Whenever there have been sea traders, there have been sea thieves. Pirates have been sailing the seas throughout history stealing from weak and solitary ships, easily taken in the vast and un-defendable sea. Piracy reached it’s peak in the 16th century, and remained big well into the 17th and 18th centuries. One well known pirate was Blackbeard. He was feared by many and enjoyed lighting matches beneath his hat to encourage the fearful image of terror he produced. Born in Bristol, England in 1680, he was originally known as Edward Teach. His temper and extreme violence set him apart and by the time he was well into his pirating career, Blackbeard had the governor and chief justice of Carolina in his pocket. However, eventually he was killed by beheading in 1718.
Piracy over the years has mostly been made up of men who have lived on the outside of society for one reason or another. The caribbean for instance, became a very popular place for buccaneers, land based raiders, who had run away as criminals and taken up the life of a pirate. However, it was not only men who became pirates. Another group who was forced into conformity were women. As a young woman, Anne Bonny ran off with a sailor, already creating a bad reputation for herself. Then she proceeded to leave him for a pirate and together steal a ship. One of their first captors was in fact another woman, disguised as a boy, Mary Read. Both women fought at sea for many years and pleaded to be with child when they were sentenced to hang. Avoiding the noose, both women survived and nobody knows what became of Anne Bonny. Though pirates were well known threats, privateers were simply doing the same things but with authorization from officials. One such man was Sir Francis Drake whom queen Elizabeth used as a weapon. Piracy continues even today and in this documentary, the history of pirates is followed from hundreds of years ago to the present.