Essay On The Golden Age Of Piracy

529 Words 3 Pages
The ‘golden age of piracy’ -during the 17th and 18th century- was not just about pirates plundering ships for ‘booty’ but was an age where a radical change in lifestyle, that was fundamentally different from autocratic, was offered for pirates. For pirates, piracy offered an easier, more autonomous lifestyle with a highly preferable democratic type rule.

Life as a sailor on a merchantman ship was incredibly difficult. If the men abroad were paid, they were paid very low wages and only after they returned from their voyages. The smaller crews meant much work for each man abroad and supplies of food and fresh water were often in shortage, only adding to difficult and severe conditions. The danger of death was an ever present factor and less than ten percent of the crew survived the voyages (Turley 199, 14). Many men were also often pressed into naval service where their chances of survival further decreased. Added to this there was the harsh punishments that were frequently handed out by a captain that “could pretty well do as he pleased” (Land 2007, 175). This was an unsatisfactory lifestyle that many sailors tried to get away from.

Due to this harsh way of life, many converted to piracy quite happily.
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It is easy to agree with Land when he says that pirate ships were a form of democratic organisation. For one thing, the captain was elected by his crew. The captain was also always in check by the quarter master. The captains rule could be challenged at any time, other than during a battle or raid. While the quantity of a treasure or loot may not have been spread out evenly, it was spread out in a “more or less” fair manner (Land 2007, 179), with Captain and quarter master receiving more than the crew. But even in democracy today the leaders earn more than the workers. The organization on a pirate ship was definitely a form of

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