|The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man who Brought
them Down by Colin Woodard. The Official Homepage. (c) 2008 Colin Woodard.
One gang of pirates is responsible for virtually all of our pirate imagery
today, and were the primary inspiration for pirates of fiction from Long
John Silver to Jack Sparrow.
Did you know that.....
These pirates - who called themselves the Flying Gang -- all knew one
another, had served together in naval and merchant vessels, and
operated for a very short period of time: four to ten years starting in
The Flying Gang pirates were among history's most successful. By
their peak in 1718, the Royal Navy was afraid to encounter them at all.
Several of the pirates were using ships as powerful as any warship the
Navy had posted in the Americas, but the pirates had two or three time
Sir Henry Morgan, Sir Francis Drake, and Captain Kidd weren't really
pirates. They were privateers, mercenaries who had permission from
their governments to attack enemy shipping in wartime.
Morgan, far from being an outlaw, was rewarded for what he did -- it's
Sir Henry Morgan. Not only was he knighted, he was made deputy
governor of Jamaica.
There were pirates in Ancient Greece, and there are pirates today, who
attack container ships, tankers, even cruise liners in places like
Somalia and the Straits of Malacca, between Singapore and Indonesia.
Some pirates probably really did say "Arrrr."
Many pirates would have had eyepatches, peg legs, or hooks. Ships in
the 17th and 18th century were extremely dangerous places to work,
and sailors regularly lost limbs and eyes.
There's no evidence that pirates made people walk the plank.
The "pirates of the Caribbean" regularly operated as far off as New
England and Newfoundland, West Africa, the Indian Ocean, and Brazil.
The Flying Gang became so successful because they had a fortified
base - a pirate Republic - in the Bahamas, from which they could not be