Who were Pirates?
Pirates were sea robbers. They were gangs of lawless men - and women – who attacked ships in the hopes of finding riches and cargo.
There have probably always been pirates sailing the oceans of the world. The ancient Greeks were troubled by them. There are still pirates today. In the seas of the Far East they use fast, inflatable boats to attack unsuspecting ships.
However, the most important pirates who were of all nationalities, lived during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. After North and South America had been discovered, many ships made the long and dangerous voyage from the Americas to Europe. Their holds were filled with plenty tempting goodies, all worth stealing. Sometimes the pirates would be lucky. There would be valuable goods on board: gold, chests of money, precious stones. Even if there was little of such treasure, the pirate crew could always sell the rest of the cargo – perhaps silks or cattle or timber.
The pirates were mostly tough, rowdy, brutal and mercilessly cruel. Though perhaps they had one soft dream in the backs of their minds! They wanted to become rich as quickly as possible so they could go back home and settle down. They wanted a nice little house on shore with a few chickens scratching in the yard.
Not many of them made it. A life of violence usually ended in violence. There were not many pirates who died in their beds.