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By Madalina Munteanu
The term can include acts committed on land. . Those who engage in acts of piracy are called pirates.Definition Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence at sea. or in other major bodies of water or on a shore. in the air. offenders have usually been apprehended by military personnel and tried by military tribunals. Historically.
as well as Greeks and Romans. were constantly raiding the Adriatic Sea. As early as 258 AD. the Gothic-Herulic fleet ravaged towns on the coasts of the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara.Ancient origins The earliest documented instances of piracy are the exploits of the Sea Peoples who threatened the Aegean and Mediterranean in the 14th century BC. During the 1st century BC. and they caused many conflicts with the Roman Republic. . The Illyrians. In Classical Antiquity. threatening the commerce of the Roman Empire in the eastern Mediterranean. and Pompey after three months of naval warfare managed to suppress the threat. there were pirate states along the Anatolian coast. the Illyrians and Tyrrhenians were known as pirates. The Senate was finally invested with powers to deal with piracy in 67 BC. populating the western Balkan peninsula.
maritime trade in both the North Sea and the Baltic Sea was seriously in danger of attack by the pirates. warriors and looters from Scandinavia who raided mainly between the 8th and 12th centuries. Until about 1440. Jelckama. fought against the troops of Charles V. . In 937. Vikings. Vikings even attacked coasts of North Africa and Italy.Middle Ages to 19th century The most widely known and far reaching pirates in medieval Europe were the Vikings. ascending the rivers of Eastern Europe as far as the Black Sea and Persia. and Welsh in their invasion of England. during the Viking Age in the Early Middle Ages. Roman Empire with some success. The lack of centralized powers all over Europe during the Middle Ages favoured pirates all over the continent. Moor pirates were common in the Mediterranean Sea. In the Late Middle Ages. capturing as many as 28 ships in one battle earning Donia the title "Cross of the Dutchman" and making him one of the most famous and iconic pirates of the era. Picts. rivers and inland cities of all Western Europe. They raided the coasts. The Narentines (Slavs) revived the old Illyrian piratical habits and often raided the Adriatic Sea. Irish pirates sided with the Scots. the Frisian pirates led by respectively Pier Gerlofs Donia and W. They also plundered all the coasts of the Baltic Sea.
preying on shipping in the western Mediterranean Sea from the time of the Crusades as well as on ships on their way to Asia around Africa until the early 19th century. Between 1 million and 1. in Eastern Europe: One example of a pirate republic in Europe from the 16th through the 18th century was Zaporizhian Sich. in North Africa: The Barbary pirates were pirates that operated from North African (the "Barbary coast") ports.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa and Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 19th centuries. The coastal villages and towns of Italy. . The most famous pirate utopia is that of the probably fictional Captain Misson and his pirate crew. Spain and Mediterranean islands were frequently attacked by them and long stretches of the Italian and Spanish coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants. The effects large-scale piracy had on the Chinese economy were immense. Île Sainte-Marie became a popular base for pirates throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. in East Asia: It began with the retreating Mongol Yuan fleet after the betrayal by their Javanese allies. Ukrainian peasants.Pirates all over the world in India: Continuous wars demanded frequent resupplies which were imported through sea routes from Persia and Africa. At one stage. This trade was subjected to frequent raids by thriving bands of pirates based in the coastal cities of Western India. the pirate population of Madagascar numbered close to 1000. Pirate fleets grew increasingly powerful throughout the early 19th century. who allegedly founded the free colony of Libertatia in northern Madagascar in the late 17th century.
Portugal and France. Many pirates came to the Caribbean after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. including the empires of Britain. Caribbean piracy arose out of. Spain. . off the coasts of North America. Some of the best-known pirate bases were New Providence. the Netherlands. Henry Morgan and the most successful Bartholomew Roberts. Among the most famous Caribbean pirates are Edward Teach or Blackbeard. River piracy. Possibly the most famous of these was Blackbeard. By 1830. continued as late as the 1870s. the conflicts over trade and colonization among the rival European powers of the time. in late 18th-mid-19th century America. and mirrored on a smaller scale. South Carolina. who operated in the American south. Most of these pirates were of English. Dutch and French origin. who were considered pirates. was primarily concentrated along the Ohio River and Mississippi River valleys. piracy in the Gulf of Mexico became rare with the exception of slave traders. The period during which pirates were most successful was from 1700 until the 1730s. attacking ships and at one point even blockading Charleston. In the Carribean: The great or classic era of piracy in the Caribbean extends from around 1560 up until the mid 1720s. Calico Jack Rackham. but occasionally even Spaniards might join in. Pirates who operated in the Caribbean often sailed north to attack targets off the present day eastern seaboard of the United States. they stayed in the Caribbean and became pirates shortly after that. In North America: Ocean piracy. in the Bahamas from 1715 to 1725. Tortuga established in the 1640s and Port Royal after 1655.
The Jolly Roger is the traditional name for the flags of European and American pirates and a symbol for piracy that has been adopted by film-makers and toy manufacturers. Pirates were also depicted as always raising their Jolly Roger flag when preparing to hijack a vessel. pirates of the classical period were rebellious. clever teams who operated outside the restricting bureaucracy of modern life. .Popular image In the popular modern imagination.
once pirates were caught. pirates injured in battle might be afforded special compensation similar to medical or disability insurance. as limited democracies. crew. . and many ended their first to instate a system of checks lives by "dancing the hempen jig". Many groups of pirates shared in whatever they seized. The first record of such a government aboard Public execution was a form of a pirate sloop dates to the 17th entertainment at the time. by the present-day United States and many other countries. people came out to watch them as Both the captain and the they would to a sporting event quartermaster were elected by the today.Pirate democracy Punishment Unlike traditional Western societies of the time. and century. justice was meted out in a summary Pirate communities were some of the fashion. and balances similar to the one used or hanging at the end of a rope. many Caribbean pirate crews of European descent operated During the 17th and 18th centuries.
if any. However. alcohol. buried their treasure. and pirates. the "treasure" that was stolen was food. pirates were more "egalitarian" than any other area of employment at the time. usually they would kill no one if the ship surrendered. Often.000 ($1.Treasure Even though pirates raided many ships. Jewels were common plunder but not popular as they were hard to sell. few. had little concept of their value. or clothing. . water. unlike the public of today. weapons. Ordinary seamen received a part of the plunder at the captain's discretion but usually a single share. In fact pirate quartermasters were a counterbalance to the captain and had the power to veto his orders. a pirate could expect the equivalent of a year's wages as his share from each ship captured while the crew of the most successful pirates would often each receive a share valued at around £1. Pirates tended to kill few people aboard the ships they captured. On average. Other things they stole were household items like bits of soap and gear like rope and anchors. Rewards Pirates had a system of hierarchy on board their ships determining how captured money was distributed.17 million) at least once in their career. or sometimes they would keep the ship they captured.
particularly in the waters between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean. off the Somali coast. Modern pirates favor small boats and taking advantage of the small number of crew members on modern cargo vessels. and also in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore. Modern definitions of piracy include the following acts: Boarding Extortion Hostage taking Kidnapping of people for ransom Murder Robbery Sabotage resulting in the ship subsequently sinking Seizure of items or the ship Shipwrecking done intentionally to a ship .Modern age Seaborne piracy against transport vessels remains a significant issue (with estimated worldwide losses of US$13 to $16 billion per year). They also use large vessels to supply the smaller attack/boarding vessels.
Peter Pan. .In popular culture Pirates are a frequent topic in fiction and are associated with certain stereotypical manners of speaking and dress. The classic Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance focuses on The Pirate King and his hopeless band of pirates on the South coast of England. Barrie's novel. Other influences include Sinbad the Sailor. Some inventions of pirate culture such as "walking the plank" were popularized by J. Nearly all our notions of their behavior come from the golden age of fictional piracy. where Captain Hook's pirates helped define the fictional pirate archetype. M. The Pirate King is often believed to be inspiration for Jack Sparrow. and the recent Pirates of the Caribbean films have helped kindle modern interest in piracy and have performed well at the box office. some of them wholly fictional. which reached its zenith in 1881 with the appearance of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island.