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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

Bookish PiratePirate Ahoy!Dueling Pirates

(Site updated 26 July 2014)

Skull and crossed bonesAugust ArticleSkull
                    and crossed bones

NewPirates and DeathNew

A perusal of the Oxford English Dictionary provides eight definitions for “death.” In its simplest form it is “the act or fact of dying; the end of life; the final and irreversible cessation of the vital functions of an animal or plant.” Yet death is more complicated than that, for one’s demise may be quiet and peaceful, or brutal and cruel. How one dies is far more telling, because it provides those still alive with clues to the final moments of how that person expired. Was it a simple exhalation of one’s last breath, or was the person assassinated, beheaded, crucified, hanged, massacred, shot, or slaughtered? Pirates encountered death in a variety of ways, but they also snuffed out the lives of others. They viewed death differently than most, because reality had shown them life was short and rarely sweet. This article explores pirates’ encounters with death, both as instigators and victims of the Grim Reaper.

Skull and crossbonesSkull and crossbonesSkull and
                      crossbonesSkull and crossbonesSkull and crossbonesSkull and

Pirate Quote of the Month

The Buccaneer’s Farewell
by E. H. Visiak

Farewell, old son ! on Springer’s Key,
There is a treasure hid for ye :
I can’t take it along of me
On to the seas of death.

 I’ve made my voyage, I’ve had my day ;
I ain’t afeared what parsons say :
There’s worser craft what sail away
  Bound for the seas of death.

There's worser rogues in Church and State
That cringe an' crawl an' whine an' prate --
And kick a poor old crippled mate
Into the seas of death.

Skull and crossbonesSkull
                    and crossbonesSkull and
The Bonnie Bookaneer's
NewAugust Book ReviewsNew

Black Sails on Starz and Crossbones on NBC
Historical Fiction, 18th century

Britain and Colonial Maritime War in the Early Eighteenth Century
by Shinsuke Satsuma
History, Politics, 18th centuries

The Plumed Serpent’s Gold
by Alain Surget and illustrated by Annette Marnat
Historical Fiction, Graphic Novel, 17th century

Shark Island
by Alain Surget and illustrated by Annette Marnat
Historical Fiction, Graphic Novel, 17th century

Women and English Piracy 1540-1720
 by John C. Appleby
History, 16th - 18th centuries


Upcoming Appearances

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

For information on upcomings workshops,
click here.

For additonal appearances, visit Thistles & Pirates.


Smiley CaptainPirate and Maritime NewsSmiley Captain

Seaside Saturday: Caribbean Piracy
On 16 August, I'll be appearing at Moody Garden's Discovery Pyramid to talk about buccaneers, golden age pirates, and Jean Laffite.

9:00 AM    Jean Laffite, Enigma and Legend
(Member Event)
Smuggler. Privateer. Hero. Spy. Pirate. All these nouns describe Jean Laffite, bos of Barataria and "governor" of Galveston. Nearly 200 years after he and his men helped General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans from a British invasion. We explore the man, the legend, and the mysteries surrounding his life and death.

11:00 AM    A Rogue's Gallery of Caribbean Pirates
Ask a handful of people to name a famous pirate and the most likely response would be "Blackbeard." Edward Teach, alias Blackbeard, was a legend in his own time, but he was not the only pirate to hunt for treasure in the Caribbean. In the mid 17th century, buccaneers preyed on Spanish ships and towns, while pirates of the 18th-century's golden age of piracy became the enemies of all mankind. Learn who's who among these dastardly villains.

1:00 PM    "A Merry Life and a Short One"
This was the motto of Bartholomew Roberts, one of the most successful pirates in history. It might well be a short one, since pirates knew death awaited them if caught. But was a pirate's life truly merry? And why did men, and a few women, become pirates? Once they did, what was life like for them? Explore a pirate's life during the golden age of piracy.

If you're visiting Galveston Island, Texas, I hope you'll come visit and listen. For the whole family. And while you're there, why not tour the visiting exhibit Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah.

Pirate Republic Festival
The first annual Pirate Republic Festival will be held on Woodes Rogers Walk in the heart of Downtown Nassau, Bahamas from 31 October 2014 through 2 November 2014. I will be one of several special guests featured at the festival. Although times and details are still to be set, I will be speaking on maritime piracy, the Age of Sail, and the British Royal Navy on both Saturday and Sunday. I hope pirate fans around the world with help come celebrate the pirates and their history on what was once the notorious pirate haven of New Providence during the Golden Age of Piracy. Further details will be posted here as they become available.

Fran Silverman recently interviewed me for her Blog Talk Radio program, Fraternizing with Fran. We discuss pirates, privateers, and much more.

T. W. Kirchner, author of Pirates Off the Deep End, is giving away three autographed copies of her middle-grader novel. Last day to enter the drawing is 22 August 2014.

Dr. Patricia O'Brien's discussion at The Library of Congress. Her current work focuses on the histories of Australian imperial relations in the colonies of Papua and New Guinea, New Zealand colonial relations with Samoa and British colonialism, privateers and indigenous contact in the Caribbean. She is the current Kislak Fellow for the Study of the History and Cultures of the Early Americas at the Kluge Center. In addition, she is a Visiting Associate Professor at Georgetown University. She speaks about the buccaneers, including William Dampier, and piracy in the Pacific with particular emphasis on Guam.

Pirate & Maritine Events & Exhibits


Motley Tones
Pirates Are Coming Festival
1-3 August 2014
Bald Head Island, North Carolina

Beaufort Pirate Invasion
8-9 August 2014
Beaufort, North Carolina

South Port Pirate Invasion
19-20 September 2014
Southport, North Carolina

Downtown Cary Farmer's Market
4 October 2014
Belhaven, North Carolina

Pirates & Wenches Fantasy Weekend
8-10 August 2014
Rock Hall, Maryland

Seaside Saturday: Caribbean Piracy
Discovery Museum, Moody Gardens
Jean Laffite at 9:00 am (Members event)
A Rogue's Gallery of Pirates at 11:00 am
A Pirate's Life at 1:00 pm
16 August 2014
Galveston, Texas

10th Maritime Heritage Conference
17-21 September 2014
Norfolk Waterside Marriott
Norfolk, Virginia

Pirate Republic Festival
31 October - 2 November 2014
Woodes Rogers Walk
Nassau, Bahamas

Laffite Seminar
17-18 April 2015
Galveston, Texas

Pirates or Privateers
New permanent exhibit
Montréal, Quebec, Canada

Real Pirates Exhibit
Real Pirates
The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship
8 February - 1 September 2014
San Diego History Museum
San Diego, California

8 March - 28 September 2014
Discovery Museum at Moody Gardens
Galveston, Texas

Shipwreck! Pirates & Treasure
26 May - 1 September 2014
Greensboro Science Center
Greensboro, North Carolina

Ships, Clocks & Stars
The Quest for Longitude
11 July 2014 - 4 January 2015
National Maritime Museum
Greenwich, United Kingdom


Pirate Skeleton in Crow's
                    NestVisitors' ReviewsPirate Skeleton
                    in Rigging

Very informative site
. -- T. W. Kirchner, author of the Pirates Off the End

I enjoyed your website. -- Dr. Harald Prins, Kansas State University


Skull and CrossbonesThe ArticlesSkull and Crossbones

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

Skull and CrossbonesThe LinksSkull and Crossbones

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

Skull and CrossbonesThe BookaneerSkull
            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

Skull and CrossbonesSpecial ResourcesSkull
            and Crossbones

Pirate Adventures  and Pirates Adventures 2010
Fun places for pirates in need of rest & relaxation
(Updated February 2013)

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 July 2014)

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

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

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

Wooden Sailing Ships
Inside look at a wooden ship

Pirate Limerick Cemetery
Compliments of Catalina the Pirate and Friends

Piratical Dates
Events in history related to pirates and the world in general
(Updated November 2013)

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.


Skull and CrossbonesThe Rebel and the SpySkull and Crossbones

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


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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© 2000-2008 Cindy Vallar

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