Did ye know there be different types o’ pirates?
Sir Francis Drake
Do you love Captain Morgan; otherwise know as Sir Admiral Henry Morgan (1635- 1688)? Like Sir Francis Drake, Sir Henry Morgan was a Welsh privateer who plundered through Spanish settlements in the Caribbean durin' the 1660's and 1670's. After successfully raidin' through Panama, he was knighted by King Charles II. After being knighted, Morgan retired in Jamaica and later became Lieutenant Governor of the island. His legacy lives on today in the robust sugar industry of Jamaica.
How could we talk pirate without mentionin' the infamous Captain Blackbeard (1680-1718). On his vessel, Queen Anne's Revenge, Blackbeard and his crew of 400 captured over 20 ships during his years at sea. Captain Blackbeard was known to fill his long black beard (hence the name) with smoking fuses in order to scare his enemies and crew. Talk about a dramatic pirate. Did ye be knowin' that Queen Anne's Revenge was a French merchant vessel that Blackbeard recaptured after the French plundered it from the British? And he surely brought revenge to the seven seas wit' his prized vessel.
Life at sea was no luxury cruise in the 1700s. Poor living conditions, cramped quarters, sea rations and dangerous weather were not particularly fun--especially given the low wages most merchant ship sailors were paid. It wasn’t uncommon for sailors who were overtaken by pirates to join the crew of said pirate ship for the freedom and possible riches. Becoming a pirate was known as ‘going on the account.’ And if ye be going on the accounts, ye shouldn't be expecting doubloons from setting the sails.
Goin’ on th’ Account
All about the doubloons
Real: lowest common denomination, used widely in international trade
Pieces of Eight (peso de a ocho): a Spanish silver coin worth eight reales
Escudo: a Spanish or Portuguese coin worth two Pieces of Eight, or 16 reales
Doubloon: a Spanish gold coin worth eight Escudos, or 16 Pieces of Eight, or 128 silver Reales
Bonus Fact: The wildly popular and GIF-abused Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. No pirates were harmed during the filming of these movies but no word on Keith Richards.
Rise of the Royal Navy
Modern Day Piracy
While International Talk like a Pirate Day can be loads of fun, piracy is still a very real issue. Pirates operating off the coast of Somalia and elsewhere around the world are very dangerous and responsible for many deaths.
Piracy is a threat to both international trade and maritime safety. In 2011, piracy cost the world economy £4.3 billion ($7 billion) and lead to the deaths of 24 people. Somali pirates are infamous for demanding ransom money in exchange for the crew, the vessel and cargo which they have captured.
The UK, along with the US, France, Italy, Denmark and other countries, is committed to securing the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia in order to protect international sea lanes that are vital to global trade. Beyond these security operations, the UK is playing a lead role in providing humanitarian and development assistance to Somalia.
The European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) launched Operation Atalanta to counter piracy in 2008. The EU NAVFOR has had a great success rate while providing protection to the World Food Programme ships entering Somalia to deliver food to the people of Somalia, as well as, African Union Mission in Somalia vessels.
So, don't be a scurvy pirate, but this day ye definitely speak like one! Legends say there be plenty o’ rum and the occasional treasure map!