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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Piracy is a war-like act committed by private parties (not affiliated with any government) that engage in acts of robbery and/or criminal violence at sea.
The term can include acts committed in other major bodies of water or on a shore. It does not normally include crimes committed against persons travelling on the same vessel as the perpetrator (e.g. one passenger stealing from others on the same vessel). The term has been used to refer to raids across land borders by non-state agents.
Piracy should be distinguished from privateering, which was authorized by their national authorities and therefore a legitimate form of war-like activity by non-state actors. This form of commerce raiding was outlawed in the 19th century.
3.1 Ancient origins
3.2 Middle Ages to 19th century
3.2.1 In India
3.2.2 In East Asia
3.2.3 In Eastern Europe
3.2.4 In North Africa
3.2.5 In the Caribbean
3.2.6 In North America
4 Popular image
5 Pirate democracy
8 Modern age
8.2 Recent incidents
8.3 Successful attempts against piracy
8.4 Legal authority
8.5 Self protection measures and increased patrol
9 Commerce raiders
10 In international law
10.1 Effects on international boundaries
10.2 Law of nations
10.3 International conventions
10.3.1 UNCLOS Article 101: Definition
10.3.2 IMB Definition
10.3.3 Uniformity in Maritime Piracy Law
11 In popular culture
12 See also
13.2 Further reading
14 External linkshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate
It may be reasonable to assume that piracy has existed for as long as the oceans were plied for commerce. The earliest documented instances of piracy are the exploits of the Sea Peoples who threatened the Aegean and Mediterranean in the 13th century BC. In Classical Antiquity, the Illyrians and Tyrrhenians were known as pirates, as well as Greeks and Romans. The island of Lemnos long resisted Greek influence and remained a haven for Thracian pirates. During their voyages the Phoenicians seem to have sometimes resorted to piracy, and specialized in kidnapping boys and girls to be sold as slaves.
In 937, Irish pirates sided with the Scots, Vikings, Picts, and Welsh in their invasion of England. Athelstan drove them back.
During the 16th and 17th centuries there was frequent European piracy against Mughal Indian vessels, especially those en route to Mecca for Hajj. The situation came to a head, when Portuguese attacked and captured the vessel Rahimi which belonged to Mariam Zamani the Mughal queen, which led to the Mughal seizure of the Portuguese town Daman. In the 18th century, the famous Maratha privateer Kanhoji Angre ruled the seas between Mumbai and Goa. The Marathas attacked British shipping and insisted that East India Company ships pay taxes if sailing through their waters.
From the 13th century, Wokou based in Japan made their debut in East Asia, initiating invasions that would persist for 300 years.
In the 1840s and 1850s, United States Navy and Royal Navy forces campaigned together against Chinese pirates. Several notable battles were fought though pirate junks continued operating off China for years more. During the Second Opium War and the Taiping Rebellion, piratical junks were again destroyed in large numbers by British naval forces but ultimately it wasn't until the 1860s and 1870s that fleets of pirate junks ceased to exist.
The Barbary pirates were pirates and privateers that operated from North African (the "Barbary coast") ports of Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers, Salé and ports in Morocco, preying on shipping in the western Mediterranean Sea from the time of the Crusades as well as on ships on their way to Asia around Africa until the early 19th century. The coastal villages and towns of Italy, Spain and Mediterranean islands were frequently attacked by them and long stretches of the Italian and Spanish coasts were almost completely abandoned by their inhabitants; after 1600 Barbary pirates occasionally entered the Atlantic and struck as far north as Iceland. According to Robert Davis between 1 million and 1.25 million Europeans were captured by Barbary pirates and sold as slaves in North Africa and Ottoman Empire between the 16th and 19th centuries. The most famous corsairs were the Ottoman Hayreddin and his older brother Oruç Reis (Redbeard), Turgut Reis (known as Dragut in the West), Kurtoğlu (known as Curtogoli in the West), Kemal Reis, Salih Reis and Koca Murat Reis. A few Barbary pirates, such as the Dutch Jan Janszoon and the English John Ward [Yusuf Reis], were renegade European privateers who had converted to Islam.
In 1523, Jean Fleury seized two Spanish treasure ships carrying Aztec treasures from Mexico to Spain. The great or classic era of piracy in the Caribbean extends from around 1560 up until the mid 1720s. The period during which pirates were most successful was from 1700 until the 1730s. Many pirates came to the Caribbean after the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, they stayed in the Caribbean and became pirates shortly after that. Others, the buccaneers, arrived in the mid-to-late 17th century and made attempts at earning a living by farming and hunting on Hispaniola and nearby islands; pressed by Spanish raids and possibly failure of their means of making a living, they turned to a more lucrative occupation. Caribbean piracy arose out of, and mirrored on a smaller scale, the conflicts over trade and colonization among the rival European powers of the time, including the empires of Britain, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and France. Most of these pirates were of English, Dutch and French origin. Because Spain controlled most of the Caribbean, many of the attacked cities and ships belonged to the Spanish Empire and along the East coast of America and the West coast of Africa. Dutch ships captured about 500 Spanish and Portuguese ships between 1623 and 1638. Some of the best-known pirate bases were New Providence, in the Bahamas from 1715 to 1725, Tortuga established in the 1640s and Port Royal after 1655. Among the most famous Caribbean pirates are Edward Teach or Blackbeard, Calico Jack Rackham, Henry Morgan and the most successful Bartholomew Roberts. Most were hunted down by the Royal Navy and killed or captured, several battles were fought between the brigands and the colonial powers on both land and sea.
Jean LafittePiracy off the coasts of North America continued as late as the 1870s. Pirates who operated in the Caribbean often sailed north to attack targets off the present day eastern seaboard of the United States. Possibly the most famous of these was Blackbeard, who operated in the American south, attacking ships and at one point even blockading Charleston, South Carolina. Later in the 19th century, after the Golden Age of Piracy, Jean Lafitte became what is considered by many to be the last buccaneer due to his army of pirates and fleet of pirate ships which held bases in and around the Gulf of Mexico. Lafitte and his men participated in the War of 1812 battle of New Orleans and later his ships fought the United States Navy and the United States Revenue Cutter Service. Eventually Lafitte was evicted from the area by United States forces after several battles and raids. Between 1822 and 1825 the American West Indies Squadron fought against pirates in the Caribbean.
A pirate captain relaxes with his crew in a Howard Pyle illustration from Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates.Unlike traditional Western societies of the time, many pirate crews operated as limited democracies. Pirate communities were some of the first to instate a system of checks and balances similar to the one used by the present-day United States and many other countries. The first record of such a government aboard a pirate sloop dates to the 17th century.
Even though pirates raided many ships, few, if any, buried their treasure. Often, the "treasure" that was stolen was food, water, alcohol, weapons, or clothing. Other things they stole were household items like bits of soap and gear like rope and anchors, or sometimes they would keep the ship they captured (either to sell off or keep because it was better than their ship). Such items were likely to be needed immediately, rather than saved for future trade. For this reason, there was no reason for the pirates to bury these goods. Pirates tended to kill few people aboard the ships they captured; oftentimes they would kill no one if the ship surrendered, because if it became known that pirates took no prisoners, their victims would fight to the last and make victory both very difficult and costly in lives. Contrariwise, ships would quickly surrender if they knew they would be spared. In one well-documented case 300 heavily armed soldiers on a ship attacked by Thomas Tew surrendered after a brief battle with none of Tew's 40-man crew being injured.
A flyer describing the public execution of 16th century pirate Klein Henszlein and his crew.During the 17th and 18th centuries, once pirates were caught, justice was meted out in a summary fashion, and many ended their lives by "dancing the hempen jig", or hanging at the end of a rope. Public execution was a form of entertainment at the time, and people came out to watch them as they would to a sporting event today. Newspapers were glad to report every detail, such as recording the condemned men's last words, the prayers said by the priests for their immortal souls, and their final agonising moments on the gallows. In England most of these executions took place at Execution Dock on the River Thames in London.