Interesting article that says our impressions of Pirates have been created by British propaganda:
Pirates have never been quite who we think they are. In the “golden age of piracy” – from 1650 to 1730 – the idea of the pirate as the senseless, savage thief that lingers today was created by the British government in a great propaganda-heave. Many ordinary people believed it was false: pirates were often rescued from the gallows by supportive crowds. Why? What did they see that we can’t? In his book Villains of All nations, the historian Marcus Rediker pores through the evidence to find out. If you became a merchant or navy sailor then – plucked from the docks of London’s East End, young and hungry – you ended up in a floating wooden Hell. You worked all hours on a cramped, half-starved ship, and if you slacked off for a second, the all-powerful captain would whip you with the Cat O’ Nine Tails. If you slacked consistently, you could be thrown overboard. And at the end of months or years of this, you were often cheated of your wages.
Pirates were the first people to rebel against this world. They mutinied against their tyrannical captains – and created a different way of working on the seas. Once they had a ship, the pirates elected their captains, and made all their decisions collectively. They shared their bounty out in what Rediker calls ‘one of the most egalitarian plans for the disposition of resources to be found anywhere in the eighteenth century.’ They even took in escaped African slaves and lived with them as equals. The pirates showed ‘quite clearly – and subversively – that ships did not have to be run in the brutal and oppressive ways of the merchant service and the Royal navy.’ This is why they were popular, despite being unproductive thieves.
A good read.
My East Carolina Pirates, by the way, finished the year 9-5 after a disappointing loss in the Liberty Bowl. But, we had a great season, won our conference championship, and should have a great season next year. We’ll be playing Virginia Tech, North Carolina and West Virginia and will give them all a run for their money.. Arghh!!!