History : Mar-Apr 2016
piracy’s GOLDEN AGE At the dawn of the 18th century, pirates prowled the Caribbean and the Atlantic in search of wealthy ships to plunder. Their true histories and colorful legends remain forever intertwined. irate ships, treasure maps, and bottles of rum are just a few of the things that come to mind when thinking of pirates. These popular symbols and many others have their origins in the golden age of piracy, a period that began around 1500 and lasted for 300 years. During this time, the Caribbean islands and coasts of the Americas were the dynamic center of a trade empire linking Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Heavily laden trading ships carried slaves, sugar, precious metals, tobacco, and coffee among all three and generated enormous wealth for the dominant colonial powers: England, France, Holland, Portugal, and Spain. As trade boomed, so did piracy. By the 18th century thousands of pirates terrorized the rich merchant vessels and eluded the naval attempts to capture them.