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The History of Maritime Piracy

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

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Pirate Articles
Book Reviews
Pirate Links
Sea Yarns Galore
Thistles & Pirates

Welcome in many languages (Source:
                Canstockphoto.com)Cindy Vallar & friend

Welcome aboard Pirates and Privateers, a site devoted to the history of maritime piracy, privateering, and the sea before the Age of Steam.

Within these pages you will find articles dealing with the history and culture of these topics from ancient times to modern day. Click one of the links above or below to explore the treasures within this website.

Newest Article               Newest Book Reviews               Pirate Quote of the Month

News of Note               Events & Activities               Special Resources               The Rebel & the Spy

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                              with Cindy VallarGold and
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Each month, I send out a newsletter about the latest article and reviews posted here. I also include information that doesn't appear at Pirates and Privateers, but is still of interest to adherents of piracy and maritime history. By subscribing to the newsletter, you'll never miss out on the latest happenings here at Pirates and Privateers.

As always, if you have a question about pirates, please write and ask. If there is a particular pirate or subject, you'd like me to write about, let me know.
One cautionary note for those seeking genealogical information: Historical records about pirates are rare. Much of what is known comes from government records, newspaper accounts, and the few contemporary accounts written during a particular period. This information rarely contains details pertinent to what you need to know to identify an ancestor. The simple fact is that the vast majority of pirates' names remain unknown. I cannot answer genealogical questions. Instead, I recommend contacting genealogical depositories and websites, historical societies, and national archives -- places where the librarians and curators are better trained to assist in this type of query.
A special note to teachers and students: 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 with this website is copyrighted.

Fair winds and following seas,


(site last updated 24 May 2023)

Pirate Quote of the Month
Japanese pirates repeatedly plunder areas along the coast, separating men from their wives and children and destroying property and lives. . . . If there are those who nonetheless continue to engage in piracy, I will be compelled to order naval officers to set sail for Japan. – Zhu Yuanzhang, first Ming emperor of China, to Japan, 14th century

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Merchant, Pirate, Smuggler, Sea Lord

When the winds of change blow, some people
build walls and others build windmills.
~ Old Chinese proverb

A merchant buys and sells goods to make a profit. A pirate commits robberies at sea. The former is a legitimate operator who works hard to make a living. The latter is a thief who prefers to illicitly profit from others’ labor. Normally, the two are diametrically opposed to each other. When the merchant’s business involves importing and exporting goods and the winds of change blow, the merchant faces a conundrum: build a wall, or build a windmill. One man chose to build a windmill, forging a new path that merged legal with illicit. His name was Zheng Zhilong.

All Hands on Deck
by Will Sofrin
Ships & Sailing

Dark Voyage
by Christian McBurney

Prisoners of the Bashaw
by Frederick C. Leiner

The Punishment of Pirates
by Matthew Norton

Silver Bounty
by Victoria McCombs

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Pirate & Maritime News
Events & Activities

                                Construction Sig

Some pages remain in the old style, while others are in the new style. We apologize for this. After twenty-two years, there are many pages to overhaul and this takes time. We appreciate your understanding and patience.
The Van de Velders
Greenwich, Art and the Sea
2 March 2023 - 14 January 2024
Queen's House
Greenwich, United Kingdom

Monsters of the Deep
1 April - 19 November 2023
The Historic Dockyard Chatham
Chatham, UK

Pirate & Fairy Celebration
27 May 2023
McKee Botanical Garden
Vero Beach, Florida

Tennessee Pirate Fest
27-29 May 2023
Harriman, Tennessee

Cape Cod Pirate Festival
3-4 & 10-11 June 2023
West Yarmouth, Massachusetts

Falmouth International Sea Shanty Festival
16-18 June 2023
Falmouth, United Kingdom

28 October 2023
25 November 2023
28 December 2023
Maritime Museum of San Diego
San Diego, California

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Special Resources

The following pages and files contain travel adventures, photo galleries, resources,
and historical data pertaining to pirates, privateers, and maritime history.
I have gathered this information either while doing research or when traveling.


Fun places for pirates in need of rest & relaxation

Pirate Adventures


Photo Galleries

Before the Age of Sail

The Age of Sail

Wooden Sailing Ships



Barbary Corsairs Resources

Canadian Piracy Resources

Modern Piracy Resources

Pirates & Death

Time Line of History

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Janes Madison, 1816, White House Collection
                      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Madison.jpgJean LaffiteDolley
                      Madison by Gilbert Stuart, 1804 (Source:
                      https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Dolley_Madison_(cropped).jpg)General Andrew Jackson by John Wesley Jarvis,
                      circa 1819 (Source:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:General_Andrew_Jackson_MET_DT2851.jpg)William C. C. Claiborne, artist unknown, 19th
                      century (Source:

The Rebel & the Spy
These five people played roles in the War of 1812. James Madison (far left) was president at the time and, in my current work-in-progress, he has a special assignment for Lucas Burnett, one of the protagonists in the novel. Jean Laffite (beside Madison) operates a smuggling operation, based on barrier islands southwest of New Orleans. One of his captains, is Dominique You, whose sister Alexine has been raised in this nefarious world of smugglers, pirates, privateers, and cutthroats. Dolley Madison is the country's presidentress (first lady) and plays a vital role in preserving some of our national treasures during the British invasion of Washington City. General Andrew Jackson (second from right) has no intention of allowing the British to gain entry to the United States through its back door (the Mississippi). Governor William C. C. Claiborne (far right) is Lucas's cousin and a constant thorn in Laffite's side. They come together within the pages of The Rebel & the Spy, a historical novel where it's not always easy to decide who is the rebel and who is the spy.

The links below are to a gallery of places depicted in my novel and a resource list for those seeking information on the people pictured above, pirates, ships in the age of sail, the Battle of New Orleans, the invasion and burning of Washington, the bombardment of Fort McHenry, and much more. (Please note that these pages are updated from time to time, so check back to see what's been added.) I hope you enjoy.

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Pirates & Privateers Newsletter

Each month I alert readers to the posting of the latest piracy article and book reviews, new additions made to the website, and interesting maritime tidbits. If you would like to receive the monthly Pirates & Privateers Newsletter, complete the form below.

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Copyright ©2023
Cindy Vallar

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