Three pirates who once ruled the Main Bounding

You’ve decided you don’t want your 9-to-5 job anymore and decided to change careers. Your new chosen profession: a pirate. Ah, yes, that good old 17th century tradition of glamorous, rogue, easily profitable but dangerous sea robbery. Make the waves of the seas your home and hopefully not scream “Ahoy, I’ll crush your barnacles!” or something similar to each other. Either way, if you wanted some personalities to inspire your new career path, you might want to take a look at those pirates who once ruled the highs and lows of the seas. (But to be serious, please don’t turn to hacking.)

Jean Lafitte

The so-called portrait of Jean Lafitte. (Author unknown, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

He was described by NBC News as “an elegant scoundrel” who plundered ships from Britain, Spain and America in the early 1800s. He was a French blacksmith who decided to venture out and to expand his business into something bigger, i.e. smuggling and piracy. Soon he, his brother, and their men had the fortress at Barataria Bay, Louisiana. Its force was stronger than any United States Navy at that time. During the War of 1812, Britain just bought its way into New Orleans instead of trying to fight it to gain access. Barataria Bay was an important approach to New Orleans and the British offered to give him $30,000 and make him captain of the Royal Navy. Lafitte accepted these offers, but he had a different plan in mind. He warned the Louisiana official of the impending peril. However, Governor WCC Claiborne did not believe him and instead called in the United States Army and Navy to wipe out the entire colony, including some of Laffite’s ships. Still wanting to show his loyalty to the United States, Lafitte offered to help General Andrew Jackson’s pressed forces, on the condition that he and his men be pardoned. Jackson closed the deal, and the pirate’s team did indeed aid in the Battle of New Orleans. After that, the pres. James Madison issued a public proclamation that pardoned Lafitte’s group.

But once a pirate, always a pirate. He returned to his good old ways after the war, targeting Spanish ships in particular along the coast of Spanish America.

Bart Black

Bartholomew Roberts with his ship and captured merchant ships in the background.  A copper engraving[1] from a History of the Pyrates by Captain Charles Johnson c.  1724
Bartholomew Roberts (Black Bart) with his ship and captured merchant ships in the background. A copperplate engraving from A History of the Pyrates by Captain Charles Johnson c. 1724. (Engraved by Benjamin Cole (1695–1766), Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Born John Roberts, Black Bart was a Welshman forced into piracy in 1719 at a time called the Golden Age of Piracy. Anyway, he proved to be very good at it, especially in navigating and assessing the forces of enemy ships. Because of this, he was not promoted to commander until six days after their captain died.

Black Bart’s ships raided ships off the Americas and the West African coast from 1719 to 1722. Once they stole the best ship of the Portuguese treasure fleet of 44 ships. As a bonus, aboard the stolen ship were 40,000 gold coins and a diamond-studded cross believed to be for the King of Portugal. Apart from that, he created his own pirate code. In total, Black Bart and his crew were able to steal 400 ships throughout their short career from 1719 to 1722 after dying at the Battle of Cape Lopez, ending his life with a bullet through his neck.

Henry Every

Pirate Captain Henry Every is pictured ashore while his ship, the Fancy, engages an unidentified vessel. (Author unknown, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Henry Every, sometimes Jack or John Avery, was an English pirate whose main office was in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in the mid-1690s. He was very familiar with the sea, starting his life in the waters. Initially, he was drafted as a mate on a privateer ship called Charles II. The ship, however, saw no action and simply sat in port for many months with the crew unpaid. And so, Every decided he would just steal the ship, and he did, even naming it the Fancy.

Nicknamed “The Arch Pirate” and “The King of Pirates”, he was known to be one of the few pirate captains to successfully escape without being arrested or killed during battles. He was also known as the author of what was considered the most profitable act of piracy in history. Like the others, his career was short-lived as he only lasted two years as a pirate before dying between 1699 and 1714, leaving his treasures behind but untraceable.

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