Thinking of pirates, the image formed is of many types which varied from being heroic to villains. In the reign of Queen Elizabeth and Sir Francis Drake, pirated were important as they were helpful in foreign policy. They were even highly respected and often seen as an adventure of heroic gentlemen or as a mercantile volunteer.
However, in the late 17th century, pirates despite their severe violence had a consistent role. Then in 18th century Georgian Era pirates lost their sympathy and legitimacy as Admiralty now did not have any reason to support the pirates.
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Life of Pirates in Georgian Era
Although Pirates prevailed from an early era, from 1700’s the era is known as the “Golden age of Piracy”. Piracy existed in Georgian Era but when the Napoleonic war ended, many sailors that included privateers also left piracy and found some work for themselves.
Very few of them returned back to piracy. Another reason for them to leave piracy was that government turned their back on them as the pirates had an eye on their foreign vessels.
From the surface, the life of pirates appears to be filled with adventure and glamour, but their life was mainly a life of a sailor. Their life indulged in keeping themselves alive against the sea who saw mercy on no one. They face a constant fear of sandbars, off-shore reefs, storms, fire threat, shortage of food and drinking water, and other ships.
There was a myth that pirates hide their treasure but the fact was that they sell the looted items to the nearest port in its black market. And the rest they spend on food, drinks, and women. They were also involved in raping, torture and destruction when they arrive at the shore. They even create more plunder and also get into slave trading.
Pirating during Georgian Era
The Barbary Pirates who are also famous as Corsairs were the most active group of pirates of the Georgian Era. They were primarily effective in the northern coast of Africa, Algiers, Morocco, Tripoli, and Tunis. They all were separate nations but all of them had the reign of the Ottoman Empire.
The captured the ships in the Mediterranean and also patronized the Adriatic. They also wandered around the seas of Iceland and Ireland. They kidnap people for ransom and status. Some of them also take them as slaves and merchandise.
They usually supported for galleys which were easy to ship in shallow waters and were comparatively fast. They were master in the art of disguising and presented themselves as the merchant ships.
Who were the Famous Pirates of the Georgian Era?
The main pirates who led the Caribbean in the Georgian Era were Edward Tech, Henry Morgan, Jean Lafitte, and George Booth.
He is famous as Blackbeard and his areas of operation were mainly around the West Indies and the Eastern Coast of Britain’s North American Colonies. He was the main sailor during the war of Queen Anne.
He also held a base for Captain Benjamin Hornigold which he joined as a crew member. He became a renowned pirate after capturing a vessel of a French merchant and also loaded it with 40 guns. Although he captured many other vessels after forming his own crew no reports have been ever known of hi harming or murdering any person who has been there in his captivity.
He was one of the English pirates who was active in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. Very important members like captain Thomas Howard, captain Nathaniel North were his crew members. John Bowen who was a heroic privateer and later the successor of Booth was also his crew member.
Booth did not surrender himself and rather escaped when he was a gunner on the Dolphin and it got trapped by British Fleet. He and Bowen together captivated a French merchant ship by bluffing them as liquor traders and other goods in trade of their slaves. Booth was killed in fighting against Arab Troop.
Jean Laffite was a privateer and also a smuggler who left his illegal adventures as a smuggler to fight in favor of the United States against New Orleans in the war of 1812. He owned a blacksmith shop in New Orleans which was basically a terminal for goods that were smuggled and the slaves that were captured by other privateers group.
Later he also joined one of such group and then kept an eye on the Spanish Commerce while disposing of their looted items via connection with merchants on the land.
Execution of Pirates
Piracy was considered as the crime and the cruelest treatment was given to the privateers at the execution Dock in early modern London. The last execution took place at the end of the Georgian era in 1830. Pirates and other serious criminals were first jailed and then hanged brutally at the Execution Dock in public. They were usually hanged at the bank of Thames.