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Pirate Adventures

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									                              Pirate Adventures
Steel Clashing. Muskets firing. Cannons booming. Specters appearing through thick smoke with
death in their eyes. You've not dreaming; you're under attack from the scourge of the open seas:
Pirates.

When most people think of Pirates today they picture the ever memorable Captain Jack Sparrow
from the motion picture Pirates of the Caribbean. You know what I mean - the pirate bandana,
the tricorn hat, loose shirt and pants with and an outer vest or pirate jacket with strapping boots.
As weapons this imaginative pirate most likely has a cutlass in one hand and a flintlock pistol in
the other. This idea of pirates, however, does not represent the majority of pirates throughout the
ages.

Perhaps as long as people have been sailing the seas there have been people preying upon them.
Some of the earliest known records of piracy are from Phoenicians well beyond 1000 BCE. The
Roman Republic frequently had issues with pirates in the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, even the
famed Julius Caesar spent time as a pirate prisoner. Eventually Rome had had enough and
devoted entire armies to removing the problem.

During the Medieval Ages, the most common pirates were the Vikings in northern Europe.
Although they preyed mostly on land settlements, the basic premise of piracy was kept alive -
plunder, the driving force of all pirates throughout all ages. Far southeast of the Vikings, the
various Muslim empires and Indian governments had their own piracy problems as well. The
precious cargo coming from the Far East was too tantalizing a prize to resist and merchant ships
were often the victims of pirate attacks. Although most of the precious spices and silk that
Europe and the Middle East craved so much came from China, China itself had many problems
with pirates. During the Qing dynasty, 17th - 20th century, pirate fleets grew powerful enough to
rival the Qing navy!

Still, perhaps the most well known and feared pirates of all time were those of the Caribbean.
This is where the iconic image of a pirate comes from. A swashbuckler. Buccaneer. Pirate. Most
active during the mid to late 1600s and the early 1700s, pirates plagued the Caribbean at sea and
on land. Pirates of this age pillaged and plundered until people became afraid at the very sight of
a pirate flag. Yet even in this golden age, the real pirate was very different compared to the idea
that most people have of them today.

Pirate ships were some of the first and most effective true democracies since the ancient Greek
city states such as Athens. Captains were elected by the crew and although mutinies did happen,
if a captain didn't fit the desires of a crew they usually just voted him, or her, out. Crews often
decided where the ship would go and who it would attack, not the captain. On the other hand,
certain captains and pirates did stand out and became a dominating voice in the world of piracy:
Blackbeard, Sir Francis Drake, Marie-Anne, Henry Morgan, Bartholomew Roberts to name a
few.
Blackbeard and Sir Francis Drake represent two very distinct styles of piracy. Blackbeard was a
ferocious warrior with an unstoppable power in battle. He probably wore the very distinct style
of pirate clothing and took an added step of putting slow burning matches under his hat to add
smoke to his already terrifying appearance, making him appear like a fury from Hell. Sir Francis
Drake wore wealthier, Renaissance style clothing and drank tea. Seeming more like a noble,
Drake's rich appearance contrasted sharply with the pure pirate look of Blackbeard. Both men,
however, are legendary for their exploits. Sir Francis Drake helped defend England from
invasion by the Spanish and sunk numerous Spanish ships in the Caribbean and elsewhere.
Blackbeard took dozens of ships and terrorized the sea with his fleet, directing it from his
flagship Queen-Anne's-Revenge.

Pirates in the Caribbean are looked back on as glorious adventurers with a lifestyle full of
excitement and danger. Piracy, however, has not died out by any stretch of the imagination.
Pirates of the modern age are vicious killers, using RPGs and automatic rifles to take every kind
of ship imaginable and either killing the crew outright or holding it hostage. Pirates have been a
major issue for nations since the dawn of sea travel and there's little sign of things changing.

								
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