All About Pirates

Welcome to the Golden Age of Piracy. In this section, you can learn about who the pirates were, how they operated and the types of ships and weapons they used.
If you have listened to the Pirate Jack book, this area will expand on the book’s historical setting and many aspects of life among the pirates.

The pirate area is for ages 13 and higher.


Introduction to Pirates
The Romantic Image of Piracy
Treasure Island
Pirates From Books to Film
The Appeal of Piracy
The Spanish Main
The Spanish Galleons
The Buccaneers
Pirate Ships
The Jolly Roger
Attacking Merchant Ships
Pirate Code of Conduct

A map of the Caribbean, where the Golden Age
of Piracy occurred.

Introduction to Pirates

We most often think of pirates together with tropical islands in the Caribbean. This is because the Caribbean, which is comprised of the islands of the Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the Cayman Islands, was the perfect place for pirates to hide or to attack merchant vessels.

There were hundreds of safe anchorages where pirates could clean and repair their ships. There were many islands with fresh water streams, turtles, fish, hogs and cattle to provide pirates with food and water. Merchant ships from Africa, loaded with ivory, gold and slaves passed through. Spanish treasure ships loaded with silver from Central America made their way out into the Atlantic and were the greatest prize for a pirate crew. The Caribbean was a pirate paradise and was home to at least two thousand of them in the 1700’s.

Piracy was not limited to the Caribbean waters. It was practiced throughout the world. In the Mediterranean, shipping was at the mercy of the Barbary Corsairs who sailed out from the African coast. In Northern Europe, wherever merchant ships sailed between islands or through straights, pirates were ready to pounce.

Many pirates were very fine seamen and often made long voyages across oceans to try their luck in new areas. Their charts were usually inaccurate, so they relied on good lookouts and their knowledge of local waters to stay clear of reefs.

Next: The Romantic Image of Piracy

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