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Today,wewillbediscussingpiracyanditsroleinthelate17th/early18th

century.Wewillhighlightimportantaspectsofpiratesocietyandincludeinformationon
familiarpiratessuchasBlackbeardandCalicoJack.Pirateswereadiversegroupof
criminalswhodefiedthestandardsof18thcenturysociety,despitetheriskofbeing
hanged.Ourmainfocuswillbeonthecriminalityofpiratesandtheirconnectionto
England.Thiswillsetthestageforournextclassonfemalepiracy.

Piracyisadifficultthingtodefine.Theresnotonedescriptionthatwouldfitthisentire
groupofpeople.Firstofall,pirateswereadiversegroupofindividuals.Everyonefrom
womentoblackstoeveryoneinbetweengotinvolvedinpiratelife.Basically,anyone
groupofpiratescontainedalargenumberofmarginalizedindividuals,andtheywereall
unitedintheirgoalofacquiringwealthandpower.

Theirmainmethodforacquiringwealthwasraidingotherships.Pirateswerethe
robbersofthesea.Thereareotherformsofpiracy,suchasairandlandpiracy,butwell
befocusingonthepiratesofthesea.Theirwholewayoflivingwasbasedoffoftheft.
Theyevenstolefromotherpirateswhentheygottheopportunity.Thisdidntmakethem
verywellacceptedamongthemorecivilizedsociety,andpiracywasveryseverely
punished.Thewordpiracyitselfisactuallythenameofacrime.Themainmethodfor
eliminatingpirateswashanging.Notonlydidthishelpeliminatethepiratethreat,itwas
alsousedasascaretacticforotherpirates.Pirateswhohadbeenkilledwerethenput
ondisplayasawarningforotherpirates.

Piracywasntoriginaltothe18thcentury.Thepracticeofpiracywasactuallywoven
throughouthistory.Evenasearlyasthe14thcentury,piratesusedviolenceand
brutalitytogainriches.

Eventhoughpirateswerentanacceptedpartoftraditionalsociety,theirsocialstructure
wassimilartothatoftraditionalsociety,inthewaythattheyobservedahierarchical
structure.Eachpirateshipfollowedacertainhierarchy,whichisasfollows:captain,first
mate,quartermaster,boatswain,themates,andthentherestofthecrew,dependingon
theirroleontheship,withtheshipmasterbeingthehighestupandtheprisonersasthe
lowest.Pirateswereinterestingbecauseoftheiruseofdemocracy,whichwasnteven
usedinWesternsocietyyet.Thehigherups,suchasthecaptain,wereelectedbythe
crew,andthatgavethemthepowertoheadthechainofcommandandelectthepeople
belowthem.

Pirateswerentacceptedasapartofmainsociety.However,foralotofpirates,their
marginalizationwasntjustbecauseoftheircareerchoice.Pirateshipsattractedall

differentkindsofpeople,includingblacksandafewwomen,aswellascriminals.These
groupsofpeoplewereseenaslowermembersofsociety,andwerethereforegivenless
rights.Agoodmajorityofapiratecrewwasmadeupofmarginalizedindividuals,
becausepiracyallowedthem,notonlytogainwealth,buttogetalotmoreequal
treatment.