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The Pirate Ship: Hot Rods of the Age of Sail


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Except that the fastest ships of the day were naval frigates, and navies operated low-draft sloops and cutters in droves. The navy killed Blackbeard in a vessel pretty much identical to the one he was

Average Pirate Ships Osprey - The Pirate Ship 1660 - 1730 Angus Konstam Illustrated by Tony Bryan   Charles Vane's Ranger

The ships that pirates used to practice their deadly craft were unique in their own right when compared to standard navy and merchant vessels. Very rarely did pirates actually build their own ships fr

Pirate ships were some of the first democracies of the new world. The selection of a captain, the nature of a cruse, any major decision was done via election. Captains were usually selected as the best-of-the-best sailors on board, as well as being charismatic and a sufficient leader. If the crew felt that their needs were not being met, a captain could be voted down and replaced.

While the presence of major wars may have been what kept piracy afloat, it was in fact the absence of war that helped start major piracy in the Caribbean. After peace had been brokered between the major euro powers, many sailors found themselves out of work and without pay. With so much gold bullion flowing in and out of the Caribbean, piracy was considered as a viable option to sitting around the docks with nothing to do.

Pirates would have started off as any other regular sailor, and as stating before, telling the difference between a pirate and average sailor would have been hard to do. Pirates would have just around the same skill with sailing and weaponry than sailors, if not better, however fear was the best weapon in their arsenal.

First democracies? Which leech and prey on the weak. Don't know where you are coming from, but here in Finland we have different stantards for democracy...

anyway, on topic: most pirates in Finland/sweden have been farmers, fisherman or just mobs of desperate people like in the horn of Afrika nowadays. Ships were very small, and they had to stay away from the traderoutes like towns and cities.

Skill of the crews was abysmall, also the didn't have any training on warfare or ship vs ship fighting. They preyed on the unarmored merchants and evated all combat if possible. life as a sailor or merchant was longer, and the pay was better so skilled pirates were in VERY short supply.

Dont know if there were pirate training centers in the new world, please inform me if they did.

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First democracies? Which leech and prey on the weak. Don't know where you are coming from, but here in Finland we have different stantards for democracy...

anyway, on topic: most pirates in Finland/sweden have been farmers, fisherman or just mobs of desperate people like in the horn of Afrika nowadays. Ships were very small, and they had to stay away from the traderoutes like towns and cities.

Skill of the crews was abysmall, also the didn't have any training on warfare or ship vs ship fighting. They preyed on the unarmored merchants and evated all combat if possible. life as a sailor or merchant was longer, and the pay was better so skilled pirates were in VERY short supply.

Dont know if there were pirate training centers in the new world, please inform me if they did.

You do realize that Finland was an absolute Monarchy during the age of discovery, just like every other European power, yes? And a democracy is not defined by the people that institute it, but how it is carried out: Navies mimicked the Monarchical system: there one one captain who had absolute rule over the rest of the crew and the ship.

Definition of democracy as defined by Merriam-Webstera form of government in which people choose leaders by voting, an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights.

Regardless of how the pirates acted, they still instituted a democratic systems: Pirate captains were voted on, cruses were voted on, any type of major action was voted on. The crew in reality had more power than the Captain.

As for crews, piracy (in the Caribbean) usually exploded after foreign wars (The war of Spanish succession for example) because it left many able bodied navy seamen out of the job (no war means less demand for military might, this is still true in modern times). With the prospect of quick money, many seamen turned to piracy. They were formerly trained as seamen for the navy, so would be comparatively on par when compared side by side.

 

If there would ever be a "pirate training center" then it would be the decks of the ship, or anywhere pirates would practice swashbuckling. There wasn't exactly a Pirate recruitment office. New recruits came from boarding other ships and taking on any that wanted to turn to piracy (lest they meet a quick and dark fate). So Pirates were almost always former sailors who knew how to sail.

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You do realize that Finland was an absolute Monarchy during the age of discovery, just like every other European power, yes? And a democracy is not defined by the people that institute it, but how it is carried out: Navies mimicked the Monarchical system: there one one captain who had absolute rule over the rest of the crew and the ship.

Definition of democracy as defined by Merriam-Webstera form of government in which people choose leaders by voting, an organization or situation in which everyone is treated equally and has equal rights.

Regardless of how the pirates acted, they still instituted a democratic systems: Pirate captains were voted on, cruses were voted on, any type of major action was voted on. The crew in reality had more power than the Captain.

As for crews, piracy (in the Caribbean) usually exploded after foreign wars (The war of Spanish succession for example) because it left many able bodied navy seamen out of the job (no war means less demand for military might, this is still true in modern times). With the prospect of quick money, many seamen turned to piracy. They were formerly trained as seamen for the navy, so would be comparatively on par when compared side by side.

 

If there would ever be a "pirate training center" then it would be the decks of the ship, or anywhere pirates would practice swashbuckling. There wasn't exactly a Pirate recruitment office. New recruits came from boarding other ships and taking on any that wanted to turn to piracy (lest they meet a quick and dark fate). So Pirates were almost always former sailors who knew how to sail.

(I wrote: In Finland we have. Not had. (although the society was moving to a more democratic way))

Presenting pirates as democratic society is an insult to modern democracy. Pirates were not democratic in their actions, or as a society. They were just equalish and participated to decisionmaking only what comes on their own ship and actions, much like some modern gangs, but those gangs are not commonly used as examples for presenters of demoratic values.( Eastern pirates were a bit different at some point, but there hasn't been a lot of talking about asian pirates in here ).

I think that we might have a bit different view about the glory and joys of being a pirate, here they were pityed and loathed. Becoming a pirate was not considered as an favorable choise for an individual, and was usually caused by very desperate economical or social situation.

They were not proud, they were not popular, and they usually couldnt stay in connections with normal society. Which ment no trading, no permanent housing, no family, no future. Atleast not here in the north.

Privateers on the other hand had much better social status, in their home country.

What is a pirate then? Two years ago year Russia captured some greenpeace activists in northsea because they went too close to the oil drilling platforms. The were set on trial as pirates.

Im interested to see how pirates are dealt in NA. Will there be an option to act as a weekend pirate, or is act of piratism severe crime which causes the characters to lose their social status and connections to society? Can you act as a hidden pirate, living a normal live and acting as a pirate under cover? Will it be possible to claim somebody as an pirate, or for nation to call its enemies pirates and acting under the pirate legistation?

IMO Being a pirate should be more difficult in nations/societies which are more organized. it should be very dangerous to bring a large pirate ship to the english channel for example, but relatively safe to travel around the coast of south america with it. This also leads to a (quite realistic) situation where pirates (not privateers, though) won't have access to most of the large ports without great risk of getting caught, and are mostly using makeshift solutions and nonmilitary technology which they collect from the merchant ships they manage to rob.

I think that I wont end up choosing the life of a pirate in NA. Privateer yes, pirate no. Being a pirate closes too many doors on your life and offers very little. Althought the black flag looks cool and hunting small merchants could be exciting.

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Sure they were democratic. Democracy refers to a kind of organization, not to nice friendly people. They elected their leaders, made decisions by referendum and provided for their own members who became disabled. It was an egalitarian, meritocratic system reflective of medieval mariners' customs. And they did this before any democratic state existed, in a permanent state of war and crisis. Democracy is rarely seen as a good organizational tool for warfare and survival.

Pirate democracy is important because no other group of seafarers have managed to operate that way since. In the 19th century the US Supreme Court ruled that seamen had no rights, but a pirate had rights his captain could not violate. Even in our modern civilized age where democracy is the norm, a ship is an authoritarian place.

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 Even in our modern civilized age where democracy is the norm, a ship is an authoritarian place.

 

There is reason for that ! - When the difference between life and death is manner of seconds - there is no place for  debates , the captain has the responsibility for the lives of all people on board and even one person come to harm , that  reflects in the career of the captain (went over board in that moment) , so from the time ancient greeks the captain has absolute power to take decisions , the sailors must obey and they can bring any issue  to the authorities after the voyage is over .

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*Cough* darkage of Christianity*Cough*

*Cough* classical Athens, 6th century BC?

~Brigand

 

"And they did this before any democratic state existed [in the New World]"

 

There is reason for that ! - When the difference between life and death is manner of seconds - there is no place for  debates , the captain has the responsibility for the lives of all people on board and even one person come to harm , that  reflects in the career of the captain (went over board in that moment) , so from the time ancient greeks the captain has absolute power to take decisions , the sailors must obey and they can bring any issue  to the authorities after the voyage is over .

 

This is true, however, I'm not saying that in the midst of battle the crew was like "Ok, lets vote on weather to load ball or chain shot." No, in the heat of battle, the captain did have the say-so. But when not in battle or in immediate danger, the crew decided on most all other things.

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*Cough* classical Athens, 6th century BC?

~Brigand

Yes, everyone remembers Athens, that one lonely exception. I meant at the time no democratic state existed and had not for centuries.

 

And pirate democracy would have been quite incomprehensible to the ancient Athenians, who practiced the democracy of a minority of educated, propertied men. Quite different from the universal suffrage among the very lowest of the low.

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"And they did this before any democratic state existed [in the New World]"

 

 

This is true, however, I'm not saying that in the midst of battle the crew was like "Ok, lets vote on weather to load ball or chain shot." No, in the heat of battle, the captain did have the say-so. But when not in battle or in immediate danger, the crew decided on most all other things.

 

The rule was in force in the moment you step on board to the moment you step away , no battle or we happily sailing under the stars - " No Question" to the orders " if you make exception only in certain situation it become debatable and there is one unspoken rule - "do no let the sailors to have time to debate or you will have mutiny on board" and that happened not ones or twice - modern academies has hours in psychology and the age of sails they didn't has it , it was passed experience from the captain to the junior officers and that was a big problem - not one or two captains become tyrants , so my point is that no matter navy , merchant or pirate ship when you step on board you become under full authority of the captain - if you don't obey you will be punished - no exceptions !!!!

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A state is an organized community living under one government. (source)

 

Last time I checked, pirates did not recognize any for of government? If you submit yourself to a governing body, you can hardly be called a pirate if you ask me.

 

~Brigand

Thats the point. There were 0 large democratic pirate communities, so comparing them to a state is irrelevant.

It would be better to compare their organisation and ways to make decisions to other groups. Groups like knighthoods, monasteries, guilds, robber gangs etc.

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Or, you know, we could compare them to every other large crew of mariners that existed.

 

'Golden Age' pirate ships were democracies; all other ships, even legal and peaceful ones with women and children on board, were brutal autocracies. Pirate ships were egalitarian, with the equivalent of pensions and very small wealth gaps; other ships were frequently places of extreme inequality where the leadership ruled over chattel for which it bore no social responsibility.

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A state is an organized community living under one government. (source)

 

Last time I checked, pirates did not recognize any for of government? If you submit yourself to a governing body, you can hardly be called a pirate if you ask me.

 

~Brigand

 

While not a state so to speak, pirates did have to agree to a code of ethics (the infamous pirate code. There was no one, single code, but a code made by every captain). Upon entry into the crew, all sailors had to sign on agreeing they would follow the rules of the code. Some of the more infamous codes were that of Bart Roberts: crews were not to gamble on board with fellow sailors. All crew were to maintain their weapons for combat. Punishment for failing to do so? Death. So crews agreed to a set of organized rules.

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And yet, Pirates of the Caribbean to the contrary, that code didn't extend to other pirates or their vessels did it?

 

Seriously, from what I've seen so far from the Devs in THIS game:

 

Pirate = Lone PvP ganker that wants to attack anything and everything regardless of their affiliation.  No national ties, no organization, very little alliance with others.

Nation = Group of players with similar views that want to work together to achieve a common goal.  The Nation works within the structure of the game, with regards to declarations of war and controlled conduct amongst nations.

 

I think we're still arguing the semantics of a "Pirate" as it applies to this game.  Historical piracy is irrelevant, what's relevant is how this game treats the "I want to attack anyone, anywhere, anyhow" player versus the player who doesn't want to follow the rules of a computer controlled nation but instead wants to form their own nation with others of like mind and go after designated "enemy" shipping.

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While not a state so to speak, pirates did have to agree to a code of ethics (the infamous pirate code. There was no one, single code, but a code made by every captain). Upon entry into the crew, all sailors had to sign on agreeing they would follow the rules of the code. Some of the more infamous codes were that of Bart Roberts: crews were not to gamble on board with fellow sailors. All crew were to maintain their weapons for combat. Punishment for failing to do so? Death. So crews agreed to a set of organized rules.

 

I think you understand what you posted above is opposite to argumentation you made until that last post . What you posted above are rules solely created by captain and they need to be obeyed , there is nothing anyone to agree with them - obey or you will be punished . There isn't any democracy but just the opposite .

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I think you understand what you posted above is opposite to argumentation you made until that last post . What you posted above are rules solely created by captain and they need to be obeyed , there is nothing anyone to agree with them - obey or you will be punished . There isn't any democracy but just the opposite .

 

Not quite. Think of it as a constitution or set of laws, which most democracies have. Being a democracy doesn't mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want. We have laws to follow. Same with the Pirate Code. If you didn't like the code, you didn't sail with the captain. Also larger text does not make your argument stronger.

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Not quite. Think of it as a constitution or set of laws, which most democracies have. Being a democracy doesn't mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want. We have laws to follow. Same with the Pirate Code. If you didn't like the code, you didn't sail with the captain.

You are confusing some concepts here.

 

A democracy has to do with how decision are taken.

A law is a set of rules which are created through some formal process.

A constitution is a core law (for lack of a better simple description).

 

A 'Pirate Code' or 'code of conduct' can (let's be lenient) be seen somewhat as a law (but not a constitution). A Pirate Code could set rules on what you can or cannot do, it could also rule that every man is allowed to do whatever they please.

 

Being a democracy says nothing about what you can or cannot do, if the majority votes in favour of doing whatever everybody pleases, you have a democratic anarchy :-) Anarchy is a word not uncommonly associated with piracy, so we may be on to something here.

 

~Brigand

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You are confusing some concepts here.

A democracy has to do with how decision are taken.

A law is a set of rules which are created through some formal process.

A constitution is a core law (for lack of a better simple description).

A 'Pirate Code' or 'code of conduct' can (let's be lenient) be seen somewhat as a law (but not a constitution). A Pirate Code could set rules on what you can or cannot do, it could also rule that every man is allowed to do whatever they please.

Being a democracy says nothing about what you can or cannot do, if the majority votes in favour of doing whatever everybody pleases, you have a democratic anarchy :-) Anarchy is a word not uncommonly associated with piracy, so we may be on to something here.

~Brigand

Afaik pirate code, if there ever was one commonly used, shouldn't be compared to a law. Agreements were shipbased and different from each other.

Anarchy is a good word to use when talking about pirates, anarchy also prevented them from forming any kind of permanent agreements which would have helped them to build communities. Or thats atleast what I thought.

I'm not an expert on the subject, and most of my historical knowledge is based on the piracy in scandinavia and in here pirates, who didnt have connections to military or nations (in south seas they were called privateers afaik) never managed to build large fleets, trade effectively or build any longterm connections with other pirates. My view on the caribian, mediterranean and asian pirates is obscured by the romantic and twisted stories from books and hollywood movies and I know only about the most famous pirates.

Atleast in those hollywood movies pirates are portrayed as lonely rangers, wild dogs or boars at best. Like a pack of hounds, running together, but biting each other if they saw an opportunity.

I'm puzzled about these posts, which seem to portray pirates as a community builders with common rules and values trying to build a society which might have formed later a nation with great fleets and democratic values? It's pretty much against everything I thought pirates were about.

I would love to get information about those plans, how pirate captains cooperated or how the societys of pirates worked? How they act as a fleet, build ports, hospitals for wounded pirates who could use their compensation to medicate themselves, banks and shipyards etc. It sounds really interesting.

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Not quite. Think of it as a constitution or set of laws, which most democracies have. Being a democracy doesn't mean we can do whatever we want whenever we want. We have laws to follow. Same with the Pirate Code. If you didn't like the code, you didn't sail with the captain. Also larger text does not make your argument stronger.

 

Once again you trying to bring water from far too many wells - as you pointed by yourself on the ship only law is the captain order - there isn't any democracy in a system were one person taking all the decision - especially on ship for the course , daily rations , the work or the sailors behavior on board - on shore -> who cares .So there is no democracy (once more ) , but if you try to mix same cases for not so voluntary recruitment in some states at that time that is completely different . Please explain me where you see "democratic voting" for what course the ship will take , how much rum will be given daily , who will clean the deck ? No sorry your dream is coming only from the movies and the novels or misinterpretation different quotes without the whole text . 

 
 

You are confusing some concepts here.

 

A democracy has to do with how decision are taken.

A law is a set of rules which are created through some formal process.

A constitution is a core law (for lack of a better simple description).

 

A 'Pirate Code' or 'code of conduct' can (let's be lenient) be seen somewhat as a law (but not a constitution). A Pirate Code could set rules on what you can or cannot do, it could also rule that every man is allowed to do whatever they please.

 

Being a democracy says nothing about what you can or cannot do, if the majority votes in favour of doing whatever everybody pleases, you have a democratic anarchy :-) Anarchy is a word not uncommonly associated with piracy, so we may be on to something here.

 

~Brigand

 

Exactly to the point !!!

The only case were you can debate the piracy is not anarchy is for the Algerian pirates , but its still debatable , from what i read trough the years there is so many myths and cloudy explanation about their way of life nothing is certain , but when comes for the ship rules they follow the same system like all others sailors .

 

P.S. Drake i am not using different size for the text to make my point stronger that is small glitch when you alt+tab between different programs and going back to the browser i am using , but you needed to note that differences in the size is 2pts and you can not change to 16 in the forum - 14 -18 , if someone wants  to make a point will not use 2 points difference .

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Please explain me where you see "democratic voting" for what course the ship will take , how much rum will be given daily , who will clean the deck ? No sorry your dream is coming only from the movies and the novels or misinterpretation different quotes without the whole text .

Pick up any old book on Caribbean piracy around 1720 and you will see that this is precisely what they voted on. The captain's authority was absolute only during battle and chase. At other times all important decisions were taken by referendum. The captain's authority was furthermore decentralized through the existence of other elected officers, such as the quartermaster, who was in charge of the distribution of spoils and rations. Relations between different pirate crews was often somewhat 'familial.' A successful vessel would spawn its own pirate bands, captained by prominent members of the original crew. There is a fantastic graphic I once came across that draws different lines between all the various pirate captains, and you can see that they were interconnected in a web. They all knew each other, and this allowed them to cooperate in a limited fashion, forming flotillas.

 

I'm confused why you are taking such a hard line in this argument when you clearly are completely uninformed on the topic at hand.

 

William the Drake does tend to extrapolate the customs and identities of the Golden Age pirates to apply to piracy in general, which results in some very suspect statements, but the facts are more on his side than yours here.

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Probably i am going a bit hard , but about ship organization and crew management i am very well informed as that is my profession for the past 20 years and easily can say that ship organization didn't changed much in the past 2000 years (funny but  its true on basic ground ) , yes the ration are divided by the quartermaster , but there is something that remain again from the ancient persian and greek time - the captain need to be sure what were is going ( i presume you understand why ) everything need to pass trough the eyes and the hands of the captain ( in our modern times there is daily , weekly and monthly information notes needed to be signed by the captain to be sure that he read them and know what is going on - even the menu for the cook , similar forms was used by the navy and the merchant ships at XVIII and XIX centuries ) , when you backer ask - were are the money for the 6 month voyage you need to show him how is spent . There is so many things are missed and give completely wrong picture , but on ship no matter what you can not have debates other way everything become ( how to express my self better ) disarray . I take that you  have idea how much hard work is need to be done only to keep the sails in acceptable condition and that is not the hardest work on sail ship . The people has the very bad habit to leave their work unfinished and here is come - why you need to copy the structure of organization which is totally based on autocracy?

Once again i apologies if i am a bit sharp , but i don't have huge love toward piracy when some of your friends and colleagues passed true the hell to be held as hostages from pirates in the pass few years and I consider myself lucky to not been in their place in that moment . 

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