When was the Golden Age of pirates?
The peak begins
Thousands of seafarers out of work
The splendor in its golden age, of the Corsair Pirates, Buccaneers, Filibusters. The period of expansion of the Pirates in the Caribbean Sea, Africa, Indian Ocean, …
At this time, navigation was very dangerous due to the high number of pirates and corsairs.
The dreaded appearance of a filibuster ship could be the end of the voyage and sometimes of one’s own life.
End of the war, but rise of Piracy
From crews of privateer ships protected and at the service of France and England to simple Pirates of the Caribbean.
For decades Tortuga Island and Jamaica were the refuge of privateers and pirates under the protection of the French and English Crown.
The end of the European maritime wars
Spain controlled the main Caribbean Islands, such as Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, many of the smaller ones were frequented by pirates and corsairs.
Signing of peace between European countries
Main islands of the Caribbean Sea
Because of their size and wealth, the island of Cuba and the island of Hispaniola, in the hands of Spain, stood out. For being a traditional pirate nucleus, the Island of Jamaica, controlled by England.
In the Golden Age of Piracy, many corsairs became pirates. At the end of the war between the European nations, the number of pirates increased in great numbers.
During these years all the navies had been strengthened, multiplying their warships and crews under all flags.
After a 12-year war in which the navies with warships of England and Holland fought against Spain and France, peace came.
Thousands of sailors were left without work, some of them continued with their activity but for their own profit, outside the law of their country.
Peace with the Treaty of Utrecht (1713).
The end of the war and the massive use of privateers fostered its golden age.
The signing of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 meant the end of a long maritime war. The end of ships at war had arrived. With peace came the intensification of maritime traffic and trade.
The great powers no longer needed the services of pirates and privateers, nor did they protect them. This had originally been the main cause of the pirates of the Caribbean.
This peace meant that thousands of sailors were left without work and had to make a living, with the only thing they knew how to do, fight at sea.
In this treaty, Spain for the first time recognized and allowed that England, France and Holland had the right to trade in the Caribbean.
This put an end to Spain’s total control over the Americas for more than 200 years. Although, exceptionally, it had allowed Jamaica to exist as an English colony for decades.
Raids on thousands of ships and boats
Enormous maritime traffic
Having an unknown ship nearby could be dangerous as its intentions were unknown.
During this era, thousands of ships from all countries were attacked by pirates.
It was their golden age. The maritime traffic was enormous. English, French, Dutch and Spanish ships, full of goods and precious metals, were crossing the Atlantic. Pirate ships were waiting and ready to attack.
At the beginning it was the pirates of the Caribbean, but later they moved to other seas, looking for merchant ships with valuable merchandise.
There were three routes: From America to Europe, carrying gold and agricultural products. From Europe to Africa they transported weapons and manufactured goods. And from Africa to America, ships loaded with slaves.
All three routes had in common the fact that they were transported on ships. Ships of all kinds with valuable goods.
No flag was respected anymore. Any country could be the victim of attacks by Caribbean pirates and their ships boarded.
Islands of the Bahamas pirate center
The new refuge of the pirates of the Caribbean, in their golden age.
Hundreds of islands in the Caribbean Sea. The Bahamas, with its numerous islands, became the refuge of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Located near the American coast, in the Caribbean, in the supply zone of the Spanish ships.
The Spanish ships and galleons, when leaving the American mainland, made a first stage towards the Caribbean. There they were supplied with water and food, before crossing the Atlantic in the direction of Spain.
The pirates’ ships continued to be at a strategic point, from where they could attack the ships carrying goods.
Whether bound for Europe carrying wealth and treasure or coming from Africa with slaves, the pirate ships were always lurking, waiting for their opportunity to attack.
Pirate flags in New Providence
Forbidden to enter Jamaica will be their new refuge.
The dangers of navigation when approaching rocky areas
England, after the Treaty of Utrecht, changed its policy and prohibited the entry of pirates into Jamaica, its main base. This meant, in part, the decline of piracy, since they no longer had bases where they could provision and repair their ships.
The time when England needed pirates to defend Jamaica and weaken Spain had passed. Until that time, pirates were not only supported, they were even considered privateers and were knighted at the English Court.
These pirates had to find a new refuge and this was the island of New Providence. There they met, provisioned, repaired their ships and spent their booty.
It was an island in the Bahamas, with its capital Nassau, controlled and governed by the pirates. All ships, of whatever flag, were in danger.
And soon it went from a tiny village, to a piracy center. A haven for pirate ships. It was the capital of the Golden Age of piracy in the Caribbean Sea.