What were the differences between the Pirates?
What types of pirates are there? What are their characteristics?
There have always been different types of pirates. There are differences between pirates, privateers, buccaneers, filibusters, Barbary pirates. We tend to confuse them but each type had its own characteristics and ways.
Corsairs, Buccaneers, Filibusters?
Pirates were unscrupulous and very dangerous types, always on the lookout. Very well armed and full of ambition. Waiting for the moment to strike on land or sea.
The Main Types of Pirates
Main Types of Pirates: Corsairs, Buccaneers, Filibusters ..
There were differences between pirates under a similar appearance
What today is known as Pirates, is a way of encompassing a group of sailors. Although with similar actions, they sometimes had different objectives.
These differences between Pirates and Corsairs depended on whether or not they crossed a line. However, sometimes, due to different circumstances, the Corsairs ended up becoming Pirates or vice versa.
This causes a great deal of confusion. The nuances of each of these types are not known.
+ Who were they?
Mary Read became famous by posing as a man and acting as a pirate. Some pirates have gone down in history for their personality or for their deeds, as is the case of Mary, the female pirate.
For years she disguised herself as a man and no one suspected she was a woman. A life of adventures as a pirate. Only another woman pirate Anne Bonny, watching her suspected, and told her. They soon became friends.
Piracy: A Violent Way of Life
Some depended on a King, they were the privateers. They had a royal authorization, a privateer’s license. Others were free men, the pirates, they did not depend on anyone, but they had no protection, they were alone.
For them, the normal thing was to risk their lives fighting to get a good loot.
A whole world and a way of living and dying. Many different cases and a great number of circumstances, made that many people ended up leading a life generally so risky and short. A life dedicated to robbery and violence. Pirates have always been talked about, but they have been confused with privateers and there are differences between them. On many occasions one ended up becoming the other, or chasing them.
There was a time when kings used privateers for all kinds of purposes: undeclared wars, ransoms, booty, etc. Thanks to this, they got rich in an easy way and without major risks.
+ Where did they come from?
The helmsman was always alert to any unforeseen event, since the safety of the ship depended on him. The semi-darkness allowed the pirates to approach without being seen- Continuous vigilance was essential to avoid surprises. Dusk and dawn, due to their low light, made visibility difficult and could cause a pirate ship to be missed in time.
The helmsman had to be attentive to everything that could be glimpsed in the vicinity. One slip of the tongue and the ship could crash into cliff rocks, reefs or run aground on sand bars.
Pirates were the thieves of the sea
The great temptation, the riches of others.
They are defined as a person who, along with others of equal status, engage in the boarding of ships at sea to steal. It is believed to be the derivative of a Greek word “peirao” meaning “one who undertakes” or “one who seeks fortune”, or “one who strives”. Yes but to steal the labor or wealth of others.
The pirates were these people that with the only objective of personal profit, obtained great booty after the capture of ships and sale of everything of value captured, the ship, pieces of artillery, slaves, and the ransoms for passengers. It can be said that the pirate was a common sea robber, often bloodthirsty, if he did not get what he wanted.
Pirates were free men
Although they could have been slaves. They were driven by freedom and ambition
The pirates were not dependent on anyone, nor were they accountable to anyone. On the other hand, they were not protected by any country and were persecuted by all those whose ships had been attacked.
Their acts could be brutal, since their law was Greed and in order to get the precious metals, they could do anything, even torture or kill. For a poor European who had lived in misery under the whims of a landowner, it was a whole new way of living in freedom.
There were differences among pirates, but they were all experts: in the handling of weapons and in the use of weapons.
Mercenaries experienced in boarding Sea robbers who took advantage of the fear of being experienced mercenaries in hand-to-hand combat.
They took advantage of their numerical superiority and the speed of their ships. Their ships were fast and only carried the pirates and their armaments, to seize cargo ships, with few crew and sailors with little experience with weapons.
Their way of fighting was basically to destroy the ship’s sails, preventing its ability to maneuver and flee. They were then able to make a boarding and victory on most occasions. Drake was the most famous privateer, to whom are attributed adventures and phrases that he did not always utter.
Francis Drake, spent his entire life at sea, as a privateer in the service of England.
For his merits attacking Spanish ships and towns in America, he became an English Vice-Admiral. His example was followed by many other Englishmen who, supported by the English Crown, set sail for the New World, ready to snatch the riches, especially from the Spaniards of the new colonies. Many sailors from England took to the sea, imitating Francis Drake.
Privateers and Kings Associated with the kings, they became privateers. Patente de Corso: It is said of the ship that goes to the corsair, with a patent of the government of its nation, that is to say, a country granted a permit called “Patente de Corso”.
Thanks to this patent, the ship could practice piracy against enemy countries’ ships, receiving in exchange a part of the booty. It could be said that the privateer was a pirate “sponsored” by a country. England, France and Holland used this system, granting numerous privateering patents.
Privateers: The King’s Pirates
A minor booty in exchange for protection Corso (race) denomination with which it was indicated, that a private individual had chartered and armed a ship, to capture and plunder the maritime traffic, of the enemy countries of a government. With this license they had the protection but also obliged them to be at the service of the Crown and were accountable to it.
Privateers: Good business for all
Booty and covert warfare
These private individuals recovered their investment with the booty obtained from captured ships and small towns, ransomed passengers and sold captured slaves. A part of this booty was taken by the nation that granted the patent, in exchange for their protection and the use of their ports. They could only consider safe ports as those of their own country. It also granted them protection, theoretically a privateer could not be hanged for carrying the privateer’s patent if he was captured by the enemies.
The division of the New World by the most powerful countries of the time, Spain and Portugal, with the support of the Pope, caused emerging countries such as France and later England, to hinder maritime traffic and make great profits, in an undeclared war. Their plan was to attack using the differences between pirates and privateers.
This was the method used by the nations, so that part of the riches extracted from America by the Spaniards would reach their hands. It was a covert war that was wearing and hindering the expansion of Spain in Europe, having to guard their own coasts or protect their colonies. Morgan became famous by digesting the pirates of the Caribbean and ended up as Governor of Jamaica, a refuge for Filibusters.
Morgan, from privateer to Governor of the Island of Jamaica.
With his great capacity as a leader he managed to group thousands of filibusters and launch them against the Spanish possessions from which he obtained great riches.
The Buccaneers of the Caribbean Sea
Differences between pirates and opportunists Hunters looking for something more Among the different types of pirates, the Buccaneers were hunters who prepared smoked meat to sell to ships. Some also engaged in acts of piracy if the occasion arose. It has been said that they were not only hunters but also pirates. They lived in the XVII and XVIII centuries and plundered Spanish overseas possessions.
Initially, they mostly lived in uninhabited parts of Hispaniola (currently two different countries: Dominican Republic and Haiti). In the Dominican Republic they remained Spanish colonies and still speak Spanish (Castilian). And in Haiti French is spoken, since this part of the island was ceded to France in 1697.
After 200 years of Spanish presence on the island. On this island there were many cattle abandoned by the Spaniards. These cattle, without suffering the danger of natural predators, had reproduced freely. For this reason they had proliferated in large numbers. It was relatively easy to hunt them since they were mostly descended from abandoned domestic animals.
The Bucan: Smoked meat
The natives of the islands taught their method of preservation.
Bucanero, comes from bucan (smoked), since initially they were dedicated to the cattle, hunt it, smoke it and sell it. They were fortunate to learn from the Indians the technique for smoking meat on a grill. Thanks to this, their game was prepared and smoked. In this way, the meat could be preserved for months.
Later, some of them dedicated themselves to piracy, since they were located in a strategic position, where ships carrying all kinds of riches passed through. It was very tempting to see ships loaded with great quantities of wealth passing by and to sell them just a little meat. Surprise attacks There were real armies of Buccaneers.
They united for big attacks in spite of the differences between pirates. They came to attack populations and liked to show up in small settlements of settlers, on Sunday mornings. At that time the people, who were usually gathered in the church, were caught by surprise. Once a population was occupied, they committed atrocities, torturing and killing its inhabitants so that they would indicate and hand over their money or valuables.
The most famous buccaneer was Morgan.
He united some two thousand buccaneers and 40 ships.
After crossing the jungle from the Atlantic he reached the Pacific and raided Panama. The unprotected city, with only 400 professional soldiers and 1700 slaves and colonists with no military training, was taken. Its inhabitants were tortured so that they would reveal where they had hidden their wealth and treasures. For such a feat, England rewarded you, naming you Knight and Governor of Jamaica.
The dreaded silhouette of an unknown ship at sea created great uncertainty as to whether it was friend or foe. Filibuster ships were very fast and were feared because they could catch up with any ship. Boarding was then imminent and everything they carried and even their lives could be lost.
Filibustering Pirates of the Caribbean Sea
A multitude of islands could be their lair
The Filibusters were a group of Pirates, from the 17th century a part of the many groups that infested the sea of the Antilles. It coincided with the beginning of the decline of the Spanish Empire. This worsened the conditions for the maintenance of the Empire’s colonies.
As the Spanish Empire was the largest in the world in history, it was very difficult to control in its totality. The Spanish possessions in America were not sufficiently guarded because of their enormous extension.
A great difficulty was the multitude of islands in the Caribbean, where it was easy to hide or take refuge. They had many places to hide, especially in the Caribbean Sea. It was easy to stay out of the laws and hide near a zone of passage of the Spanish galleons loaded with riches
. + Who were the Buccaneers?
From Buccaneers to Pirates Some buccaneers wanted more than just hunting The group of Buccaneers that became pirates were also called Filibusteros. The origin of the name some say it comes from the English word “freebooter” (marauder). Others from the type of boat that they liked to use, a light and fast boat. Some say it comes from a derivative of the Dutch word meaning “predator”.
+ Where did the Buccaneers live?
Brotherhood of the Coastal Brethren
An organization of Pirates From simple hunters and Buccaneers, the most violent became Filibusteros pirates.
They continued to operate mainly on the island of Hispaniola, a strategic place through which the galleons passed, and on neighboring islands, such as Tortuga Island. They came to create authentic associations, which lasted for many years, such as the Brotherhood of the Brothers of the Coast.
In it, apart from a few small personal goods, most of them had communal goods, such as boats and land. It was an exclusively male association. Ocean crossings lasted for months, and there were few opportunities to go ashore on any island.
The feared appearance of a silhouette of a ship in a pirate zone could cause panic and the loss of everything, even life. Everyone was on alert, fearing the worst. Until it was clear whether the ship was friend or foe, they tried to move away to avoid being boarded.
+ Who were the Filibusters?
+ Where did the Filibusters live?
Pirates and Barbary Corsairs
They lived in the Mediterranean Sea
A set of historical facts, made that in North Africa, appeared some corsair states.
For many centuries these city states practiced piracy throughout the Mediterranean. They were the scourge of the Spanish coasts and southern Europe, to such an extent that there were areas where the population moved a few kilometers inland. Until the occupation of Algiers in the middle of the 19th century, piracy in the Mediterranean Sea did not disappear.
In order to be more protected from pirates and to be able to react to their sudden arrivals, towers and surveillance systems were created. From Pirates to Turkish Corsairs They found salvation in the Turkish-Ottoman Empire. The Turks divided North Africa into three provinces, and placed a governor in charge of each. These provinces had great autonomy, especially the coastal ports. The only condition was that they paid taxes to the Ottoman Empire.
From these places pirates left for centuries numerous expeditions to attack the shores of the Mediterranean. On the other hand, the expulsion of the Moors from Spain, made some of them support the pirate and corsair republics of Algeria, Tunisia, and some parts of Morocco.
Turkey supported the attacks It used the Berbers to weaken Spain. The Turkish Ottoman Empire was stopped in its advance towards the Western Mediterranean by the Spanish Empire, which even defeated it in the Battle of Lepanto at the gates of present-day Turkey. The Turkish fleet was destroyed and they feared that Spain would penetrate the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean and take possession of them. For it in its alliance with the Barbary Pirates, that happened to be corsair to its service, they were wearing down to the Spanish navy.
The continuous attacks to its coasts forced Spain to dedicate part of its fleet to defend them. It slowed Spain’s expansion It made it difficult to expand in the Eastern Mediterranean. Piracy in the Mediterranean, survived for many centuries, because of the support of France, Turkey, and the secret agreements of the Venetians.
The Ottoman Turkish Empire saw the danger posed by the Spanish Empire. Its successive defeats at the hands of the Spanish, caused by the troops of Corona first in the Siege of Vienna, and later in the battle of Lepanto, in which the League destroyed its maritime fleet, saw that soon Spain would also dominate the Eastern Mediterranean Sea putting them in danger.
It considered that it was convenient to keep the Spanish navy busy, with pirate attacks in the Western Mediterranean, so that they could quietly control the Eastern Mediterranean, in which were their coasts and their main vassals.
+ The Berberiscos, places, slaves, attacks
France allied with the Berbers Barrier against Spain and business France viewed first with suspicion and then with fear the Spanish hegemony in Europe. It was surrounded by Spanish possessions: Flanders, territories in parts of Germany, Austria and Central Europe, as well as central and southern Italy. In addition the Spanish naval fleet controlled the Western Mediterranean.
For all this it established secret Alliances with the Turks and the Berber Pirates. Achieving with it, a certain protection of its coasts of the Mediterranean. It also achieved fruitful commercial relations with the Turkish and Berber ports, where they could dock and trade their ships.
Venice and its secret agreements Trade was all that mattered Venice, a maritime power, made it a priority to maintain commercial traffic with the Orient. It usually entered into trade agreements with the Turks, except on occasions when it was in danger.
On these occasions it joined forces with European alliances, as in the case of the Battle of Lepanto. Even so, he preferred to re-enter into commercial agreements with the Turks, rather than to wipe out the Turkish fleet. Europeans: England, France, Holland Against the hegemony of the Iberian Union (Spain and Portugal).
The main European countries viewed with suspicion the division of the Indies (America) between Spain and Portugal, with the support of the Pope, and created uneasiness among the European States. The creation of the Iberian Union, in which the two maritime and land empires were united under the Spanish Crown, was the last straw. This Union practically controlled the main seas and oceans of the planet.
The European countries were automatically threatened by the giant that had been born and could swallow them all up. Some countries, coveting the riches of the Indies, and unable to participate in the Oligopoly, decided to support their Corsairs. This provided them with great booty, since they only had to wait, to be able to steal the ships full of riches, which left America for Europe.
Although they did not mind attacking any ship that provided them with a good booty. But since Spain possessed the area of America with the most mines and treasures, the Spanish ships were the preferred ones. The Mexican Empire, Inca etc, was in the possession of the Spaniards and therefore their treasures. Spain controlled the main Caribbean Islands, such as Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, many of the smaller ones were frequented by pirates and corsairs.
The riches that Spain obtained in America provoked the envy of other European countries. England, France, and Holland, launched themselves into the Atlantic Ocean trying to get rich at the expense of the Spanish ships and colonies.
English Pirates and Corsairs
Supported by Queen Elizabeth I who even named them Knights. The decision of Alexander VI to have the church support the division of America between Spain and Portugal, leaving England out of the England from participating in the trade and riches of America.
In addition the distrust that represented the rise of Spain, makes England decide to seize the riches and diminish the Spanish power, in a covert way, by means of the naval fleet. It begins to grant in a massive way patents of Corso to ships armed by individuals.
The King gives his support to the English privateers. Queen Elizabeth I stood out especially for the support given to the Corsairs, whom she named Knights. Obtaining great wealth thanks to them. From Pirates to English Corsairs A covert war with great booty
The most famous English privateer was Francis Drake.
After two years of waiting, he got an audience with Queen Elizabeth I, and proposed to attack the Spanish possessions in the Pacific. Having obtained the Corso patent and with the help of the Queen. With five ships, he crossed the Strait of Magellan, and managed to reach the Pacific Ocean. Catching the Spaniards by surprise, he plundered the unprotected colonies on the coast.
Learning of the course of the Galeón del Oro that was sailing along the coast, he pursued it for a month until he caught up with it. Posing as an overloaded merchant ship in need of help, he managed to get the galleon to turn to meet him.
When the Spanish Captain was interested in the state of the merchant ship, one of the sails was blown off with a cannon shot and they were boarded. Caught by surprise, the Spaniards did not have time to take up arms or fire their powerful cannons. They found themselves unarmed before 180 corsairs armed to the teeth.The booty captured was immense.
Following the example of Francis Drake Numerous Englishmen wanted to imitate him. Drake enriched his Queen Elizabeth I with the fabulous booty, and as thanks from the English Crown, he was knighted.
A great number of Englishmen wanted to imitate him and get rich easily. It is believed that hundreds of ships sailed from England at that time, as well as from France. From the English possessions in the Caribbean, they systematically attacked the Spanish possessions.
Especially the island of Jamaica was their base in the Caribbean. Its capital Port Royal was a real nest of pirates under the support of the English Crown. The naval combat at sea with cannon shots produced a great number of wounded and dead.
The Spanish mounted fleets of crescent-shaped ships protected by warships on the sides. These fleets were sometimes attacked by groups of corsair ships and real naval battles took place. The efficiency of these ship formations was very effective.
During 300 years only on rare occasions did these Spanish fleets fall into the hands of foreign corsairs and after hard and bloody battles at sea.
+ The English Corsairs
French Pirates and Corsairs
The capture of Montezuma’s treasure uncovered the enormous riches of the New World and France decided to seize them from Spain.
France was the first potential European to use pirates and privateers to raid Spanish possessions.
The corsair Jean Florin, attacked a Spanish galleon, so fortunate that it was the one carrying the treasure snatched from Montezuma in Mexico. The news of obtaining such a fabulous booty, made many other pirates and corsairs, both from France and other countries, left for America. France, at war with Spain, also made use of the Corsairs to enrich itself and to tear its naval fleet apart.
It possessed ships and crews, especially from Normandy and Brittany, which from before the 16th century, made voyages to the Antilles and Brazil. First pirates of the Caribbean Although less known than the English Corsairs, the French were among the first Pirates and Corsairs of the Caribbean.
A large group of them settled in Hispaniola (currently the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and when they were expelled by the Spanish, part of these Frenchmen dedicated themselves to piracy.
They not only attacked ships, but also small towns and even Cartagena de Indias (Colombia). They also managed to settle in areas of Florida, but were expelled by the Spanish. The appearance of a pirate ship was a curse, and nothing good could come of it.
The merchant ships were heavy and slow as they were designed to carry as much cargo as possible.
At the sight of a possible pirate ship, all sails were set to try to get speed and distance themselves as far as possible from danger. Sailing at full speed, they would try to escape, if the ship would allow it. + The French Corsairs
Dutch Pirates and Corsairs
They started out as merchants and ended up as pirates when they saw the riches of the Spanish colonies.
The Dutch, who had suffered the Spanish occupation of their country, decided to seize the riches of America, which were in the hands of the Spanish. They took advantage of the differences between pirates and some of them turned them into privateers.
With the support of the Dutch East India Company, they decided to send several expeditions of Dutch corsairs, who came to raid even cities. even raided cities, with much harshness in their actions.
Although they began with commercial activities, and tried to install factories mainly in the Pacific Coast, both fishing and meat, they practiced smuggling with the support of the Dutch East India Company. They made a historical fact since directing towards the Caribbean all their fleet of ships, they obtained in one of their more spectacular actions, the capture of the fleet of the Silver.
+ The Dutch Corsairs
Characteristics of the types of pirates
Summary There were many types of pirates: some were simply pirates and robbers, others were the King’s Corsairs, but also buccaneers and hunters, and cruel filibusters. In the Mediterranean Sea were famous the dangerous Pirates and Barbary corsair ..