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The History of Maritime Piracy

Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425

Pirate Articles
Pirate Links
Book Reviews
Thistles & Pirates
Welcome!Welcome to Pirates and

Within these pages of Pirates & Privateers, you'll find articles on all aspects of maritime piracy from ancient times to modern day. Pirate Articles is an annotated list of all the articles I've written. Pirate Links is an annotated list of the best web sites that specialize in piracy and life at sea from early days through the Age of Sail. The Book Review pages house the reviews on the latest fiction and non-fiction pirate and maritime books for children and adults. Other highlights include specialized bibliographies, piratical places to visit, pirate dates in history, piracy quotes, and information about The Rebel and the Spy, my current novel-in-progress that started me on the path of piracy.

If you'd like to be notified when I post a new article, as well as to read the latest pirate-related news that doesn't appear here, subscribe to the Pirates and Privateers Newsletter. If you'd like to read a sample of my newsletter before you subscribe, click here. Subscribers never miss out on the latest happenings at Pirates and Privateers.

As always, if you have a question about pirates, please write and ask. If you'd like me to write about a particular pirate or subject, let me know. One cautionary note to those searching for genealogical information. Historical records about pirates are rare. Much of what is known comes from government records, including court trials, and the few first-person accounts written during a particular time period. This information rarely contains details pertinent to what you need to identify and/or learn about ancestors. The simple fact is that the vast majority of pirates' names remain unknown. I cannot answer this type of question, so rather than contact me, you should check genealogical depositories and websites, as well as national archives.

A special note to teachers and students: Answering questions and locating information is something I love to do. If you need help with a project or report, please contact me. Should you use any of my articles or reviews, please let me know and remember to include the proper citation. The majority of material contained within this website is copyrighted.

Fair winds and following seas,

also known as The Pirate Lady

Under the Crossbones with Cindy Vallar

Click banner to listen to my interview

Bookish PiratePirate Ahoy!Dueling Pirates

(Site updated 20 May 2020)

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New articleBuccaneers, Zeerovers, and West India CompaniesNew article

Commerce was always a facet of each trading company that Europeans established. Exploration and territorial expansion were other goals. The West India companies, especially the Dutch, possessed another objective that was an integral component of their entities -- privateering.

In 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued the Inter Caetera, a papal bull that decreed a specific meridian designated the lands west of this line of longitude belonged to either Spain or Portugal. The Treaty of Tordesillas formalized this invisible demarcation the following year. The problem was that neither the pope nor the treaty gave any consideration to all the other European States that also wanted their fair share of these undiscovered lands known collectively as the "New World."

Spain and Portugal frowned upon intruders who wished to stake their own claims or to steal what belonged to these two realms. As a result, subsequent treaties pertained to peace among regions east and north of that line -- basically Europe. To the west of that line of longitude, all remained fair in love and war. Into this arena came West India companies, buccaneers (or privateers, if you prefer), and zeerovers, who preyed on Spanish and Portuguese settlements and ships. This meant a perpetual state of war existed in the Caribbean Sea and South Atlantic and Pacific Oceans -- conflict that was often substantiated as "No peace beyond the line."

The first part of this article examines the French West India Company and pirates.

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Pirate Quote of the Month
It is the opinion of every one [that] this cursed trade [privateering] will breed so many pirates, that when peace comes we shall be in more danger from them than we are now from the enemy.

-- William Bignall, deputy postmaster,
Jamaica, January 1708
The Bonnie Bookaneer's

New reviewsJune Book ReviewsNew

The Greatest Fury
by William C. Davis

History, 19th century

Sovereign of the Seas 1637
by John McKay
Ships, 17th century


Upcoming Appearances

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If you would like the Pirate Lady 
to speak to your group,
please contact me.

For information on upcoming workshops,
click here.

For additional appearances, visit Thistles & Pirates.

Smiley CaptainPirate and Maritime NewsSmiley Captain

The Essential Pirate Anthology

                        Art: The Essential Pirate AnthologyThis collection of pirate stories includes eighteen complete novels and non-fiction books. There are 9,043 pages in total -- a lot of great reading.

Don't pass up the chance to read some real classics of pirate literature, such as Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates and Philip Gosse's The Pirates' Who's Who.

Other books, The Ghost Pirates for example, may be considered fantasies with supernatural occurrences, including ghosts. Sailor superstitions are also discussed.

You'll read about a slave ship, privateers, mutiny, and murder. Famous pirates, such as Blackbeard, and ones you've never heard of, like Captain Cornelius Andreson or Captain Joseph Bradish, appear in these stories. Among the famous writers included in this anthology are Daniel Defoe, Frederick Marryat, Ralph D. Paine, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

If you have an e-book reader, be sure to get this great deal while the price is so low ($2.99). It's available at most online stores that sell e-books. And with Covid-19, if you are quarantined or must self-isolate, The Essential Pirate Anthology is a great way to pass the time.

-- Irwin Bryan, contributor

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Pirate & Maritime Events, Exhibits, & Courses


In light of Covid-19, please check with the venues
to make certain events and museums are open
and have not been cancelled or postponed.

Mayflower 400
Events in the US, UK, and Netherlands
Various Dates 2020

30-31 May 2020
Hampton, Virginia

5-6 & 8 June 2020
Fort Walton Beach, Florida
5 September, 28 November, 26 December 2020
Maritime Museum of San Diego
San Diego, California

Pirate Day in the Bay
11-12 September 2020
Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Nautical Nightmares
9-30 October 2020
Mystic Seaport
Mystic, Connecticut
Exhibits, Courses, & Performances

Sea Monsters
Delving into the Deep Myth

Opens 11 July 2020
Maritime Museum of San Diego
San Diego, California

Diving Deep
HMS Invincible 1744

18 July - 8 November 2020
Historic Dockyard Chatham
Chatham, United Kingdom

Horrible Histories Pirates
Now through 31 December 2020
Portsmouth Historic Dockyards
Portsmouth, UK


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                    NestVisitors' ReviewsPirate Skeleton
                    in Rigging

I just wanted to drop a note of highest appreciation for your website. It is wonderfully crafted and supported. I am most endeared to it by the removal of the folklore and substantiating the information with primary sources. -- Charlie Reiser, USA


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Being a Pirate (or How to be one)
History of Piracy
Modern Piracy
Notorious Pirates (or Who was who)
Piracy Around the World
Pirates and Literature
Wooden Sailing Ships

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Activities for Young Pirates
Exotic Ports of Call
Modern-day Piracy
Notorious Pirates
Pirate Literature
Piratical Books Online
Ships and Sailing
Treasure Troves

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            and Crossbones

Latest Reviews
Five-Star Reviews
Books for Young Pirates
Books for Apprenticed Pirates and Young Adults
Fiction Books for Adults
Nonfiction Books for Adults

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            and Crossbones

Pirate Adventures  and Pirates Adventures 2010 and Pirates Adventures 2017
Fun places for pirates in need of rest & relaxation
(Updated April 2017)

The Age of Sail
Examines merchant ships, maritime commerce, and seaports

Before the Age of Sail
Examines ships prior to the seventeenth century

Barbary Corsairs Resources

Articles, books, and web sites on the Barbary Corsairs

Canadian Piracy Resources
Articles, books, and web sites on piracy and privateering in Canada

Modern Piracy Resources
Articles, books, and web sites on piracy today
(Updated February 2020)

Pirates and Death
(PDF chart listing pirates and how they died)
(Updated October 2019)
Piratical Dates

Events in history related to pirates and the world in general
(Updated May 2020)

Pyrate Surgeons Resources
Articles, books, and web sites on pyrate surgeons and medicine at sea in the Age of Sail

Wooden Sailing Ships
Inside look at a wooden ship

Pirates and Privateers Site Map


The majority of the artwork on these pages is copyrighted by the artists.
To obtain permission for their use please go to ClipArt.com.

The backgrounds used on Pirates and Privateers are from WebGround.


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The Rebel and the Spy, my current Novel-in-Progress, centers around Jean Laffite and the Battle of New Orleans.  Below are links to places depicted in the novel and a resource list for those seeking information on Jean Laffite, Pirates, Ships in the Age of Sail, the Battle of New Orleans, Andrew Jackson, and many other subjects.

Jean Laffite's Haunts

New Orleans and Piracy Resource List
(Updated December 2018)



Each month I alert readers to the posting of my latest piracy article and book reviews, new additions made to the site, and interesting tidbits about piracy. If you'd like to receive the Pirates and Privateers monthly newsletter, just complete the form below.
Read a sample issue of my Pirates & Privateers Newsletter.

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Copyright 2000-2018 Cindy Vallar

Pirate Articles
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