When and why did Piracy end?
A sudden agreement between countries brought about the end of pirates. They all pursued the pirates, and many were killed. Some were captured and hanged as an example, others fled to other seas.
All countries united against pirates
A pirate was most likely to end up hanging or on a prison ship, in conditions rarely bearable for a human being.
Sending supply boats to each island was a very common and usually necessary operation.
Pirate ships depended on whatever supplies they could get, and better if these were free. Therefore, they were forced to look for safe places where they could anchor and get supplies without danger. Stops were made on islands to fetch fresh food and water.
The end of the Pirate Age
Their decadence and exemplary punishments, hanging or life imprisonment their fate
Running out of places of provisioning protected by some country, they were an easier prey.
Every peace treaty between countries, ending marine or territorial disputes, was a step towards their demise. They lost their protection and their ports. Pirates and privateers were allowed to carry out their boardings and raids as long as they were useful to any country.
All European countries against pirates
And this protecting country, allowed them to provision and shelter in its ports. When they were no longer needed, they were isolated and later persecuted. When possible, they were annihilated. They could do little against warships.
The Treaty of Utrecht, although it initially created a great number of pirates, when the sailors and corsairs were left without occupation at the end of the war, nevertheless it deprived them of the main supports.
From that moment on, all countries turned against them, because they hindered maritime traffic and trade. Moreover, they were no longer needed to be used against another country, since each country had its own navy.
Having spent some time without maritime wars in Europe, pirates are a nuisance for all countries, since they attack their ships. All countries unite against pirates, buccaneers, filibusters, …
The Pursuit of Pirates
Pirates in search and capture
Rewards for Pirate’s hunting and capture
The persecution was continuous during the following centuries.
The fortifications of the coastal areas made it more difficult to assault towns, which at this time were usually more populated and had more garrison troops.
The progressive technification of the navies of all countries created an unequal struggle between wooden and metal ships. Modern warships with powerful cannons could defeat them at a distance, without allowing them to board.
As it would happen later in the Cuban War between the Americans and the Spaniards, it was modern metal military ships that fought against old-fashioned wooden and sail-powered pirate ships.
Exemplary punishments for pirates:
Hanging or life imprisonment.
Hanging was the punishment for every pirate. Captain Kidd’s corpse remained for 4 years at the entrance of the River Thames. In view of every ship that passed by, with a very clear message for anyone thinking of becoming a pirate.
Prison ships full of Pirates
Old wrecked ships were installed in the River Thames and used as prisons, where inmates lived in subhuman conditions. These prison ships could be seen on the river at the entrance to London. They served as a chastisement and warning to the crews of all incoming and outgoing ships.
The message was clear, the future of anyone who engaged in Piracy would be an exemplary punishment. Usually the gallows, or a dreaded prison ship from which almost none would leave alive.
Refugees in the seas of China, India, Japan, etc.
Flight to Africa and Asia
The large number of islands made it difficult to locate the pirates and allowed them to stock up on water and food.
As maritime navigation increased and new trade routes appeared, pirates moved to areas where there were possible booty. The new sea routes of India, China, Japan, Malaysia, etc. with ships full of cargoes of silk, ivory, spices, are their new targets.
The activity of the Colonies of North America, make that many pirates move towards them. Soon the North American privateers will be famous, attacking the English Crown this time.