Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy


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The crew contained fourteen Englishmen, including John Smith and John Moore who had previously sailed as pirates under England and Taylor.

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Within the pirate communities of we can detect a definite rise and fall in support for the Jacobites. After no more pirate ships were named in honour of the Jacobites, and evidence of support for the Stuart cause is limited to the drinking of a few toasts.

The Golden Age of Piracy Terror at Sea Documentary

Although La Bouche and Taylor were still active in the Indian Ocean, the defeat of Bartholomew Roberts and his crew by the Royal Navy in Febru- ary of that year marked the end of the domination of Atlantic piracy by the Flying Gang and their successors. Fox origins in the crews of known Jacobites. In short, the question of what made the pirates of the Flying Gang turn to Jacobitism more than the pirates active after remains.

The answer can be found by examining two phenomena: the rise and fall in levels of popular Jacobitism in the rest of the population, and the larger numbers of unwilling conscripts forced into piracy as the s progressed. Many historians agree that the years between and were rife with popular Jacobitism.

Book Review - Raiders and Rebels by Frank Sherry

Jacobite riots occurred in fifty-seven major towns in that period; only a handful of places, including Plymouth and Portsmouth, escaped disturbance. Pittock, Jacobitism Basingstoke, , Francis Atterbury, Tory Bishop of Rochester, was the leading conspirator in a scheme to raise a nationwide rebellion during the gen- eral election of , aided by an invasion in the south by Irish soldiers serv- ing in the French army.

The plot was betrayed by the Earl of Mar and revealed by the French government, and many of the leading conspirators, including Atterbury, were arrested. Conspirator Christopher Layer was executed and Atterbury and others were exiled, leaving the Jacobite movement bereft of leaders in England. Pirates, despite their ap- parent isolation from law-abiding society, were not ignorant of current trends.

This suggests that the majority of volunteers who joined the crews of England, Roberts and others were at least amenable to the Jaco- bite cause and probably actively supported it. This turnover of crew assured a constant integration of plebeian Jaco- bites into the pirate community as long as popular Jacobitism was widespread in Britain and the colonies. The Jacobitism exhibited by pirates may even have been an inducement for plebeian Jacobite seamen to join them. By adver- tising their political allegiance to the crews of captured vessels, Jacobite pirates were offering their disaffected victims a place in a Jacobite maritime commu- nity.

As popular Jacobitism waned in the s, so it became less useful as a recruitment tool, which is reflected to some extent by the diminishing num- ber of pirate volunteers. Rediker calculates that pirates were active in , rising to perhaps as many as between and , and thereafter falling dramatically to in , in and less than in Pirates recognized these advantages, and even when necessity drove them to force men to join them, continued to cajole their captives to join the crew.

Philip Ashton London, , One Flying Gang pirate who paid the price for underestimat- ing the dangers of forced men was James Fife, whose crew were attacked in their sleep by unwilling conscripts and overcome. To show that he was forced was one of the few ways by which a pirate on trial could secure an acquittal, so such claims in court must be treated with scepticism. Even testimony from a former crew mate that a man was forced into piracy can be unreliable, although courts were perhaps sometimes hoodwinked be- cause it was easy for a seaman who wished to volunteer to arrange with the pirates to appear to force him — precisely in case he ever had to rely on such testimony.

Small numbers of forced men, or indeed individuals, stood a better chance by escape than upris- ing, and some were prepared to go to great lengths, such as Philip Ashton who hid on an uninhabited island with not even a pair of shoes and lived there alone for nine months. These incidents, among others, suggest a much higher pro- 91 Boston News Letter, 11 August The presence of a number of unwilling men aboard a ship threatened the harmony of the crew by disrupting that social cohesion.

Jacobitism was one of the bonds that held pirate crews together, and tied one crew to another, so as the social cohesion of the pirate community deteriorated because of the greater propor- tion of forced men, so too did the cohesion of the Jacobite community of pi- rates. Thus, the relative increase of forced men diluted the Jacobitism with which many of the earlier pirate crews had been imbued.

Individual Jacobites within the same sub- section of society did not always band together, as in the cases of Norcross and Dalziel, whose Jacobitism was a motive for committing individual acts of pi- racy that did not bring them into contact with the rest of the pirate community. The Flying Gang and their successors were the largest group of pi- rates active in the eighteenth century and were the greatest threat to trade be- tween the Americas, Africa and Europe.

Fox moved from ship to ship, Jacobitism followed, developed and expanded. New recruits to the pirate community embraced the Jacobitism they found, and for many seamen whose political outlook was influenced naturally by the popular Jacobitism prevalent in society, it was probably an incentive. Only as popular Jacobitism declined and the pirate community became more fragmented in the s did the pirates abandon their political allegiance to the Stuarts.

For many sub-sections of eighteenth-century society, Jaco- bitism was subservient to other considerations, but it was an important feature of their activities nonetheless. Some criminals were driven to Jacobitism for purely idealistic reasons, regardless of their motives for turning to crime, and without a core of ideologically committed Jacobites it is unlikely that the Jacobite pirate community could have survived and flourished for so long. If, however, we acknowledge that pirates comprised a definite sub-section of society, then we must consider the Jacobit- ism prevalent on pirate ships as a manifestation of the popular Jacobitism in society as a whole.


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The rise and decline of the strength of the pirate commu- nity was roughly coincident with the rise and decline in levels of popular Jaco- bitism in society, and in the pirate sub-section of that society. Since it would be ludicrous to argue that society was influenced in its popular politics by a tiny criminal minority, we must conclude that the predominance of Jacobitism among pirates was not the result of the rise of a cohesive gang but of the popu- larity of Jacobitism in society. This suggests that popular Jacobitism among pirates was influenced less by the rise of the gangs than that the rise of the gangs was influenced by levels of popular Jacobitism.

This does not mean that Jacobitism was the only cause of the rise and decline of piracy in the years , perhaps not even the main cause, but it certainly needs to be considered as a factor. What made the Flying Gang and other pirates of the age particularly terrifying to merchants, seamen and colonial governments was the sheer number of them active across several major trade routes and the apparently cohesive commu- nity-like nature of their society.

The subsidence of the threat posed by the pi- rates of the s was due in large part to their declining numbers and the more isolated and precarious nature of their existence. Jacobitism, we have seen, played a key role in the cohesion of the pirate community and the num- ber of men who chose to turn to piracy. See if you have enough points for this item.

Sign in. Shrouded by myth and hidden by Hollywood, the real pirates of the Caribbean come to life in this collection of essays edited by David Head.


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  • Raiders & Rebels, History of the Golden Age of Piracy.
  • Pirates, Privateers, and Rebel Raiders of the Carolina Coast.
  • Twelve scholars of piracy show why pirates thrived in the New World seas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century empires, how pirates operated their plundering ventures, how governments battled piracy, and when and why piracy declined. The essays presented take the study of piracy, which can easily lapse into rousing, romanticized stories, to new heights of rigor and insight. The Golden Age of Piracy also delves into the enduring status of pirates as pop culture icons.

    Audiences have devoured stories about cutthroats such as Blackbeard and Henry Morgan from the time that pirates sailed the sea. Contributors: Douglas R. Burgess, Guy Chet, John A. Leeson, Margarette Lincoln, Virginia W. Lunsford, Kevin P. The Golden Age of Piracy. Benerson Little. The Real Pirates of the Caribbean. Colin Woodard. Pirate Women. Laura Sook Duncombe. The Slave Ship. Marcus Rediker. The Republic of Pirates. Under the Black Flag. David Cordingly. Sugar in the Blood.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Andrea Stuart. Pirate Hunter of the Caribbean. Secret Societies of America's Elite. Steven Sora. If a Pirate I Must Be. Richard Sanders. Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition. Villains of All Nations. The Invisible Hook. Peter T. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pirates. Gail Selinger. Alan Taylor. The Birth of America. William R. Tim Travers. The Institutional Revolution.

    Douglas W. A Short History of Slavery. James Walvin. Angus Konstam. Life Under the Jolly Roger. Gabriel Kuhn. Nicholas Canny. The Jamestown Experiment. Tony Williams. Raiders and Rebels. Frank Sherry. Brian Moore. The Many-Headed Hydra. Peter Linebaugh. The Everything Pirates Book. Barb Karg. The Pirate Wars.

    Benerson Little

    Peter Earle. Jenny S. Outlaws of the Atlantic. The Pirates' Pact. Douglas R. Burgess Jr. African Voices of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Anne Bailey. The information is organized very well, telling a straight chronological history of piracy's evolution from early buccaneers to king's privateers to outright pirates. He also renders a wonderful biography of Woodes Rogers, the privateer-turned-governor of Nassau, a fascinating character whose actions, perhaps more than anyone else's, most damaged the cohesion of piracy - helping it fall apart of its own accord, due to disorganization and lack of discipline and foresight.

    Sherry does not write merely about piracy as seagoing theft, but about the short-lived and surprisingly democratic "Maritime Nation. Sherry does an expert job of illustrating the brutality and oppression of the age, making it clear why so many sailors voluntarily joined ranks with the seafaring rebels - whose primary battle cry was not "death to all," but "Will ye join us, Brother? There is only one recorded instance of anyone being made to walk the plank, for instance, even if the pirates played on that prevalent myth to their own advantage , though marooning was indeed the favored form of pirate capital punishment.

    Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy
    Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy
    Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy
    Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy
    Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy
    Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy Raiders and Rebels: A History of the Golden Age of Piracy

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