8 facts about pirates that you did not know

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640px-Capture-of-BlackbeardBefore internet piracy became a thing and people started using the terms pirates to describe anyone who used or provided illegal digital content, pirates were a feared and hated breed of people who terrorized dozens of nations and claimed hundreds of lives.

In the earlier days, when the sea was the only viable medium for long distance travels, it was quite common to load precious cargo on ships and transport it from one continent to another. Pirates were the people who attacked such ships while in the middle of the sea, and looted the cargo. These pirates would also hurt the sailors of the ship, often leading to deaths.

The sea is still a popular way to transport large amounts of goods, and while technology has helped curbed it, piracy still exists as well. Here are 8 incredible facts about pirates you were not aware of:

1. International piracy has 4 major hotspots presently – While incidents are reported all over the world, the highest number of piracy incidents is limited to Southeast Asia, Horn of Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, and South America. In Africa, Somalia has become notorious for its pirates.

2. Pirates elect their captain in a democratic manner – Forget what you saw in the movies. Pirates are known to elect the captain of their ship, and the chosen captain must then ensure that he continues to enjoy the support of his crew in order to remain in power. Pirates also have strict codes which everyone on the ship needs to follow.

3. There are no buried treasures – Pirates are impulsive people who are looking to make some quick money. They do not care about savings and long term retirement plans. So there is a very slim chance that there are any buried pirate treasures out there. Most pirates spend their money faster than they can earn it. What do they spend their money on? The alcohol and women stereotype about pirates is true!

4. Blackbeard rarely killed people – Blackbeard has a fearsome reputation, and many of the stereotypes about pirates are linked to him in one way or another. He is often described as ruthless and barbaric, but records indicate that Blackbeard has no massacres to his name. His fear alone made his captives comply with the pirate.

5. Not all pirates were middle aged white men – Records show that there were many parents who were of African descent, around 30% of all pirates, to be precise. There were also pirate ships that had female pirates, and even children pirates.

6. Pirates rarely torture or kill indiscriminately – For a pirate, fighting with the sailors of the ship they are trying to loot would have been a waste of time a huge drain on their resources. They relied on fear of punishment to speed things up. Those who fought against the pirates, were tortured and killed brutally. There was no walking the plank, as it would have been a quick death.

7. A lot of pirates retired peacefully and with amnesty – The British Empire tried to curb pirating by force; they failed. It was only when they started issuing pardons to those pirates who would cease their activities that the menace started to die. Many famous pirates accepted such pardons, including the notorious Blackbeard.

8. There were quite a few licensed pirates as well – Piracy was legal as well, for those who decided to work for the British empire. Such pirates were called privateers, and would not receive any punishment from the British forces. The only condition was that they could only target Spanish ships, and that they turned over portions of the loot to the British.

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