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Cut-throat Pirates


Cut-throat Pirates
In the 1600s, the ghoulish sight of the Jolly Roger could strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest seamen. Pirates had existed for as long as man had sailed the seas, but it was at this time that they truly began to rule the waves.

The colonisation of the New World and the birth of the slave trade meant that the oceans were swarming with richly laden merchant ships, and many men and women turned to a life of crime on the high seas. And what a life it was! A bottle of rum at breakfast and a buxom wench at supper, and in between a day spent stalking ships and trading spoils in pirate havens.
Cut-throat Pirates

These hives of villainy, hidden away on islands in the Caribbean and Indian Oceans, served as launch sites for raids on enemy outposts and merchant ships. Here, pirates could repair their vessels away from the watchful eye of the Navy, while taverns, gambling halls and brothels provided welcome respite for pirates who had spent months at sea.
Over the years, pirates’ lives became easier and even more lucrative. Sailors knew these bandits were skilled, well-armed, and willing to risk it all – the chance of winning a battle with them was slim. Ships that did put up a fight were shown no mercy, so their best option was to raise the white flag and surrender.
However, as the problem of piracy grew, merchant communities began to take matters into their own hands, arming and equipping ships at their own expense to protect commerce. These ships, captained by ‘privateers’, were licensed by the crown and could attack any enemy vessel. Over time, the line between privateer and pirate became blurred.
In a world where native populations were being wiped out or bound in chains, pirate life represented freedom and democracy. It’s easy to see why many found it hard to resist the spoils of the Golden Age of Piracy.

Cut-throat Pirates