the pirate onslaught.

The use of a pirate ship’s guns was usually a last resort since pirates tried not to damage the very ship they were trying to take as booty.

Captured ships were completely looted. Pirates took anything they could use, including weapons, tools, medicine chests, flags, ropes, and sails. They often took whole ships and forced their crews to join them.

Of course, gold, silver, jewels, sugar, tobacco and spices could all be sold for a handsome profit.

Stolen weapons were of great value to pirates. They liked to swagger around with cutlasses and pistols. The cutlass was the weapon of choice for close combat on the decks of boarded ships.


Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Salty Dog
Helmsman
Posts: 5719



90973 Gold -

PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Pirate Code of Conduct

In order to prevent disputes, most pirate crews imposed rules of conduct upon themselves. These sets of rules were called charters.

One of the most important rules regarded the electing of the captain. Captains had absolute authority during raids, but could be removed from authority by a vote of the crew if they disapproved of his actions.

The following is a charter drawn up by the crew of a pirate captain named Bartholemew Roberts:
1. Every man shall have an equal vote in affairs of moment. He shall have an equal title to the fresh provisions or strong liquors at any time seized, and shall use them at pleasure unless a scarcity makes it necessary for the common good that a retrenchment may be voted.
2. Every man shall be called fairly in turn by the list on board of prizes, because over and above their proper share, they are allowed a shift of clothes. but if they defraud the company to the value of even one dollar in plate, jewels or money, they shall be marooned. If any man rob another he shall have his nose and ears slit, and be put ashore where he shall be sure to encounter hardships.
3. None shall game for money, either with dice or cards.
4. The lights and candles shall be put out at eight at night, and if any of the crew desire to drink after that hour they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.
5. Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols at all times clean and ready for action.
6. No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man shall be found seducing one of the latter sex and carrying her to sea in disguise, he shall suffer death.
7. He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.
8. None shall strike another aboard the ship, but every man’s quarrel shall be ended on shore by sword or pistol in this manner: at the word of command from the Quartermaster, each man being previously placed back to back, shall turn and fire immediately. If any man do not, the Quartermaster shall knock the piece out of his hand. If both miss their aim, they shall take to their cutlasses, and he that draws first blood shall be declared the victor.
9. No man shall talk of breaking up their way of living till each has a share of £1,000. Every man who shall become a cripple or lose a limb in the service shall have eight hundred pieces of eight from the common stock, and for lesser hurts proportionately.
10. The Captain and the Quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the Master Gunner and Boatswain, one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.
11. The musicians shall have rest on the Sabbath Day only, by right, on all other days, by favor only.

The pirates’ charter emphasized division of plunder, giving the elected officers a higher share. Also, the charter provides an insurance policy for pirates who were injured.

END OF PIRATE HISTORY
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic     Forum Index -> Tavern All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group