Teacher Resources Pirates - Learning - Jersey Heritage

Although the heyday of  historical piracy was the late 17th and early 18ty centuries, pirates plied their trade both before and afterwards. In fact piracy is still a problem today especially in the Indian Ocean.

The Jolly Roger, walking the plank , treasure maps - the image of the pirate we have today is coloured by fiction.

Today, even the three most famous pirates,

  • Captain Jack Sparrow,
  • Captain James Hook, and
  • Long John Silver

are all three are made up -  they are characters from a book or a film.  But there really were Pirates of the Caribbean such as Captain Morgan and Captain Kidd and others with more fancy names like Blackbeard or Calico Jack. There were even women pirates like Mary Read and Anne Bonny.

As well as the Caribbean, pirates also sailed off the coast of both North and South America, West Africa and in the Indian Ocean.  Although the heyday of  historical piracy was the late 17th and early 18ty centuries, pirates plied their trade both before and afterwards. In fact piracy is still a problem today especially in the Indian Ocean.

People tend to use the word rather loosely today but a pirate, was by definition, someone who robs and plunders on the sea.

Buccaneers were pirates who plundered in the Caribbean and along the coast of South America during the seventeenth century while Corsair was a term applied to pirates based in the Mediterranean, the most famous of which were those who trolled the waters along the Barbary Coast under authorization of Muslim rulers to attack the ships of Christian countries.  Later it came to mean the same as Privateer i.e. an armed ship (as well as to a commander or crew member of the vessel) licensed to attack and seize ships belonging to a hostile nation. The license, called a "letter of marque and reprisal," was issued by a sovereign to merchant vessels which allowed them to legally attack and pillage ships belonging to enemy countries.

There were virtually no pirates from Jersey but in the 18th century there were many privateers sailing out of St Helier and St Aubin.

 

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