Golden Age of Piracy - Skull and Crossbones

Golden Age of Piracy

Barataria Bay

Golden Age of Piracy - Chapter Decoration

Locations > Barataria Bay

Barataria Bay

Background

Entrance of Barataria - Col. Ross (1812)

Entrance of Barataria - Col. Ross (1812)

Barataria Bay was the first pirate haven of the famous Jean Lafitte. During the early 1800's Lafitte and his brother Pierre ran a gang of smugglers and pirates who still terrorized shipping in the Gulf of Mexico despite the Golden Age of Piracy being supposedly long gone. Lafitte and his brother initially found legal employment as privateers for the Republic of Cartagena where they plundered Spanish ships and smuggled the goods and the slaves into the port of New Orleans.

By the 1810's the pirate haven of Barataria Bay was known as one of the largest black market ports in all of the world and between five hundred and a thousand pirates and other miscreants were known to frequent the location. At any given time Lafitte had over a dozen pirate ships in his harbor and easily had a larger navy than the upstart United States of America at the time. In fact, from Barataria Bay Lafitte and his brother played a famous role in the War of 1812 and ensured the success and safety of the fledgling nation.

In 1814 Lafitte was approached by the British in order to aid them in invading the United States from the Gulf of Mexico. Instead Lafitte turned around and approached American badass Andrew Jackson and offered his pirate fleet to help defend the United States against the imminent British attack in exchange for a pardon. Jackson agreed and the pirates provided essential services during the Battle of New Orleans that made them soldiers of distinction. Following the war Lafitte and his partners were all given full pardons but this would not be the end of his story. Lafitte would return to piracy and formed yet another pirate haven on Galveston Island.

Legacy

Following the abandonment of both Barataria Bay and later Galveston Island following the mysterious death of Lafitte the golden age of piracy would truly come to end as the Age of Sail was abandoned in favor of the steam engine. Pirates and men like Lafitte were no longer accepted in the Caribbean and the whole world began to transition to the Industrial Era. Latin America along with the Caribbean would be in a constant state of political upheaval and social turmoil throughout the 1800's and soon the US was destined to fight its own American Civil War.

While privateers and sailing ships were used in the Civil War this would be one of the last instances. Privateers would be used increasingly less in various wars throughout the 19th and 20th centuries as it was viewed as a criminal practice. The scale was nothing like occurred through from the three hundred years between the 16th to the 18th centuries. Smuggling and drug running would continue throughout the Caribbean into the present day and piracy still remains a big business in exactly the same places it did during the golden age, right off the coast of Africa and the West Indies.

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