Under The Black Flag – Pirates and Privateers

Posted: June 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

Pirates cruised the Caribbean Sea and the North American coast searching for likely targets. At the height of Atlantic world piracy around 1720, some 2,000 pirates were attacking ships and threatening trade. Many of them had deserted their posts aboard naval or merchant ships or had themselves been captured by pirates.

  1. Jordan Franchina says:

    Was there no system of regulation or law enforcement with overseas trading when pirates emerged? Or was it just difficult to enforce the law on such a vast area?

    • It seems you have answered your own question. There was at this time none of the modern communication technology necessary to enforce international piracy laws. Nor, in an age prior to modern nation states (kingdom were the private property of monarchs), was it easy to establish any sort of international law to which all parties would subscribe. Nevertheless, piracy does function as a highly unique legal category, one that can be traced back to Roman law – “the enemy of all”, precisely because pirates operate entirely outside all legal systems. If you really want to get some detailed research on this fascinating topic, please consult a meticulous study by prestigious scholar Daniel Heller-Roazen.

      The pirate is the original enemy of humankind. As Cicero famously remarked, there are certain enemies with whom one may negotiate and with whom, circumstances permitting, one may establish a truce. But there is also an enemy with whom treaties are in vain and war remains incessant. This is the pirate, considered by ancient jurists considered to be “the enemy of all.”In this book, Daniel Heller-Roazen reconstructs the shifting place of the pirate in legal and political thought from the ancient to the medieval, modern, and contemporary periods presenting the philosophical genealogy of a remarkable antagonist. Today, Heller-Roazen argues, the pirate furnishes the key to the contemporary paradigm of the universal foe.

  2. Sophia Skedros says:

    As I read about these swashbuckling women it reminded me of an especially interesting lady, Margaret Ann Bulkley. Also known as Dr. James Barry, Margaret disguised herself as a man for 46 years to pursue her dream of becoming a surgeon. These women portray power, fighting for what they believed in and not stopping at any costs. They defied societies roles and became some of the most successful in their fields. Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Kara B Szydlowski says:

    I would echo Sophia and say thanks so much for sharing this! I had never considered how women pirates are completely left out of the typical historical narrative. The thought really captured my imagination, as it clearly has for Laura Sook Duncombe. It only reinforces my wish to be a time traveler; to go back and witness these events and hear these stories told for the first time and form my own opinion before the history is diluted by the passage of time. Wow! I think it would be exhilarating.

  4. Forster Matherly says:

    Can we please put in a request for a feminist pirate honors course?

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