Pirates of the Caribbean
We all know about the popular movies Pirates in the Caribbean. However, few of us actually know that there were real pirates of the Caribbean way back when in early history. Pirates and piracy have numerous definitions according to the literature. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a pirate is someone who attacks and steals from a ship at sea. It is also defined as those who attack not only ships but cities without any legal authority. It is also defined as a robbery committed either on the sea or the shore by an “agent without a commission from a sovereign nation”. The word is often used synonymously with buccaneer, which is defined as someone who tries to become wealthy or powerful by doing things that are illegal or dishonest. Many sources use both words to refer to the same set of people, and some refer to buccaneers as a type of pirate so for the purposes of this article, the two words will be used interchangeably.
It has been said that most of the famous pirates of the 17th century Caribbean were buccaneers. The Spanish were constantly under attached by pirates and buccaneers in the Caribbean as they carried riches back to Spain.
Pirates who were active in the Caribbean
Edward Lowe (born late 1600s; died 1723⁄1724)
Very successful in the Caribbean; was known for his brutality and sadism. One notably vicious act he was known for was cutting off a victim’s lips, cooking them and forcing the said victim to eat them.
Blackbeard (1680 – 1718)
Born Edward Teach, he was a well-known pirate in the 18th century, widely regarded as the Golden Age of Piracy. He was often pictures with a big feathered tricorne, with many weapons in his arsenal including swords, knives and pistols. Reports from those who saw him fight described his features as similar to the devil. However, despite the widespread reports of his fearsome demeanour, there are no verified accounts of him killing anyone. Apparently, it seemed fear was his main weapon.
Calico Jack (1682 – 1720)
Born as John Rackham, he employed two of the most infamous female (Caribbean) pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read. He was interested in Anne, who he invited to pirate with him as his crew, but dressed as a man so the crew would keep her at armlength. Him and his crew readied a small vessel near the West Indies. In a weird twist of fate, one man survived when all the other crew was murdered, and was invited to join Jack’s crew. Bonny and the young man became close, much to the jealousy of Jack, who, when he confronted the man, discovered he was actually a woman in disguise — Mary Read. Eventually, their exploits caught up with them. Jack and his crew were sentenced to death for their theft of an anchored ship in the Nassau harbour while the two women, both pregnant at the time, were put in prison.
Henry Morgan (1635 – 1688)
Morgan was one of England’s most successful privateers. In fact, he was so successful that he was one of the few pirates actually able to retire not only with great wealth intact, but little legal backlash from his previous exploits. He utilized the ongoing conflicts between England and her enemies, to support England and get rich in the process and he was the most successful pirate who used this tactic.
Henry Avery ( born in 1653, disappeared in 1696)
Like Henry Morgan, Henry Avery was also one of the few pirates to retire with great wealth intact. He has been linked with buccaneering in the Caribbean Sea.
© Photo taken from Caribbeanvacationguide.com
© Article of caribbeandreamsmagazine.com