Piracy is the term given to robbery at sea, or sometimes on shore, by an agent without commission from a sovereign nation. Those who commit the act of piracy—and by extension, robbery, pillaging, or plundering at sea—are known as pirates. Piracy in the Caribbean was regarded as the Golden Age of Piracy, lasting from around 1560 up until some point around the 1730s. Two of the most infamous pirate bases were Port Royal and Tortuga.
Pirates have been around since people began transporting goods through sea. The earliest known pirates were the Sea People, who pillaged and plundered the Mediterranean Sea in the 13th century B.C. The ancient Illyrians had spent years pillaging Roman and Greek vessals in the Adriatic Sea. The piracy in the old times was mostly prominent in the Mediterranean, although there were the Vikings in the Northern seas. Mediterranean pirates were hunted down by powerful empires, such as Greek, Roman, and Persian; while the Vikings flourished and conquered new lands.
Ever since India war exploded between the two kingdoms in the southern peninsula of India, there has been a need for fresh supplies, and the easiest way to get them was to raid the trade routes coming from Persia to Africa. European pirates also saw treasure in this area and began to pillage Mughal vessels and ships transporting pilgrims heading to Mecca for their annual pilgrimage. This constant raids sparked a war between Portugal and the Mughal Empire, because Portuguese pirates captured a ship belonging to the Mughal queen. In the 18th century, the famous Maratha privateer, Kanhoji Angria, ruled the seas between Mumbai and Goa. The Marathas demanded the East India Trading Company to pay a fee if sailing through their waters.
In the 13th century, the Wokou made their debut in Asian waters, terrorizing ships and harbors for 300 years. Piracy in this area started when the Mongol fleet retreated from the area. Marooned Navy officers began setting up small fortresses and headquarters in rivers, hiring foot soldiers and mercenaries, and building up a Junk fleet. However, the most powerful pirate fleet belonged to Chinese pirates in the mid 18th century. Large scale piracy began affecting the Chinese economy greatly, they preyed on vital trading routes and cargo ships. The downfall of piracy in this area was credited to Portuguese smugglers that sold tropical goods at a better price than the Wokou, destroying a very important source of income in their empire; driving them back to their seafaring activities. The Wokou where somewhat eradicated when they made peace with Korea and Japan.
North America Edit
The Barbary Corsairs were a threat in the Mediterranean Sea. They where operating since the Crusades, robbing and pillaging Christian vessels, making the Christian pilgrims slaves in their ships. The coastal villages and ports from Spain, Italy, and Mediterranean islands, were under constant threat of a pirate raid. Eventually, these places were deserted, the Barbary pirates spread out into the Atlantic Ocean and even reached Iceland. Tripoli was a city they used as a pirate base. Between 1 million and 1.25 million Christians were made slaves and sold.
The Caribbean was the most prominent area for piracy. The vast loads of Aztec gold traveling from the New World and Spain was the perfect target for aspiring swashbucklers. Colonies were settled in the islands and on the mainland, triggering trading routes and transportation by sea. Many people became pirates shortly after the end of the Spanish Succession War. Buccaneers began arriving in the mid-late 17th century. The buccaneers were people that smoked meat over a structure called a buccan, thus earning their name. The buccaneers lived on the island of Hispaniola, selling their smoked goods to passing ships. After the Spanish slaughtered their pig cattle, the buccaneers, not knowing any other job to do and seeing the fleets of gold being transported in open waters, turned to piracy. Pirates were rising in fame and some were forever immortalized as the most fearsome pirates that have ever sailed.
Pirate Lord Edit
The Pirate Lords were nine powerful pirate captains who each claimed territories around the world. They were known for creating the Pirate Code and binding the Sea Goddess, Calypso in human form. They again united against the threat of Lord Cutler Beckett.
Brethren Court Edit
The Brethren Court, also known as the Order of the Brethren, Pirate Conclave, or Pirate Council, was the formal organization of the nine Pirate Lords and their followers, intended to serve as a ruling council for pirates across the world in matters of emergency.
The Brethren Court was led by the Pirate King, chosen by popular vote by the nine Pirate Lords, each lord hailing from a different region spread across the Four Corners of the Earth. This system of election was known to be flawed, as the pirates would commonly vote for themselves, making a decision difficult. The title was non-gender specific, though Elizabeth Swann was believed to be the first female Pirate King.
Pirate Lords were required to each carry a piece of eight, signifying their status as a member of the Brethren Court. It was initially suggested that the Pirate Lords carry actual silver coins, though the pirates, finding themselves short on money, opted for holding various items and trinkets that would be instantly recognizable and linked to the individual Lord.
Meetings of the Brethren Court were convened by means of a "call" intended to draw all nine Lords to a single location. This call took the form of a sea shanty, Hoist the Colours, known to all pirates.
Pirate King Edit
The Pirate King, also referred to as King of the Brethren Court, was the elective monarch and leader of the Brethren Court. The Pirate King was to be holder of great amount of power, he would lead the pirates around the globe. To be elected Pirate King, the plurality of the Pirate Lords were required to vote on a single candidate. This process was fraught with difficulty as it was common for each Pirate Lord to vote for themselves.
The Pirate King was given authority not available to Pirate Lords, such as the ability to declare war and parley with adversaries, as stated in the Pirata Codex. Elizabeth Swann was declared Pirate King during the fourth meeting of the Brethren, after Jack Sparrow seconded Elizabeth's own vote, while the remaining Lords voted for themselves. Elizabeth was the first Pirate King to be elected since the first Brethren Court. The Pirate King is shown to have far more power than the Pirate Lords, as seen when Elizabeth traded Jack Sparrow for Will Turner, against Barbossa's wishes.
Code of the Pirate Brethren Edit
The Code of the Pirate Brethren, also known as the Code of the Order of the Brethren, and commonly referred to as the Pirate's Code, was a code of conduct used among pirates, and chronicled in the Pirata Codex kept at Shipwreck Cove. The code was set down in the classic age of piracy by the pirates Morgan and Bartholomew, on behalf of the second Brethren Court.
Known rules from the code:
- Rule one, befreind others wisely.
- The Right of Parlay
- Artycle II, Section I, Paragraph VIII (sharing of the spoils)
- Artycle II, Section II, Paragraph I (whoever first spotted a treasure-laden ship could choose the best pistol for themselves)
- Every crew member is to have an equal share in any treasure found
- Any man who falls behind is left behind
- An act of war and parley with adversaries may only be declared by the Pirate King, who could only be elected by popular vote by all nine Pirate Lords.
The code also contained strict regulations on eye patch color and peg leg size as well as implying that a pirate never gives another away.
Right of Parley Edit
Parley was a right set down in the pirate code of the Brethren in the Pirata Codex that allowed a pirate or other individual (on rare occasions, of course. i.e. Elizabeth Swann) to be taken by a crew member to the captain of their ship to discuss a treaty, negotiation, etc. without being attacked by the enemy's crew. Parley's generally ended sucessfully, but often pirates would bend the rules of Parley to uphold their own ambitions.
See also Edit
- Piracy on Pirates of the Caribbean wiki.