Causes – the new middle class “In honest service, there are commonly low wages and hard labour; in this – plenty, satiety, pleasure and ease, liberty and power. Who would not balance credit on this side, when all the hazard that is run for it, at worst, is only a sour look or two on choking? No, a merry life and a short one, that is my motto.” Bartholomew Roberts, Welsh pirate, 1722, a few days before he was killed in battle.
Causes – the Conquistadores 1492 – Columbus (a former pirate from Genoa) discovered America. Treaty of Tordesillas – Pope Alexander VI divided America between Spain and Portugal. “I should like to see the clause in Adam’s will that excludes me from a share in the world” Francis I 1519 – 1521 - Hernan Cortes conquered the Aztec empire. Sent 3 ships with gold and jewels back home to Charles V. 1521 – Pedro de Alvarado conquered the remains of the Mayan empire.
Causes – Geography 1527 – Francisco Pizarro and his brothers conquered the Inca Empire. The multitude of sheltered waterways formed by the rugged coastlines of the islands and cays of the Caribbean provided the perfect lairs for the pirates from which to mount surprise attacks on their unsuspected victims.
The Privateers Private ship owners with a letter of marque from their government – a permission to attack ships of any other country as long as they pay taxes. Originally merchant ships, retrofit for the purpose. Often do both – trade and piracy. Many involved in slave trade. Mostly of non-noble origin.
French Privateers Jean Fleury of Honfleur – in 1521 attacked the 3 ships sent by Cortes to Charles V and captured 2 of them, delivering the loot to his patron Jean Ango of Dieppe. J. Fleury was captured by Spain in 1527 and hung with his crew – 150 pirates. 1529-1535 – Period of peace between France and Spain, and England and Spain 1536 – French pirates based on the Bahamas attack again. Spanish begin the use of convoys. 1538 – 1568 French Huguenots attack settlements in New Spain incl. taking the North part of Santo Domingo (today Haiti) in 1553. Most famous were Francois “Peg Leg” Le Clerc, Jacques “La Rochelle” Sores and Robert Waal.
English Privateers – The Golden Age (1558-1603) Sir John Hawkins was born in Plymouth in 1532, the son of a wealthy sea captain. In his youth he went along on trading trips and heard of the riches that lay across the western sea. In 1562 he sailed to Africa, where he captured 300 people to sell as slaves. He transported this human cargo to Santo Domingo, in the West Indies, and traded them for pearls, hides, ginger, and sugar. Although the colonists had been forbidden by Spain to trade with any other nation, they were eager to buy slaves. John Hawkins second voyage two years later was equally profitable, but a third trip met disaster off the coast of Mexico in 1568. Accompanied by his cousin Sir Francis Drake, John Hawkins had already broken Spanish law by selling his cargo of slaves in the Caribbean islands. After they sought refuge for their six ships in the harbor of Veracruz, an armed Spanish fleet attacked. Only the vessels commanded by Hawkins and by Drake were able to escape. For 20 years Hawkins remained at home in the service of Queen Elizabeth I. As treasurer and controller of the navy, he built up Britains fleet, preparing to challenge Spain over supremacy of the seas. He armed the vessels more heavily and redesigned them to make them faster. He also introduced inventions that he had tested in practical experience at sea. In the great battle in which the Spanish Armada was defeated in 1588, Hawkins served as a vice admiral. He was knighted for gallantry. In 1595 he sailed with Drake on what was to be the last voyage for both. John Hawkins joined the expedition hoping to rescue his only son, Richard, who was held captive by the Spanish in Lima, Peru. Hawkins died at sea on Nov. 12, 1595, near Puerto Rico.
Sir Francis Drake (1540 – 1596) Born to a Protestant farmer, eldest of 12 children. Second cousin to John Hawkins. Sailed under Hawkins in his 3 voyages in the 1560’s. Survived the third one. 1577-1580 Drake circumnavigated the globe on the Golden Hind. Knighted by Elizabeth I in 1581 (she received 50% of the cargo – more than all royal revenue for the entire year). On March 1, 1579 the Golden Hind took the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, which had the largest treasure captured to that date - over 360,000 Pesos. The six tons of treasure took six days to transship. 1585 – Returned to the Caribbean and piracy. 1587 – Attacked Cadiz, burned part of the unfinished Armada. 1588 – Participated in the defeat of the Invincible Armada. 1595 – Returned to the Caribbean to help John Hawkins. 1596 – Died of dysentery near Panama, buried at sea.
Sir Martin Frobisher The fifth child of a farmer, raised by a relative in London. 1553 became a sailor. 1565 rose to a Captain. 1577 reached North America with 3 ships. 1578 led 15 ship armada to North America 1585 sailed with F. Drake 1588 defeated the Armada 1594 shot in battle with Spain, died a few days later.
The Invincible Armada 130 Spanish ships with 26 000 men and 30 000 more waiting in Belgium sailed to attack England for supporting the Netherlands in 1588. 3 pirates lead a navy of 34 frigates and 160 pirate ships. Helped by the poor weather the English won decisive victory.
The Buccaneers The buccaneers were pirates or privateers who attacked Spanish, and later French, shipping in the West Indies during the 17th and 18th centuries. The status of buccaneers as pirates or privateers was ambiguous. As a rule, the buccaneers called themselves privateers, and many sailed under the protection of a letter of marque granted by British or French authorities. The legal status of buccaneers was still further obscured by the practice of the Spanish authorities, who regarded them as heretics and interlopers, and thus hanged or garroted captured buccaneers entirely without regard to whether their attacks were licensed by French or English monarchs.
Famous Buccaneers Stede Bonnet, a rich Barbadian land owner, turned pirate solely in search of adventure. Bonnet captained the Revenge. Primarily raiding ships off the Virginia coast in 1717, he was caught and hanged for piracy in 1718. Edward Teach, more commonly known as Blackbeard, ruled the seas with an iron fist from 1716 to 1718. Blackbeards most famous ship was the Queen Annes Revenge, in response to the end of Queen Annes War. Blackbeard was killed by one of Lieutenant Robert Maynards crewmen in 1718.
Buccaneers – cont. "Black Sam" Bellamy, captain of the Whydah Gally, sunk in 1717 in a storm. Bartholomew Roberts, sometimes called "Black Bart", was one of the most successful and colorful pirates of the day. He was killed off the coast of Africa in 1722. William Fly, whose execution in 1726 is used by historian Marcus Rediker to mark the end of the Age of Pirates.
Henry Morgan Son of a welsh squire. Moved to Jamaica to live with uncle. 1663 Joined the largest Pirate expedition of 14 ships, 1400 pirates under Sir Christopher Myngs 1665 commanded his own ship. 1667-1669 – series of attacks on Spanish towns. 1671 – conquered Panama 1674 – knighted and appointed Governor of Jamaica
François LOlonnais 1650’s came to Caribbean as an indentured servant. 1660 became a pirate 1667 most famous voyage – sacked Maracaibo, Venezuela 1668 eaten by a native tribe in Honduras
Pirate Democracy A hundred years before the French Revolution, the buccaneer companies were run on lines in which liberty, equality and brotherhood were the rule, although only for white members of the crew. In a buccaneer ship, the captain was elected and could be deposed by the votes of the crew. The crew, and not the captain, decided the destination of each voyage and whether to attack a particular ship.Spoils were evenly divided into shares; the captain received an agreed amount for the ship, plus a portion of the share of the prize money,usually five shares.
The End of Piracy As Spanish power waned toward the end of the 17th century, the buccaneers attacks began to disrupt France and Englands merchant traffic with Spanish America. Merchants who had previously regarded the buccaneers as a defense against Spain now saw them as a threat to commerce, and colonial authorities grew hostile. This change in political atmosphere, more than anything else, put an end to buccaneering. The War of Spanish Succession ended in 1713 and this became the beginning of the end for pirates in the Caribbean.