Have you ever heard of the Golden Age of Piracy? From 1620 to 1730, thousands of pirates were active and it is regarded as the period of time when most piracy was occurring. At that time, some of the most famous pirates include Henry Morgan, William ‘Captain’ Kidd, ‘Calico’ Jack Rackham, Bartholomew Roberts and the fearsome Blackbeard (Edward Teach). During the Golden Age of Piracy, pirates at sea were most active in the areas near the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, the Indian Ocean, North America, and West Africa. Around the year 1730, the Golden Age of Piracy came to an end because colonial authorities used more men and ships to successfully hunt down pirates. Likewise, punishments were more severe and many of the most notorious pirates were hanged which prompted many other pirates to give up their devious ways and retire. Read more below about the Golden Age of Piracy.
Beginning of Golden Age of Piracy
The beginning of the Golden Age of Piracy occurred in the early 1600’s. Some historians such as John Fiske mark the beginning of the Golden Age of Piracy in 1650. At that time, the Wars of Religion allowed European countries to resume the development of their colonial empires. Other historians believe that the beginnings of the Golden Age of Piracy didn’t occur until the mid-1680s when the last buccaneers disappeared from the Caribbean. Also known as privateers or sailors, buccaneers traveled in the Caribbean Sea during the 17th and 18th centuries. However, the first acts of piracy occurred much earlier. In classical antiquity, the Phoenicians, Illyrians and Tyrrhenians were known as pirates. The earliest documented instances of piracy are the exploits of the Sea Peoples who threatened ships sailing in the Aegean and Mediterranean waters back in the 14th century BC.
Who Were the Worst Pirates?
Some of the most feared pirates include Blackbeard. Probably the most famous buccaneer, Blackbeard had a reputation of being a horrible and violent pirate. Another terrible and famous pirate was Bartholomew Roberts who was born as John Roberts. Roberts was a Welsh pirate and the most successful pirate of the Golden Age of Piracy stealing over 400 prizes in his career. In addition, Edward Low began his pirate career in 1721 in the Caribbean. Over a few years, Low paved a path of destruction on the sea and is regarded as the most vicious pirate. Low seemed to especially enjoy torturing his victims before killing them. Another popular pirate was Black Bart who is believed to be the last great pirate of the Golden Age. His claim to fame was his attire of black clothes, long unruly black hair, a large black beard, and wild gray eyes.
Piracy in Modern Times
Many people think that pirates only existed in the 17th and 18th centuries.
However, piracy still exists in modern times. The latest statistics from last year in 2021 showed that piracy was at its lowest level since 1994. Some people estimate that modern piracy is actually on the rise, saying it has increased nearly 75% in the last decade alone. However, many incidents of piracy in modern times do not meet the UNCLOS definition of maritime piracy so that figure may be a little deceiving. In terms of financial impact, international losses due to piracy are estimated to be at around $13-16 billion a year. Last year, 90 incidents of piracy were reported in Asia. The most common places for piracy in the 21st century include the Gulf of Guinea, Strait of Malacca, Sulu and Celebes Seas, the Indian Ocean, and Falcon Lake.
If you love learning about pirates, you would really enjoy taking the Jolly Roger Pirate Ship tour in Cancun, Mexico. Set aboard an authentic 17th century replica pirate ship, the Jolly Roger is a day full of world-class entertainment and a delicious gourmet meal. Guests even have their very own pirate waiter to bring them drinks from the unlimited premium open bar. The show includes incredible entertainment including live music, singing, dancing, and acrobatic fighting, too. If you go in the evening, there is even live cannon fire and a dynamic fireworks display to end the tour. Jolly Roger pirate ship tours can also be combined with visits to local Mayan ruins such as Chichen Itza. Contact Jolly Roger today and book your tickets as space is limited!