Pirate I SP-229 - History

Pirate I SP-229 - History



(SP-229: 1. 42'5"; b. 11'6"; dr. 2'11"; cpl. 8; a. 1 1 pdr., 1-mg.)

The first Pirate (SP-229) was built by A. Craven Construetion Co., Charleston, S.C., in 1916; acquired by the Navy by charter from A. Halsey 5 September 1917; and placed in service on that date.

During World War I, Pirate patrolled Atlantic shores. After war-time service, the motorboat was returned to her owner 26 December 1918.

Real-Life Pirates of the Caribbean

We've all seen the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, gone on the ride at Disneyland or dressed like a pirate for Halloween. Therefore, we know all about pirates, right? They were jolly fellows who had pet parrots and went looking for adventure, saying funny things like "Avast ye, scurvy dog!" Not quite. The real pirates of the Caribbean were violent, desperate thieves who thought nothing of murder, torture, and mayhem. Meet some of the men and women behind the infamous legends.

A Brief History of British Privateers and Pirates

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While piracy has been and, in some parts of the world, continues to be a threat to merchants at sea, what we think of as piracy begins as many of the world’s old empires were getting started. With the New World discovered in the Americas, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, and Portugal rushed to lay claim on its lands and resources. Oftentimes, these world powers fought each other for resources and engaged private citizens to help with this “resource reallocation.” In time, once there was no further use for the Crown to sanction their actions, these private sailors when rogue.

The first thing to note is that what separated a pirate from a privateer was a contract from the Crown. Privateers were commissioned by the British government to raid Spanish and French ships for gold, crops, and other precious resources. A privateer was essentially a “pirate with a license”, though to the opposing governments of the world, they were still pirates. Privateers began to operate for the United Kingdom as early as the 16 th Century. One of the most famous of these privateers, Francis Drake, received his commission from Queen Elizabeth I in 1572 and used it to rob Spanish settlements in the Americas. In doing so, he gained much favor with the queen.

It was also as early as this time that the lines between privateer and pirate began to blur. Some sailors chose the life of a privateer crewman because it was far more lucrative than service in the Royal Navy. Additionally, privateers were known to go beyond their commissions and attack merchant ships that didn’t belong to France, Spain, or whatever nation their commission allowed them to attack. In other cases, pirates that stuck to attacking ships that weren’t from the United Kingdom were given a blind eye from Her Majesty’s Government.

By the mid-17 th Century, Spain was on the decline as a power in the Americas, but still maintained a strong presence. France had been gone for some time, consumed by its own internal strife, but it came back to establish itself as one of the leading powers in the Caribbean along with the British and the Dutch. Without a need to raid Spanish ships and cripple their colonial efforts, the British government cut loose many of the privateers it had employed. Many of these former British privateers opted to continue their ways without leave from the Crown. Pirates such as “Calico” Jack Rackham, Sir Henry Morgan, William Kidd, Bartholomew “Black Bart” Roberts, Anne Bonny, and Edward “Blackbeard” Teach became notorious names in the New World.

Fortunes changed for the pirates after they began targeting slave ships bringing captured Africans to the colonies. In some cases, pirates freed the slaves and offered them an option to join their ranks. In others, the pirates captured the slaves for themselves to ransom them or sell them. British slave traders urged the government to crackdown. Parliament expanded the Royal Navy and created a system of courts for the Vice-Admiralty to charge suspected pirates there in the Caribbean colonies rather than having to bring them back to the United Kingdom. The government even offered pardons to some while the larger military presence either finished the rest or drove them to other parts of the world.

By the time of the Declaration of Paris in 1856, privateering had been outlawed as a means of engaging another nation, and pirates all but wiped out in the Americas. As the United States and Mexico became powers in their own right and grew their own navies, pirate activity in North and Central America ceased altogether.

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About John Rabon

The Hitchhiker's Guide has this to say about John Rabon: When not pretending to travel in time and space, eating bananas, and claiming that things are "fantastic", John lives in North Carolina. There he works and writes, eagerly awaiting the next episodes of Doctor Who and Top Gear. He also enjoys good movies, good craft beer, and fighting dragons. Lots of dragons.

African Pirates

The Barbary Corsairs used to raid Europe for Slaves. They would take whole coastal villages in Ireland and made it as far as Iceland.



Not really African Pirates, but this article that I read some time ago, and that I located now again, talks about the piracy in Madagascar and its relation with the local slace trade:

Pirates, Slavers, and the Indigenous Population in Madagascar, c. 1690-1715 on JSTOR


About the Portuguese actions in the Indian Ocean, or anywhere, I think that it is important to separate the private actions of individuals that acted on their account, for profit, and the actions of those that were under the crown, either for profit or political motifs. I am not saying that ones were "benign" and the others weren't, violent actions are never "benign" for the victims, but I think that is relevant to de definition of piracy.

As for the Piracy in the North of Africa, it was quite famous for centuries. In the Iberian Peninsula there was a known cry in the villages near the sea, that was incorporated in the popular expressions: “Há Mouros na Costa!”/“There are Moors at the coast!”

Steve's LEGO Blog

LEGO Pirates was a LEGO theme introduced in 1989.

It was the first completely new theme that appeared after the three initially introduced main themes by LEGO (which are Town, Castle and Space, introduced in 1978)

It focused on the idea of Caribbean pirate’s fighting against soldiers of colonial empires (the Imperial Soldiers in blue and the Imperial Guard in red) and they would occasionally encounter indigenous people, called the Islanders. During its initial run from 1989 to 1997, the theme saw continuous releases in every year except in 1990. While the pirate faction remained largely unchanged, their imperial adversaries were subject to various visual changes.

The theme was the first to feature LEGO versions of firearms, in the form of a pistol, musket and cannon it also introduced the first Minifigures without the standard smiley-faces as well as specific elements for the construction of large sailing ship models and the inclusion of both the parrot and monkey fig all contributed towards the outstanding reception recieved of Pirates.

Following a long hiatus starting in 1997, except for occasional rereleases of old sets under the title Legends, the theme was reintroduced in 2009, combining the established look from the past with recent LEGO elements and building styles.

A picture from 1989 showing a clash of two factions.

Lego Pirates initial release was between 1989 and 1997, in this time four factions were released in what I like to call waves.

Wave 1 Released Pirate’s against Blue Soldiers called Imperial Soldiers
Wave 2 Released Pirate’s against Red Soldiers called Imperial Guard
Wave 3 Released Pirate’s against Islander
Wave 4 Released Pirate’s against the Spanish Armada

Wave 1 Overview (1989 and 1991)

Between 1989 and 1991 two factions were introduced for the Pirate Theme, they consisted of Pirates and the Blue Imperial Soldiers.

Many see this as the most exciting wave, this could be due to the fact that it was the first wave, but many old school lego collectors claim that this wave released the best set in the form of the Black Sea Barracuda (a ship for the pirates to sail), Eldorado Fortress (a beautiful base for the Imperial's to stay in) and the Carribian Clipper (this is the ship the bluies got to fight in).

The Four pirate Minifigs where released at the time
The Captain, two of his crewmen and a Wench.

The two crew members came in many forms, the one with the bandana would have various trouser colours, a blue or red bandana and a red or blue stripped shirt, the pirate with the eyepatch could have either a brown or black tricorn (the three corner hat he is wearing) and various coloured trousers. The one with the eyepatch was called called Rummy and the other was called Flashfork (from the comics, which also named the parrot and monkey as Popsy and Spinoza).

The Captian would never change his apperance and the wench would swap between a red or blue bandana.
The Captain was called, Captian Roger Redbeard ( possibly Captian Roger) whilst the Wench as called Anne.

Their Adversaries of the time where the Imperial Soldiers, they sailed the seas with their Carribian Clipper and went to their Eldorado Fortress whenever they needed some land under their fett. Four Minifigs where released with this faction. These Figures included the Commander (called Governor Broadside), his Lieutenant (called Lieutenant Martinez) and the basic Soldier and the basic sailor.

As you might have noticed the basic body on the Lieutenant, soldier and sailor are all the same, still if they are to represent an army then uniformity is important.

Wave 2 Overview (1992 -1993)

This wave saw a whole new faction in the form of Red Imperial Soldiers (called the Imperial Guard), old pirates from the orignal wave were still released in set at this time, but sadly no more blue soldiers were released at all. The red soldiers where exactly the same as there blue counterparts but had the added bonus of being red not blue. Notable sets in this wave include the Imperial Trading Post and Skull Eyes Schooner, and the first ever imperial flagship (the ship the red guys got to fight in, a second flagship was released in 2010).

Three new pirates were included one of which looks very similar to an earlier one, just with brown hair not black, whilst the other two have very similar faces (though the torso's look nice).

The Minifig on the left (the one in the brown shirt) is seen as the rarest of all minifigs, he was only ever released in two set, the Imperial Trading Post and Skull Eyes Schooner, in the trading post he has his own ship, which is believed as many to be a trading or merchant ship (the only one released by LEGO) in the Skull Eyes Schooner he is just a pirate crew member. He is also apparently called Steve, but I have no idea where the source came from.

The minifig in the middle was seen as an additional pirate fig, he would come with various trousers and a choice of blue or red bandanas and occasionally a tricorn hat, his shirt is also black and red striped not white and red, making his torso slightly different to the previous pirates.

The Pirate with the ripped shirt, is often seen as either a new design for the Captian (shown above) or as a whole new pirate in his own right. This debate was finally put to rest when the two minifigs where released together in the Red Beard Runner (a pirate ship from the fourth wave), it should also be noted that this pirate has brown hair, whilst the orignal captian was released with red hair. This Captian was also realsed with his own infearior ship (the Renegade Runner ) he was also given a name, Ironhook.

Their Adversaries this time came in the form of the Imperial Guard (very little change you might have noticed), only three Minifigs were released with this faction. These Figures included the Commander (called Admiral Woodhouse), a Lieutenant (with no name) and the basic Soldier, they fought the pirates from their flagship and stocked up on supplies at there trading post.

Keys to History Signage

The Friends of Chapman State Park have installed new interpretative signage—“Keys to History”-- covering the property’s evolution from a 18 th century plantation supported by enslaved labor, through the Civil War era, to a 20 th century horse breeding farm. Most of the signage is accessible via an easy walk from the entrance drive. Others are located at the river front. Experience this exploration of our area’s heritage

While Mount Aventine manor house remains closed to visitors due to the pandemic, the trails are open and welcoming. Masks/social distancing are requested.

5 Edward Low

Edward Low was born in London to an impoverished family and began thieving as a young boy. After an early marriage, he and his wife moved to America to pursue better prospects in the New World. But his wife died in childbirth, and Low quickly returned to his old habits. He became a pirate after leading a mutiny on a sloop headed to Honduras where he was working as a rigger.

Unlike many pirates, Low preferred to keep a small fleet of only three or four vessels. After capturing and looting a ship, he viciously tortured the sailors before burning the vessel and leaving it behind. Philip Aston, a member of Low&rsquos crew, later said, &ldquoOf all the piratical crews that were ever heard of, none of the English name came up to this in barbarity.&rdquo

Low was known to tie a victim&rsquos hands behind his back and place rope between each of the fingers. Then Low would set the bindings on fire and watch the flames go through the rope and burn the victim&rsquos flesh to the bone.

Low was also renowned for brutally beating and slashing prisoners with his cutlass. After capturing the Portuguese ship Nostra Signiora de Victoria, he cut off the captain&rsquos lips with the cutlass. Then Low broiled and force-fed them to the captain.

This heinous cruelty, along with Low&rsquos reckless battle tactics, made him the most feared pirate during the early 1700s. Although no one really knows how Low met his end, there are many different theories. Some believe that his ship sank during a storm off the coast of Brazil. Some say that he died in a mutiny. Others believe that he was captured by the French and hanged in Martinique.

The Most Successful Pirate You've Never Heard Of

Henry Every may not be as famous as later pirates like Blackbeard or Bartholomew Roberts, but his brief career may have inspired many of them to first take up the cutlass and set sail under the Jolly Roger. During just two years prowling the seas, Every and his band captured roughly a dozen vessels and made off with tens of millions of dollars in booty. His exploits inspired songs, books and plays, including one called “The Successful Pyrate” that was performed on London stages for several years. Most astonishing of all𠅊nd unlike Blackbeard and many others—he did it all without getting captured or killed.

Woodcut showing Every loading treasure on his ship

Little is known about Every’s early life. He went to sea at a young age, and may have served in the Royal Navy before working as a slave trader in the early 1690s. In 1693, he reappears in the historical record as the first mate of the Charles II, a privateering vessel hired to plunder French shipping in the Caribbean. The mission was slow to start, however, and the crew languished in a Spanish port for several months without being paid. In May 1694, Every capitalized on the poor morale by leading his disgruntled crew in a mutiny. Upon seizing the Charles II, he announced his intention to turn pirate. “I am captain of this ship now,” he supposedly said. “I am bound to Madagascar, with the design of making my own fortune, and that of all the brave fellows joined with me.”

After renaming the Charles II the Fancy, Every and his upstart buccaneers set a course toward the southern tip of Africa. Their first raid came soon thereafter, when they ransacked three English merchant ships in the Cape Verde Islands. They continued to plunder their way along the African coastline for the next several months, capturing French and Danish ships and picking up new recruits. By the time the Fancy reached Madagascar in mid-1695, it was a floating rogues’ gallery of some 150 men.

Every’s early scores had won him the respect of his crew, but he soon set his sights on a more formidable quarry. He𠆝 learned that a Mughal Empire fleet was soon to set sail from the Red Sea port of Mocha on a voyage home to Surat, India. Along with carrying Muslim pilgrims returning from their hajj to Mecca, the armada would also include several loot-filled merchant vessels and treasure ships owned by the Grand Mughal of India himself.

Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, often known as the “Grand Mughal” (Credit: IndiaPictures/UIG via Getty Images)

Every and his men cruised to the Red Sea in August 1695 and prepared to ambush the Mughal flotilla. To ensure they had significant firepower, they partnered with several other pirate ships including the Amity, an American raider captained by the famed buccaneer Thomas Tew. Only a few days later, the pirates spotted the 25-ship Mughal convoy as it raced toward the open ocean. They immediately took off in pursuit, burning or leaving behind their slower ships to keep pace. Most of the fleet slipped away, but the Fancy successfully ran down a lumbering escort vessel called the Fath Mahmamadi. After a brief firefight, the ship surrendered and was relieved of some 50,000 British pounds’ worth of gold and silver.

Every and his men resumed the hunt, and on September 7, their three remaining pirate ships caught up with the richest prize in the Indian fleet: the Grand Mughal flagship Ganj-i-Sawai. Unlike the Fath Mahmamadi, the Ganj-i-Sawai was more than capable of defending itself. It was the biggest ship in all of India, and boasted several dozen cannons and a complement of 400 riflemen—more than the entire pirate fleet combined.

Every gambled on an attack, and immediately scored a devastating blow when one of his first cannon volleys cut down the Ganj-i-Sawai’s mainmast. The Indian defenders then fell into disarray after one of their artillery pieces malfunctioned and exploded. Every brought the Fancy alongside the crippled Mughal ship and sent a boarding party scurrying onto its deck. A fierce hand-to-hand battle ensued, but the Indian soldiers were driven back after their captain abandoned them. According to one account, the cowardly officer took refuge below deck and ordered a group of slave girls to fight in his place.

Official document announcing that a bounty has been put on Henry Every.

After dispatching the leaderless Mughal resistance, the pirates sacked the Ganj-i-Sawai and brutalized its passengers. The men were tortured and killed, and the women—including an elderly relative of the Grand Mughal—were repeatedly raped. “The whole of the ship came under their control and they carried away all the gold and silver,” the Indian historian Khafi Khan later wrote. �ter having remained engaged for a week, in searching for plunder, stripping the men of their clothes and dishonoring the old and young women, they left the ship and its passengers to their fate. Some of the women getting an opportunity, threw themselves into the sea to save their honor while others committed suicide using knives and daggers.”

The gold, silver, and jewels taken during the bloody Ganj-i-Sawai attack were worth somewhere between 325,000 and 600,000 British pounds—the equivalent of tens of millions today. After dividing the spoils, Every and his crew weighed anchor and set a course for the pirate-friendly Bahamas. Upon arriving at New Providence, they posed as slavers and bribed the island’s governor into letting them come ashore. Every also handed over the battle-scarred Fancy and a small fortune in ivory tusks.

British East India Company ships, known as �st Indiamen” (Credit: DeAgostini/Getty Images)

While Every and his men relaxed in New Providence’s pubs, English authorities scrambled to deal with the political fallout from their raid. The attack had driven the Grand Mughal Aurangzeb into a rage, and he responded by arresting several higher-ups in the English East India Company, which he believed had conspired against him. Fearing the cancellation of their valuable trade agreements, the Company compensated the Mughals for what was stolen and vowed to bring the pirates to justice. East India Company and Royal Navy vessels were soon scouring the seas in search of the Fancy, and a large bounty was placed on Every’s head.

No one would get a chance to collect it. Having made the proverbial “last big score,” Every and his pirates scattered after only a short stay in the Caribbean. A few were later rounded up and executed, but the vast majority escaped to Europe and the American colonies. Every’s own fate remains something of a mystery. He is believed to have sailed to Ireland under the name 𠇋ridgeman,” but his trail goes cold from there. Most of his contemporaries believed he made a clean getaway and retired with his loot. A few fictional works even described him as starting his own pirate haven on Madagascar. Years later, another tale would surface claiming Every had returned to his native England to settle down, only to be bilked out of his fortune by corrupt merchants. According to that version, the so-called “King of the Pirates” died poor and anonymous, “not being worth as much as would buy him a coffin.”

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Ching Shih: From Prostitute To Pirate

Also known as Madame Cheng, Ching Shih ruled the South China Sea in her day. ( Public domain )

Sometimes known as Madame Cheng (Chinese, 1775 – 1844 AD), Ching Shih was one of the most successful of pirates in history. Once a prostitute, upon the death of her pirate husband, she took over his entire “Red Flag Fleet” (so huge that it equaled all the combined fleets of all the other most successful pirates) and his pirate ways. She made her adopted son, Cheung Po Tsai, the captain of the fleet as well as her lover, and with his help, they robbed and taxed coastal towns. They attacked ships in the South China Sea, sparring with major nations, such as the British Empire, the Portuguese Empire, and the Qing dynasty. Her wealth and infamy grew. Ching Shih controlled more than 1,500 ships and 80,000 men. The Chinese government eventually offered universal pirate amnesty in exchange for peace she accepted this and lived out the remainder of her years in charge of a casino and brothel. She died at age 69.

Top image: Famous pirates from around the globe who terrorized the seas for gold and glory. Source: waewkid / Adobe Stock

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