Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Golden Age of Piracy > Economics of Piracy

Economics of Piracy

Background

Pirates made devastating blows against the Imperial economies of Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. In some cases, pirates such as Charles Vane halted the entire trade of the Caribbean due to fear of his strikes, while others such as Edward 'Blackbeard' Teach and Stede Bonnet blockaded harbors and preyed upon all passing ships. No matter what their technique, pirates pulled untold fortunes from the regional economies of the Caribbean, Africa and Europe and put them directly into their own coffers.

The impact on the growing economics of the time was ultimately what lead to the pirates demise, especially on the Atlantic slave trade and the Triangular trade.

The reason the triangle trade route worked so well was the presence of meteorological conditions that greatly influenced how the ships traveled in the age of sail. First the ships would be loaded in Europe with manufactured goods that were bound for the Americas along with guns, cloth, iron and beer bound for Africa. The merchant ships would stop off in slaving ports in West Africa and offload their guns, cloth, iron and beer and trade them for slaves occasionally.

However it was not just the trade routes that the pirates plundered either. The pirates and privateers alike challenged the Spanish for rule in the New World and brought about the eventual decline of the Spanish Main as the English, French and Dutch were able to militarily push their way into the Caribbean and claimed large swaths of territory for themselves.

Pirate Merchants

Sources

Primary Sources

Secondary Sources

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