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Publisher's Summary

  • Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading
  • Includes a table of contents

The people who have lived outside the boundaries of normal societies and refused to play by the rules have long fascinated the world, and nowhere is this more evident than the continuing interest in the pirates of centuries past. As the subjects of books, movies, and even theme park rides, people continue to let their imaginations go when it comes to pirates, with buried treasure, parrots, and walking the plank all ingrained in pop culture’s perception of them. 

The word "pirate" conjures up a romantic image of wild sea-faring rogues, living free on the high seas, and the pirates people usually think of lived during the Golden Age of Piracy, when fighting ships were powered by sail and fights between them were decided with cannons and boarding actions. Indeed, it would be an understatement to say that pop culture’s perception of piracy and pirates has been primarily influenced by Captain Edward Teach, known to the world as Blackbeard, the most famous pirate of all time. An English pirate who terrorized the high seas near the Carolinas in the early 18th century, Blackbeard was the gold standard, and in the 300 years since his death he has inspired legends that have spanned books like Treasure Island

Of course, like any legendary figure, Blackbeard is remembered today based more on myths than reality. People continue to let their imaginations go when it comes to pirates, picturing them as the types who captured booty, hid buried treasure, and fought with superhuman strength. People have long claimed that pirates’ ghosts still haunt the Atlantic Ocean – Blackbeard’s contemporaries were so scared of him that they claimed to have seen his headless body swim around his pirate boat three times. In reality, there have been pirates of some sort throughout recorded history.

Whether free-living criminals or the state-sponsored pirates known as privateers, the one constant has been the nature of their crimes. Pirates are seaborne bandits who use force of arms to steal from ships and coastal communities, yet their names have acquired a strange glamour.

Due to their violent crimes, pirates and privateers were rightly feared by ordinary people in their own age, but distance has allowed the sense of violence to fade and the sense of adventure to rise. 

Pirates and Privateers explores the history of piracy, from ancient times to the modern age. We'll look at what life was like for pirates, particularly during the Golden Age of the Caribbean buccaneers. Along with pictures of important people, places, and events, you will learn about pirates and privateers like never before.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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