Piracy is an act of robbery or criminal violence by ship or boat-borne attackers upon another ship or a coastal area, typically with the goal of stealing cargo and other valuable goods. Those who conduct acts of piracy are called pirates, vessels used for piracy are pirate ships. The earliest documented instances of piracy were in the 14th century BC, when the
Historic examples of such areas include the waters of Gibraltar, the Strait of Malacca, Madagascar, the Gulf of Aden, and the English Channel, whose geographic structures facilitated pirate attacks. The term piracy generally refers to maritime piracy, although the term has been generalized to refer to acts committed on land, in the air, on computer networks, and (in science fiction) outer space. Piracy usually excludes crimes committed by the perpetrator on their own vessel (e.g. theft), as well as privateering, which implies authorization by a state government.
Piracy or pirating is the name of a specific crime under
Romanticised accounts of piracy during the
The English word "pirate" is derived from the Latin pirata ("pirate, corsair, sea robber"), which comes from Greek πειρατής (peiratēs), "brigand", from πειράομαι (peiráomai), "I attempt", from πεῖρα (peîra), "attempt, experience". The meaning of the Greek word peiratēs literally is "anyone who attempts something". Over time it came to be used of anyone who engaged in robbery or brigandry on land or sea. The term first appeared in English c. 1300. Spelling did not become standardised until the eighteenth century, and spellings such as "pirrot", "pyrate" and "pyrat" occurred until this period.
The earliest documented instances of piracy are the exploits of the
In the 3rd century BC, pirate attacks on
As early as 258 AD, the Gothic-Herulic fleet ravaged towns on the coasts of the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara. The Aegean coast suffered similar attacks a few years later. In 264, the Goths reached Galatia and Cappadocia, and Gothic pirates landed on Cyprus and Crete. In the process, the Goths seized enormous booty and took thousands into captivity. In 286 AD, Carausius, a Roman military commander of Gaulish origins, was appointed to command the Classis Britannica, and given the responsibility of eliminating Frankish and Saxon pirates who had been raiding the coasts of Armorica and Belgic Gaul. In the Roman province of Britannia, Saint Patrick was captured and enslaved by Irish pirates.
The most widely recognized and far-reaching pirates in medieval Europe were the Vikings, seaborne warriors from Scandinavia who raided and looted mainly between the 8th and 12th centuries, during the Viking Age in the Early Middle Ages. They raided the coasts, rivers and inland cities of all Western Europe as far as Seville, which was attacked by the Norse in 844. Vikings also attacked the coasts of North Africa and Italy and plundered all the coasts of the Baltic Sea. Some Vikings ascended the rivers of Eastern Europe as far as the Black Sea and Persia.
In the Late Middle Ages, the Frisian pirates known as Arumer Zwarte Hoop led by Pier Gerlofs Donia and Wijerd Jelckama, fought against the troops of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with some success.
Toward the end of the 9th century, Moorish pirate havens were established along the coast of southern France and northern Italy.
The Narentines took more liberties in their raiding quests while the Venetian Navy was abroad, as when it was campaigning in Sicilian waters in 827–882. As soon as the Venetian fleet would return to the Adriatic, the Narentines momentarily outcasted their habits again, even signing a Treaty in Venice and baptising their Slavic pagan leader into Christianity. In 834 or 835 they broke the treaty and again they raided Venetian traders returning from Benevento. All of Venice's military attempts to punish them in 839 and 840 utterly failed.
Later, they raided the Venetians more often, together with the
In 937, Irish pirates sided with the Scots, Vikings,
H. Thomas Milhorn mentions a certain Englishman named William Maurice, convicted of piracy in 1241, as the first person known to have been hanged, drawn and quartered, which would indicate that the then-ruling King Henry III took an especially severe view of this crime.
As early as Byzantine times, the Maniots (one of Greece's toughest populations) were known as pirates. The Maniots considered piracy as a legitimate response to the fact that their land was poor and it became their main source of income. The main victims of Maniot pirates were the Ottomans but the Maniots also targeted ships of European countries.
The main target of the inhabitants of the Zaporizhian Sich who called themselves "Cossacks", were rich settlements at the Black Sea shores of Ottoman Empire and
Though less famous and romanticized than Atlantic or Caribbean pirates, corsairs in the Mediterranean equaled or outnumbered the former at any given point in history. Mediterranean piracy was conducted almost entirely with galleys until the mid-17th century, when they were gradually replaced with highly maneuverable sailing vessels such as xebecs and brigantines. They were of a smaller type than battle galleys, often referred to as galiots or fustas.
Pirate galleys were small, nimble, lightly armed, but often crewed in large numbers in order to overwhelm the often minimal crews of merchant ships. In general, pirate craft were extremely difficult for patrolling craft to actually hunt down and capture. Anne Hilarion de Tourville, a French admiral of the 17th century, believed that the only way to run down raiders from the infamous corsair Moroccan port of Salé was by using a captured pirate vessel of the same type.
Using oared vessels to combat pirates was common, and was even practiced by the major powers in the Caribbean. Purpose-built galleys, or hybrid sailing vessels, were built by the English in Jamaica in 1683 and by the Spanish in the late 16th century. Specially-built sailing frigates with oar-ports on the lower decks, like the James Galley and Charles Galley, and oar-equipped sloops proved highly useful for pirate hunting, though they were not built in sufficient numbers to check piracy until the 1720s.
The expansion of Muslim power through the Ottoman conquest of large parts of the eastern Mediterranean in the 15th and 16th century resulted in extensive piracy on sea trading. The so-called Barbary pirates began to operate out of North African ports in Algiers, Tunis, Tripoli, Morocco around 1500, preying primarily on the shipping of Christian powers, including massive slave raids at sea as well as on land. The Barbary pirates were nominally under Ottoman suzerainty, but had considerable independence to prey on the enemies of Islam. The Muslim corsairs were technically often privateers with support from legitimate, though highly belligerent, states. They considered themselves as holy Muslim warriors, or ghazis, carrying on the tradition of fighting the incursion of Western Christians that had begun with the First Crusade late in the 11th century.
Coastal villages and towns of Italy, Spain and
The Barbary pirates had a direct Christian counterpart in the military order of the
Historian Peter Earle has described the two sides of the Christian-Muslim Mediterranean conflict as "mirror image[s] of maritime predation, two businesslike fleets of plunderers set against each other". This conflict of faith in the form of privateering, piracy and slave raiding generated a complex system that was upheld/financed/operated on the trade in plunder and slaves that was generated from a low-intensive conflict, as well as the need for protection from violence. The system has been described as a "massive, multinational protection racket", the Christian side of which was not ended until 1798 in the Napoleonic Wars. The Barbary corsairs were quelled as late as the 1830s, effectively ending the last vestiges of counter-crusading jihad.
Piracy off the
A particular bone of contention was the tendency of foreign ships to pose as English to avoid attack. Growing English naval power and increasingly persistent operations against the corsairs proved increasingly costly for the Barbary States. During the reign of Charles II a series of English expeditions won victories over raiding squadrons and mounted attacks on their home ports which permanently ended the Barbary threat to English shipping. In 1675 a bombardment from a Royal Navy squadron led by Sir John Narborough and further defeats at the hands of a squadron under Arthur Herbert negotiated a lasting peace (until 1816) with Tunis and Tripoli.
France, which had recently emerged as a leading naval power, achieved comparable success soon afterwards, with bombardments of Algiers in 1682, 1683 and 1688 securing a lasting peace, while Tripoli was similarly coerced in 1686. In 1783 and 1784 the Spaniards bombarded Algiers in an effort to stem the piracy. The second time, Admiral Barceló damaged the city so severely that the Algerian Dey asked Spain to negotiate a peace treaty. From then on, Spanish vessels and coasts were safe for several years.
Until the American
In 1815, the sacking of Palma on the island of Sardinia by a Tunisian squadron, which carried off 158 inhabitants, roused widespread indignation. Britain had by this time banned the slave trade and was seeking to induce other countries to do likewise. This led to complaints from states which were still vulnerable to the corsairs that Britain's enthusiasm for ending the trade in African slaves did not extend to stopping the enslavement of Europeans and Americans by the Barbary States.
In order to neutralise this objection and further the anti-slavery campaign, in 1816
Securing uniform compliance with a total prohibition of slave-raiding, which was traditionally of central importance to the North African economy, presented difficulties beyond those faced in ending attacks on ships of individual nations, which had left slavers able to continue their accustomed way of life by preying on less well-protected peoples. Algiers renewed its slave-raiding, though on a smaller scale. Measures to be taken against the city's government were discussed at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1818. In 1820, another British fleet under Admiral Sir Harry Neal again bombarded Algiers. Corsair activity based in Algiers did not entirely cease until its conquest by France in 1830.
With the advent of the
Slave raids was particularly economically important to the Muslim Sultanates in the
These slaves were taken from piracy on passing ships as well as coastal raids on settlements as far as the
The scale was so massive that the word for "pirate" in
Spanish authorities and native Christian Filipinos responded to the Moro slave raids by building watchtowers and forts across the Philippine archipelago, many of which are still standing today. Some provincial capitals were also moved further inland. Major command posts were built in
Aside from the Iranun and Banguingui pirates, other polities were also associated with maritime raiding. The Bugis sailors of
In East Asia by the ninth century, populations centered mostly around merchant activities in coastal Shandong and Jiangsu. Wealthy benefactors including Jang Bogo established Silla Buddhist temples in the region. Jang Bogo had become incensed at the treatment of his fellow countrymen, who in the unstable milieu of late Tang often fell victim to coastal pirates or inland bandits. After returning to Silla around 825, and in possession of a formidable private fleet headquartered at Cheonghae (Wando), Jang Bogo petitioned the Silla king Heungdeok (r. 826–836) to establish a permanent maritime garrison to protect Silla merchant activities in the Yellow Sea. Heungdeok agreed and in 828 formally established the Cheonghae (淸海, "clear sea") Garrison (청해진) at what is today Wando island off Korea's South Jeolla province. Heungdeok gave Jang an army of 10,000 men to establish and man the defensive works. The remnants of Cheonghae Garrison can still be seen on Jang islet just off Wando's southern coast. Jang's force, though nominally bequeathed by the Silla king, was effectively under his own control. Jang became arbiter of Yellow Sea commerce and navigation.
From the 13th century, Wokou based in Japan made their debut in East Asia, initiating invasions that would persist for 300 years. The wokou raids peaked in the 1550s, but by then the wokou were mostly Chinese smugglers who reacted strongly against the Ming dynasty's strict prohibition on private sea trade.
In the 1840s and 1850s, United States Navy and Royal Navy forces campaigned together against Chinese pirates. Major battles were fought such as those at Ty-ho Bay and the Tonkin River though pirate junks continued operating off China for years more. However, some British and American individual citizens also volunteered to serve with Chinese pirates to fight against European forces. The British offered rewards for the capture of westerners serving with Chinese pirates. During the Second Opium War and the Taiping Rebellion, piratical junks were again destroyed in large numbers by British naval forces but ultimately it was not until the 1860s and 1870s that fleets of pirate junks ceased to exist.
Piracy in the Ming dynasty
Pirates in the Ming era tended to come from populations on the geographic periphery of the state. They were recruited largely from the lower classes of society, including poor fishermen, and many were fleeing from obligatory labor on state-building projects organized by the dynasty. These lower-class men, and sometimes women, may have fled taxation or conscription by the state in the search of better opportunities and wealth, and willingly joined local pirate bands. These local, lower class individuals seem to have felt unrepresented, and traded the small amount of security afforded them from their allegiance to the state for the promise of a relatively improved existence engaging in smuggling or other illegal trade.
Originally, pirates in the coastal areas near Fujian and Zhejiang may have been Japanese, suggested by the Ming government referring to them as "wokou (倭寇)", but it is probable that piracy was a multi-ethnic profession by the 16th century, although coastal brigands continued to be referred to as wokou in many government documents. Most pirates were probably Han Chinese, but Japanese and even Europeans engaged in pirate activities in the region.
Pirates engaged in a number of different schemes to make a living. Smuggling and illegal trade overseas were major sources of revenue for pirate bands, both large and small. As the Ming government mostly outlawed private trade overseas, at least until the overseas silver trade contributed to a lifting of the ban, pirates basically could almost by default control the market for any number of foreign goods. The geography of the coastline made chasing pirates quite difficult for the authorities, and private overseas trade began to transform coastal societies by the 15th century, as nearly all aspects of the local society benefitted from or associated with illegal trade. The desire to trade for silver eventually led to open conflict between the Ming and illegal smugglers and pirates. This conflict, along with local merchants in southern China, helped persuade the Ming court to end the haijin ban on private international trade in 1567.
Pirates also projected local political authority. Larger pirate bands could act as local governing bodies for coastal communities, collecting taxes and engaging in "protection" schemes. In addition to illegal goods, pirates ostensibly offered security to communities on land in exchange for a tax. These bands also wrote and codified laws that redistributed wealth, punished crimes, and provided protection for the taxed community. These laws were strictly followed by the pirates, as well. The political structures tended to look similar to the Ming structures.
Hierarchy and structure
Pirates did not tend to stay pirates permanently. It seems to have been relatively easy both to join and leave a pirate band, and these raiding groups were more interested in maintaining a willing force. Members of these pirate groups did not tend to stay longer than a few months or years at a time.
There appears to have been a hierarchy in most pirate organizations. Pirate leaders could become very wealthy and powerful, especially when working with the Chinese dynasty, and, consequently, so could those who served under them. These pirate groups were organized similarly to other "escape societies" throughout history, and maintained a redistributive system to reward looting; the pirates directly responsible for looting or pillaging got their cut first, and the rest was allocated to the rest of the pirate community. There seems to be evidence that there was an egalitarian aspect to these communities, with capability to do the job being rewarded explicitly. The pirates themselves had some special privileges under the law when they interacted with communities on land, mostly in the form of extra allotments of redistributed wealth.
Pirates, of course, had to sell their loot. They had trading relationships with land communities and foreign traders in the southeastern regions of China. Zhu Wan, who held the office of Grand Coordinator for Coastal Defense, documented that pirates in the region to which he had been sent had the support of the local elite gentry class. These "pirates in gowns and caps" directly or indirectly sponsored pirate activity and certainly directly benefitted from the illegal private trade in the region. When Zhu Wan or other officials from the capital attempted to eliminate the pirate problem, these local elites fought back, having Zhu Wan demoted and eventually even sent back to Beijing to possibly be executed. The gentry who benefitted from illegal maritime trade were too powerful and influential, and they were clearly very invested in the smuggling activities of the pirate community.
In addition to their relationship with the local elite class on the coast, pirates also had complicated and often friendly relationships and partnerships with the dynasty itself, as well as with international traders. When pirate groups recognized the authority of the dynasty, they would often be allowed to operate freely and even profit from the relationship. There were also opportunities for these pirates to ally themselves with colonial projects from Europe or other overseas powers. Both the dynasty and foreign colonial projects would employ pirates as mercenaries to establish dominance in the coastal region. Because of how difficult it was for established state powers to control these regions, pirates seem to have had a lot of freedom to choose their allies and their preferred markets. Included in this list of possible allies, sea marauders and pirates even found opportunities to bribe military officials as they engaged in illegal trade. They seem to have been incentivized mostly by money and loot, and so could afford to play the field with regards to their political or military allies.
Because pirate organizations could be so powerful locally, the Ming government made concerted efforts to weaken them. The presence of colonial projects complicated this, however, as pirates could ally themselves with other maritime powers or local elites to stay in business. The Chinese government was clearly aware of the power of some of these pirate groups, as some documents even refer to them as "sea rebels," a reference to the political nature of pirates. Pirates like Zheng Zhilong and Zheng Chenggong accrued tremendous local power, eventually even being hired as naval commanders by the Chinese dynasties and foreign maritime powers.
Pirates who accepted the Royal Pardon from the
Starting in the 14th century, the
During the 16th and 17th centuries, there was frequent European piracy against
The southern coast of the
At one point, there were nearly 1,000 pirates located in Madagascar.
The classic era of piracy in the Caribbean lasted from circa 1650 until the mid-1720s. By 1650, France, England and the United Provinces began to develop their colonial empires. This involved considerable seaborne trade, and a general economic improvement: there was money to be made – or stolen – and much of it traveled by ship.
French buccaneers were established on northern Hispaniola as early as 1625, but lived at first mostly as hunters rather than robbers; their transition to full-time piracy was gradual and motivated in part by Spanish efforts to wipe out both the buccaneers and the prey animals on which they depended. The buccaneers' migration from Hispaniola's mainland to the more defensible offshore island of Tortuga limited their resources and accelerated their piratical raids. According to Alexandre Exquemelin, a buccaneer and historian who remains a major source on this period, the Tortuga buccaneer Pierre Le Grand pioneered the settlers' attacks on galleons making the return voyage to Spain.
The growth of buccaneering on Tortuga was augmented by the English capture of Jamaica from Spain in 1655. The early English governors of Jamaica freely granted letters of marque to Tortuga buccaneers and to their own countrymen, while the growth of Port Royal provided these raiders with a far more profitable and enjoyable place to sell their booty. In the 1660s, the new French governor of Tortuga, Bertrand d'Ogeron, similarly provided privateering commissions both to his own colonists and to English cutthroats from Port Royal. These conditions brought Caribbean buccaneering to its zenith.
A new phase of piracy began in the 1690s as English pirates began to look beyond the Caribbean for treasure. The fall of Britain's Stuart kings had restored the traditional enmity between Britain and France, thus ending the profitable collaboration between English Jamaica and French Tortuga. The devastation of Port Royal by an
At the same time, England's less favored colonies, including Bermuda, New York, and Rhode Island, had become cash-starved by the Navigation Acts, which restricted trade with foreign ships. Merchants and governors eager for coin were willing to overlook and even underwrite pirate voyages; one colonial official defended a pirate because he thought it "very harsh to hang people that brings in gold to these provinces." Although some of these pirates operating out of New England and the Middle Colonies targeted Spain's remoter Pacific coast colonies well into the 1690s and beyond, the Indian Ocean was a richer and more tempting target. India's economic output was large during this time, especially in high-value luxury goods like silk and calico which made ideal pirate booty; at the same time, no powerful navies plied the Indian Ocean, leaving both local shipping and the various East India companies' vessels vulnerable to attack. This set the stage for the famous pirates, Thomas Tew, Henry Every, Robert Culliford and (although his guilt remains controversial) William Kidd.
In 1713 and 1714, a series of peace treaties ended the War of the Spanish Succession. As a result, thousands of seamen, including European privateers who had operated in the West Indies, were relieved of military duty, at a time when cross-Atlantic colonial shipping trade was beginning to boom. In addition, European sailors who had been pushed by unemployment to work onboard merchantmen (including slave ships) were often enthusiastic to abandon that profession and turn to pirating, giving pirate captains a steady pool of recruits various coasts across the Atlantic.
In 1715, pirates launched a major raid on Spanish divers trying to recover gold from a sunken treasure galleon near Florida. The nucleus of the pirate force was a group of English ex-privateers, all of whom would soon be enshrined in infamy: Henry Jennings, Charles Vane, Samuel Bellamy, and Edward England. The attack was successful, but contrary to their expectations, the governor of Jamaica refused to allow Jennings and their cohorts to spend their loot on his island. With Kingston and the declining Port Royal closed to them, Jennings and his comrades founded a new pirate base at Nassau, on the island of New Providence in the Bahamas, which had been abandoned during the war. Until the arrival of governor Woodes Rogers three years later, Nassau would be home for these pirates and their many recruits.
Shipping traffic between Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe began to soar in the 18th century, a model that was known as triangular trade, and was a rich target for piracy. Trade ships sailed from Europe to the African coast, trading manufactured goods and weapons in exchange for slaves. The traders would then sail to the Caribbean to sell the slaves, and return to Europe with goods such as sugar, tobacco and cocoa. Another triangular trade saw ships carry raw materials, preserved cod, and rum to Europe, where a portion of the cargo would be sold for manufactured goods, which (along with the remainder of the original load) were transported to the Caribbean, where they were exchanged for sugar and molasses, which (with some manufactured articles) were borne to New England. Ships in the triangular trade made money at each stop.
As part of the peace settlement of the
Piracy in the Caribbean declined for the next several decades after 1730, but by the 1810s many pirates roamed the waters though they were not as bold or successful as their predecessors. The most successful pirates of the era were
The elimination of piracy from European waters expanded to the Caribbean in the 18th century, West Africa and North America by the 1710s and by the 1720s even the Indian Ocean was a difficult location for pirates to operate.
England began to strongly turn against piracy at the turn of the 18th century, as it was increasingly damaging to the country's economic and commercial prospects in the region. The Piracy Act of 1698 for the "more effectual suppression of Piracy" made it easier to capture, try and convict pirates by lawfully enabling acts of piracy to be "examined, inquired of, tried, heard and determined, and adjudged in any place at sea, or upon the land, in any of his Majesty's islands, plantations, colonies, dominions, forts, or factories." This effectively enabled admirals to hold a court session to hear the trials of pirates in any place they deemed necessary, rather than requiring that the trial be held in England. Commissioners of these vice-admiralty courts were also vested with "full power and authority" to issue warrants, summon the necessary witnesses, and "to do all thing necessary for the hearing and final determination of any case of piracy, robbery, or felony." These new and faster trials provided no legal representation for the pirates; and ultimately led in this era to the execution of 600 pirates, which represented approximately 10 percent of the pirates active at the time in the Caribbean region. Being an accessory to piracy was also criminalised under the statute.
Piracy saw a brief resurgence between the end of the
After 1720, piracy in the classic sense became extremely rare as increasingly effective anti-piracy measures were taken by the Royal Navy, making it impossible for any pirate to pursue an effective career for long. By 1718, the British Royal Navy had approximately 124 vessels and 214 by 1815; a big increase from the two vessels England had possessed in 1670. British Royal Navy warships tirelessly hunted down pirate vessels, and almost always won these engagements.
Many pirates did not surrender and were killed at the point of capture; notorious pirate Edward Teach, or "Blackbeard", was hunted down by Lieutenant Robert Maynard at Ocracoke Inlet off the coast of North Carolina on November 22, 1718, and killed. His flagship was a captured French slave ship known originally as La Concorde, he renamed the frigate Queen Anne's Revenge. Captain Chaloner Ogle of HMS Swallow cornered Bartholomew Roberts in 1722 at Cape Lopez, and a fatal broadside from the Swallow killed the pirate captain instantly. Roberts' death shocked the pirate world, as well as the Royal Navy. The local merchants and civilians had thought him invincible, and some considered him a hero. Roberts' death was seen by many historians as the end of the Golden Age of Piracy. Also crucial to the end of this era of piracy was the loss of the pirates' last Caribbean safe haven at Nassau.
In the early 19th century, piracy along the East and Gulf Coasts of North America as well as in the Caribbean increased again. Jean Lafitte was just one of hundreds of pirates operating in American and Caribbean waters between the years of 1820 and 1835. The United States Navy repeatedly engaged pirates in the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and in the Mediterranean. Cofresí's El Mosquito was disabled in
About the time of the Mexican–American War in 1846, the United States Navy had grown strong and numerous enough to eliminate the pirate threat in the West Indies. By the 1830s, ships had begun to convert to steam propulsion, so the Age of Sail and the classical idea of pirates in the Caribbean ended. Privateering, similar to piracy, continued as an asset in war for a few more decades and proved to be of some importance during the naval campaigns of the American Civil War.
Privateering would remain a tool of European states until the mid-19th century's
Due to the strategic situation of this Spanish archipelago as a crossroads of maritime routes and commercial bridge between Europe, Africa and America, this was one of the places on the planet with the greatest pirate presence.
Piracy on the east coast of North America first became common in the early seventeenth century, as English privateers discharged after the end of the Anglo-Spanish War (1585–1604) turned to piracy. The most famous and successful of these early pirates was Peter Easton.
River piracy in late 18th-mid-19th century America was primarily concentrated along the Ohio River and Mississippi River valleys. In 1803, at Tower Rock, the U.S. Army dragoons, possibly, from the frontier army post up river at Fort Kaskaskia, on the Illinois side opposite St. Louis, raided and drove out the river pirates.
Stack Island was also associated with river pirates and counterfeiters in the late 1790s. In 1809, the last major river pirate activity took place, on the Upper Mississippi River, and river piracy in this area came to an abrupt end, when a group of flatboatmen raided the island, wiping out the river pirates. From 1790 to 1834, Cave-In-Rock was the principal outlaw lair and headquarters of river pirate activity in the Ohio River region, from which Samuel Mason led a gang of river pirates on the Ohio River.
River piracy continued on the lower Mississippi River, from the early 1800s to the mid-1830s, declining as a result of direct military action and local
Pirates had a system of hierarchy on board their ships determining how captured money was distributed. However, pirates were more
Spanish pieces of eight minted in Mexico or Seville were the standard trade currency in the American colonies. However, every colony still used the monetary units of pounds, shillings, and pence for bookkeeping while Spanish, German, French, and Portuguese money were all standard mediums of exchange as British law prohibited the export of British silver coinage. Until the exchange rates were standardised in the late 18th century each colony legislated its own different exchange rates. In England, 1 piece of eight was worth 4s 3d while it was worth 8s in New York, 7s 6d in Pennsylvania and 6s 8d in Virginia. One 18th-century English shilling was worth around $58 in modern currency, so a piece of eight could be worth anywhere from $246 to $465. As such, the value of pirate plunder could vary considerably, depending on who recorded it and where.
Ordinary seamen received a part of the plunder at the captain's discretion but usually a single share. On average, 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 £1,000 ($1.17 million) at least once in their career. One of the larger amounts taken from a single ship was that by captain Thomas Tew from an Indian merchantman in 1692. Each ordinary seaman on his ship received a share worth £3,000 ($3.5 million), with officers receiving proportionally larger amounts as per the agreed shares, with Tew himself receiving 2½ shares. It is known there were actions with multiple ships captured where a single share was worth almost double this.
By contrast, an ordinary seamen in the Royal Navy received 19s per month to be paid in a lump sum at the end of a tour of duty, which was around half the rate paid in the
Although the Royal Navy suffered from many morale issues, it answered the question of prize money via the 'Cruizers and Convoys' Act of 1708 which handed over the share previously gained by the Crown to the captors of the ship. Technically it was still possible for the Crown to get the money or a portion of it but this rarely happened. The process of condemnation of a captured vessel and its cargo and men was given to the High Court of the Admiralty and this was the process which remained in force with minor changes throughout the
|Rank||Pre 1808||Post 1808|
|Admiral of fleet||1/8||1/8|
Captain of Marines
|Wardroom Warrant officers
& Petty Officers
Even the flag officer's share was not quite straightforward; he would only get the full one-eighth if he had no junior flag officer beneath him. If this was the case then he would get a third share. If he had more than one then he would take one-half while the rest was shared out equally.
There was a great deal of money to be made in this way. The record breaker was the capture of the Spanish frigate Hermione, which was carrying treasure in 1762. The value of this was so great that each individual seaman netted £485 ($1.4 million in 2008 dollars). The two captains responsible, Evans and Pownall, received £65,000 each ($188.4 million). In January 1807 the frigate Caroline took the Spanish San Rafael, which brought in £52,000 for her captain, Peter Rainier (who had been only a midshipman some thirteen months before). All through the wars there are examples of this kind of luck falling on captains. Another famous 'capture' was that of the Spanish frigates Thetis and Santa Brigada, which were loaded with gold specie. They were taken by four British frigates who shared the money, each captain receiving £40,730. Each lieutenant got £5,091, the Warrant Officer group, £2,468, the midshipmen £791 and the individual seamen £182.
It should also be noted that it was usually only the frigates which took prizes; the ships of the line were far too ponderous to be able to chase and capture the smaller ships which generally carried treasure. Nelson always bemoaned that he had done badly out of prize money and even as a flag officer received little. This was not that he had a bad command of captains but rather that British mastery of the seas was so complete that few enemy ships dared to sail.
|Rank||Bartholomew Roberts||George Lowther||William Phillips||Privateer
(Sir William Monson)
|Captain||2 shares||2 shares||1.5 shares||10 shares||£8, 8s|
|Master||1.5 shares||1.5 shares||1.25 shares||7 or 8 shares||£4|
|Boatswain||1.5 shares||1.25 shares||1.25 shares||5 shares||£2|
|Gunner||1.5 shares||1.25 shares||1.25 shares||5 shares||£2|
|Quartermaster||2 shares||4 shares||£1, 6s|
|Carpenter||1.25 shares||5 shares||£2|
|1.25 shares||5 shares||£2, 2s|
|Doctor||1.25 shares||5 shares||£5 +2d per man aboard|
|"Other Officers"||1.25 shares||various rates||various rates|
Even though pirates raided many ships, few, if any, buried their treasure. Often, the "treasure" that was stolen was food, water, alcohol, weapons, or clothing. Other things they stole were household items like bits of soap and gear like rope and anchors, or sometimes they would keep the ship they captured (either to sell off or keep because it was better than their ship). Such items were likely to be needed immediately, rather than saved for future trade. For this reason, there was no need for the pirates to bury these goods. Pirates tended to kill few people aboard the ships they captured; usually they would kill no one if the ship surrendered, because if it became known that pirates took no prisoners, their victims would fight to the last breath and make victory both very difficult and costly in lives. In contrast, ships would quickly surrender if they knew they would be spared. In one well-documented case 300 heavily armed soldiers on a ship attacked by Thomas Tew surrendered after a brief battle with none of Tew's 40-man crew being injured.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, once pirates were caught, justice was meted out in a summary fashion, and many ended their lives by "dancing the hempen jig", a euphemism for hanging. Public execution was a form of entertainment at the time, and people came out to watch them as they would to a sporting event today. Newspapers reported details such as condemned men's last words, the prayers said by the priests, and descriptions of their final moments in the gallows. In England most of these executions took place at Execution Dock on the River Thames in London.
In the cases of more famous prisoners, usually captains, their punishments extended beyond death. Their bodies were enclosed in
Role of women
While piracy was predominantly a male occupation throughout history, a minority of pirates were female. Pirates did not allow women onto their ships very often. Additionally, women were often regarded as bad luck among pirates. It was feared that the male members of the crew would argue and fight over the women. On many ships, women (as well as young boys) were prohibited by the ship's contract, which all crew members were required to sign. : 303
Because of the resistance to allowing women on board, many female pirates did not identify themselves as such. Anne Bonny, for example, dressed and acted as a man while on Captain Calico Jack's ship.: 285 She and Mary Read, another female pirate, are often identified as being unique in this regard. However, it is possible many women dressed as men during the Golden Age of Piracy, in an effort to take advantage of the many rights, privileges, and freedoms that were exclusive to men.
Democracy among Caribbean pirates
Unlike traditional Western societies of the time, many Caribbean pirate crews of European descent operated as limited democracies. Pirate communities were some of the first to instate a system of checks and balances similar to the one used by the present-day democracies. The first record of such a government aboard a pirate sloop dates to the 17th century.
As recorded by Captain Charles Johnson regarding the articles of Bartholomew Roberts.
- 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 may make it necessary for the common good that a retrenchment may be voted.
- 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.
- None shall game for money either with dice or cards.
- The lights and candles should 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.
- Each man shall keep his piece, cutlass and pistols at all times clean and ready for action.
- No boy or woman to be allowed amongst them. If any man shall be found seducing any of the latter sex and carrying her to sea in disguise he shall suffer death.
- He that shall desert the ship or his quarters in time of battle shall be punished by death or marooning.
- None shall strike another on board 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 draw the first blood shall be declared the victor.
- 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 800 pieces of eight from the common stock and for lesser hurts proportionately.
- The captain and the quartermaster shall each receive two shares of a prize, the master gunner and boatswain, one and one half shares, all other officers one and one quarter, and private gentlemen of fortune one share each.
- The musicians shall have rest on the Sabbath Day only by right. On all other days by favor only.
Known pirate shipwrecks
To date, the following identifiable pirate
- "Black Sam" Bellamy. The wreck was found off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, buried under 10 ft (3 m) to 50 ft (15 m) feet of sand, in depths ranging from 16 ft (5 m) to 30 ft (9 m) feet deep, spread for four miles, parallel to the Cape's easternmost coast. With the discovery of the ship's bell in 1985 and a small brass placard in 2013, both inscribed with the ship's name and maiden voyage date, the Whydah is the only fully authenticated Golden Age pirate shipwreck ever discovered. Since 2007, the Wydah collection has been touring as part of the exhibit "Real Pirates" sponsored by National Geographic.
- Topsail Inlet, now known as Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina. Intersal, a private firm working under a permit with the state of North Carolina, discovered the remains of the vessel in 28 feet (8.5m) of water about one mile (1.6 km) offshore of Fort Macon State Park, Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. Thirty-one cannons have been identified to date, and more than 250,000 artifacts have been recovered. The cannons are of different origins (such as English, Swedish, and possibly French) and different sizes, as would be expected with a colonial pirate crew.
- Golden Fleece (discovered in 2009), the ship of the notorious English pirate Joseph Bannister, which was found by the American shipwreck hunters John Chatterton and John Mattera in the Dominican Republic, at Samaná Bay. The discovery is recounted in Robert Kurson's book Pirate Hunters (2015).
A privateer or corsair used similar methods to a pirate, but acted under orders of the state while in possession of a commission or
Privateers constituted a large proportion of the total military force at sea during the 17th and 18th centuries. During the
Privateering lost international sanction under the Declaration of Paris in 1856.
A wartime activity similar to piracy involves disguised warships called commerce raiders or merchant raiders, which attack enemy shipping commerce, approaching by stealth and then opening fire. Commerce raiders operated successfully during the American Revolution. During the American Civil War, the Confederacy sent out several commerce raiders, the most famous of which was the CSS Alabama. During World War I and World War II, Germany also made use of these tactics, both in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Since commissioned naval vessels were openly used, these commerce raiders should not be considered even privateers, much less pirates—although the opposing combatants were vocal in denouncing them as such.
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Seaborne piracy against transport vessels remains a significant issue (with estimated worldwide losses of US$16 billion per year), particularly in the waters between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, off the Somali coast, and also in the Strait of Malacca and Singapore, which are used by over 50,000 commercial ships a year. In the Gulf of Guinea, maritime piracy has also led to pressure on offshore oil and gas production, providing security for offshore installations and supply vessels is often paid for by oil companies rather than the respective governments. In the late 2000s, the emergence of piracy off the coast of Somalia spurred a multi-national effort led by the United States to patrol the waters near the Horn of Africa. In 2011, Brazil also created an anti-piracy unit on the Amazon River. Sir Peter Blake, a New Zealand world champion yachtsman, was killed by pirates on the Amazon river in 2001.
Modern pirates favor small boats and taking advantage of the small number of crew members on modern cargo vessels. They also use large vessels to supply the smaller attack/boarding vessels. Modern pirates can be successful because a large amount of international commerce occurs via shipping. Major shipping routes take cargo ships through narrow bodies of water such as the Gulf of Aden and the Strait of Malacca making them vulnerable to be overtaken and boarded by small motorboats. Other active areas include the South China Sea and the Niger Delta. As usage increases, many of these ships have to lower cruising speeds to allow for navigation and traffic control, making them prime targets for piracy.
Also, pirates often operate in regions of poor developing or struggling countries with small or nonexistent navies and large trade routes. Pirates sometimes evade capture by sailing into waters controlled by their pursuer's enemies. With the end of the Cold War, navies have decreased in size and patrol less frequently, while trade has increased, making organized piracy far easier. Modern pirates are sometimes linked with organized-crime syndicates, but often are small individual groups.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) maintains statistics regarding pirate attacks dating back to 1995. Their records indicate hostage-taking overwhelmingly dominates the types of violence against seafarers. For example, in 2006, there were 239 attacks, 77 crew members were kidnapped and 188 taken hostage but only 15 of the pirate attacks resulted in murder. In 2007 the attacks rose by 10 percent to 263 attacks. There was a 35 percent increase on reported attacks involving guns. Crew members that were injured numbered 64 compared to just 17 in 2006. That number does not include instances of hostage taking and kidnapping where the victims were not injured.
The number of attacks from January to September 2009 had surpassed the previous year's total due to the increased pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden and off Somalia. Between January and September the number of attacks rose to 306 from 293. Pirates boarded the vessels in 114 cases and hijacked 34 of them. Gun use in pirate attacks increased to 176 cases from 76 in 2008.
Rather than cargo, modern pirates have targeted the personal belongings of the crew and the contents of the ship's safe, which potentially contains large amounts of cash needed for payroll and port fees. In other cases, the pirates force the crew off the ship and then sail it to a port to be repainted and given a new identity through false papers purchased from corrupt or complicit officials.
Modern piracy can take place in conditions of political unrest. For example, following the U.S. withdrawal from Vietnam, Thai piracy was aimed at the many Vietnamese who took to boats to escape. Further, following the disintegration of the government of Somalia, warlords in the region have attacked ships delivering UN food aid.
The attack against the German-built cruise ship the
Since 2008, Somali pirates centered in the Gulf of Aden made about $120 million annually, reportedly costing the shipping industry between $900 million and $3.3 billion per year. By September 2012, the heyday of piracy in the Indian Ocean was reportedly over. Backers were now reportedly reluctant to finance pirate expeditions due to the low rate of success, and pirates were no longer able to reimburse their creditors. According to the International Maritime Bureau, pirate attacks had by October 2012 dropped to a six-year low. Only five ships were captured by the end of the year, representing a decrease from 25 in 2011 and 27 in 2010, with only one ship attacked in the third quarter compared to 36 during the same period in 2011. However, pirate incidents off on the West African seaboard increased to 34 from 30 the previous year, and attacks off the coast of Indonesia rose from 2011's total of 46 to 51.
Many nations forbid ships to enter their territorial waters or ports if the crew of the ships are armed, in an effort to restrict possible piracy. Shipping companies sometimes hire private armed security guards.
Modern definitions of piracy include the following acts:
- Boardingwithout permission.
- Hostage taking
- Kidnapping of people for ransom
- Cargo theft
- Robbery and seizure of items or the ship
- Sabotage resulting in the ship subsequently sinking
- Shipwrecking done intentionally to a ship
For the United States, piracy is one of the offenses against which Congress is delegated power to enact penal legislation by the
In modern times, ships and airplanes are
Modern pirates also use a great deal of technology. It has been reported that crimes of piracy have involved the use of mobile phones,
In 2020, the amount of piracy increased by 24% after being at its lowest 21st century level in 2019. The Americas and Africa have been identified by the International Chamber of Commerce as the most vulnerable to piracy as a result of less-wealthy governments in the regions being unable to adequately combat piracy.
IMB Piracy Reporting Centre keeps a live piracy map to help keep track of all recent piracy and armed robbery incidents.
This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. (June 2013)
Under a principle of international law known as the "universality principle", a government may "exercise jurisdiction over conduct outside its territory if that conduct is universally dangerous to states and their nationals." The rationale behind the universality principle is that states will punish certain acts "wherever they may occur as a means of protecting the global community as a whole, even absent a link between the state and the parties or the acts in question." Under this principle, the concept of "universal jurisdiction" applies to the crime of piracy. For example, the United States has a statute (section 1651 of title 18 of the United States Code) imposing a sentence of life in prison for piracy "as defined by the law of nations" committed anywhere on the high seas, regardless of the nationality of the pirates or the victims.
The goal of maritime security operations is "actively to deter, disrupt and suppress piracy in order to protect global maritime security and secure freedom of navigation for the benefit of all nations", and pirates are often detained, interrogated, disarmed, and released. With millions of dollars at stake, pirates have little incentive to stop. In Finland, one case involved pirates who had been captured and whose boat was sunk. As the pirates attacked a vessel of Singapore, not Finland, and are not themselves EU or Finnish citizens, they were not prosecuted. A further complication in many cases, including this one, is that many countries do not allow extradition of people to jurisdictions where they may be sentenced to death or torture.
The Dutch are using a 17th-century law against sea robbery to prosecute. Warships that capture pirates have no jurisdiction to try them, and NATO does not have a detention policy in place. Prosecutors have a hard time assembling witnesses and finding translators, and countries are reluctant to imprison pirates because the countries would be saddled with the pirates upon their release.
George Mason University professor Peter Leeson has suggested that the international community appropriate Somali territorial waters and sell them, together with the international portion of the Gulf of Aden, to a private company which would then provide security from piracy in exchange for charging tolls to world shipping through the Gulf.
The fourth volume of the handbook: Best Management Practices to Deter Piracy off the Coast of Somalia and in the Arabian Sea Area (known as BMP4)
The BMP4 encourages vessels to register their voyages through the region with MSCHOA, as this registration is a key component of the operation of the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC, the navy-patrolled route through the Gulf of Aden). The BMP4 contains a chapter entitled "Self-Protective Measures" which lays out a list of steps a merchant vessel can take to make itself less of a target to pirates, and make it better able to repel an attack if one occurs. This list includes rigging the deck of the ship with razor wire, rigging fire-hoses to spray sea-water over the side of the ship to hinder boardings, having a distinctive pirate alarm, hardening the bridge against gunfire and creating a "citadel" where the crew can retreat if pirates get on board. Other unofficial self-defense measures that can be found on merchant vessels include the setting up of mannequins posing as armed guards or firing flares at the pirates.
Though it varies by country, generally peacetime law in the 20th and 21st centuries has not allowed merchant vessels to carry weapons. As a response to the rise in modern piracy, however, the U.S. government changed its rules so that it is now possible for
This has given birth to a new breed of
With safety trials complete in the late 2000s,
In February 2012,
Another similar incident has been reported to have happened in the Red Sea between the coasts of Somalia and Yemen, involving the death of a Yemeni fisherman allegedly at the hands of a Russian Vessel Protection Detachment (VPD) on board a Norwegian-flagged vessel.
Despite VPD deployment being controversial because of these incidents, according to the
Self protection measures
The best protection against pirates is to avoid encountering them. This can be accomplished by using tools such as radar, or by using specialised systems that use shorter wavelengths, as small boats are not always picked up by radar. An example of a specialised system is WatchStander.
While the non-wartime 20th century tradition has been for merchant vessels not to be armed, the U.S. Government has recently changed the rules so that it is now "best practice" for vessels to embark a team of armed private security guards. The guards are usually supplied from ships intended specifically for training and supplying such armed personnel. The crew can be given weapons training, and warning shots can be fired legally in international waters.
Other measures vessels can take to protect themselves against piracy are air-pressurised boat stopping systems which can fire a variety of vessel-disabling projectiles, implementing a high freewall and vessel boarding protection systems (e.g., hot water wall, electricity-charged water wall, automated fire monitor, slippery foam). Ships can also attempt to protect themselves using their Automatic Identification Systems (AIS). Every ship over 300 tons carries a transponder supplying both information about the ship itself and its movements. Any unexpected change in this information can attract attention.
Previously this data could only be picked up if there was a nearby ship, rendering single ships vulnerable. Special satellites have been launched recently that are now able to detect and retransmit this data. Large ships cannot therefore be hijacked without being detected. This can act as a deterrent to attempts to either hijack the entire ship, or steal large portions of cargo with another ship, since an escort can be sent more quickly.
In an emergency warships can be called upon. In some areas such as near Somalia, patrolling naval vessels from different nations are available to intercept vessels attacking merchant vessels. For patrolling dangerous coastal waters, or keeping cost down,
United Kingdom laws
In 2008 the British
Definition of piracy jure gentium
See section 26 of, and Schedule 5 to, the Merchant Shipping and Maritime Security Act 1997. These provisions replace the Schedule to the Tokyo Convention Act 1967. In Cameron v HM Advocate, 1971 SLT 333, the High Court of Justiciary said that that Schedule supplemented the existing law and did not seek to restrict the scope of the offence of piracy jure gentium.
- Re Piracy Jure Gentium  AC 586, PC
- Attorney General of Hong Kong v Kwok-a-Sing (1873) LR 5 PC 179
Piracy committed by or against aircraft
See section 5 of the Aviation Security Act 1982.
The book Archbold says that in a case that does not fall within section 2 of the Piracy Act 1837, the penalty appears to be determined by the Offences at Sea Act 1799, which provides that offences committed at sea are liable to the same penalty as if they had been committed upon the shore.
United States laws
In the United States, criminal prosecution of piracy is authorized in the
To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
Title 18 U.S.C. § 1651 states:
Whoever, on the high seas, commits the crime of piracy as defined by the law of nations, and is afterwards brought into or found in the United States, shall be imprisoned for life.
Citing the United States Supreme Court decision in the 1820 case of United States v. Smith, a U.S. District Court ruled in 2010 in the case of United States v. Said that the definition of piracy under section 1651 is confined to "robbery at sea". The piracy charges (but not other serious federal charges) against the defendants in the Said case were dismissed by the Court.
The U.S. District Court for the E.D.Va. has since been overturned: "On May 23, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued an opinion vacating the Court's dismissal of the piracy count. United States v. Said, 680 F.3d 374 (4th Cir.2012). See also United States v. Dire, 680 F.3d 446, 465 (4th Cir.2012) (upholding an instruction to the jury that the crime of piracy includes 'any of the three following actions: (A) any illegal acts of violence or detention or any act of depredation committed for private ends on the high seas or a place outside the jurisdiction of any state by the crew or the passengers of a private ship and directed against another ship or against persons or property on board such ship; or (B) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship; or (C) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in (A) or (B) above").'" The case was remanded to E.D. Va., see US v. Said, 3 F. Supp. 3d 515 – Dist. Court, ED Virginia (2014).
Effects on international boundaries
During the 18th century, the British and the Dutch controlled opposite sides of the
Law of nations
Piracy is of note in
Because of universal jurisdiction, action can be taken against pirates without objection from the flag state of the pirate vessel. This represents an exception to the principle
Articles 101 to 103 of UNCLOS
Definition of piracy
Piracy consists of any of the following acts:
- (a) any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft, and directed—
- (i) on thehigh seas, against another ship or aircraft, or against persons or property on board such ship or aircraft;
- (ii) against a ship, aircraft, persons or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any State;
- (b) any act of voluntary participation in the operation of a ship or of an aircraft with knowledge of facts making it a pirate ship or aircraft;
- (c) any act of inciting or of intentionally facilitating an act described in subparagraph (a) or (b).Article 102
Piracy by a warship, government ship or government aircraft whose crew has mutinied
The acts of piracy, as defined in article 101, committed by a warship, government ship or government aircraft whose crew has mutinied and taken control of the ship or aircraft are assimilated to acts committed by a private ship or aircraft.Article 103
Definition of a pirate ship or aircraft
A ship or aircraft is considered a pirate ship or aircraft if it is intended by the persons in dominant control to be used for the purpose of committing one of the acts referred to in article 101. The same applies if the ship or aircraft has been used to commit any such act, so long as it remains under the control of the persons guilty of that act.
A limitation of article 101 above is that it confines piracy to the High Seas. As the majority of piratical acts occur within territorial waters, some pirates are able to go free as certain jurisdictions lack the resources to monitor their borders adequately.
The International Maritime Bureau (IMB) defines piracy as:
the act of boarding any vessel with an intent to commit theft or any other crime, and with an intent or capacity to use force in furtherance of that act.
Uniformity in maritime piracy law
Given the diverging definitions of piracy in international and municipal legal systems, some authors argue that greater uniformity in the law is required in order to strengthen anti-piracy legal instruments.
Pirates are a frequent topic in fiction and, in their Caribbean incarnation, are associated with certain
Some inventions of pirate culture such as "
Many sports teams use "pirate" or a related term such as "
Economics of piracy
Sources on the economics of piracy include Cyrus Karraker's 1953 study Piracy was a Business, in which the author discusses pirates in terms of contemporary
Piracy and entrepreneurship
Some 2014 research examines the links between piracy and entrepreneurship. In this context, researchers take a nonmoral approach to piracy as a source of inspiration for 2010s-era entrepreneurship education and to research in entrepreneurship and in business-model generation.
- A General History of the Pyrates, an historical book on pirates
- Air pirate
- Aircraft hijacking, a.k.a. air piracy
- Captain Phillips, a film about the Maersk Alabama hijacking
- Carjacking a.k.a. car piracy
- Copyright infringement
- International Talk Like a Pirate Day
- List of pirates
- Piracy in the Atlantic World
- Pirate code
- Pirate game
- Pirate Parties International
- Pirate Party
- Pirate Round
- Pirate studies
- Pirate utopia
- Pirates World
- Pop-up Pirate, a children's game featuring an embarreled pirate
- Space pirate
- Spanish treasure fleet
- The Successful Pyrate, an historical play
- Train robbery, a.k.a. railroad piracy
- Treasure voyages
- Women in piracy
- Raid (military)
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