Sunday, August 9, 2009


The definition of Piracy:
"Maritime piracy, according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) of 1982, consists of any criminal acts of violence, detention, or depredation committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or aircraft that is directed on the high seas against another ship, aircraft, or against persons or property on board a ship or aircraft. Piracy can also be committed against a ship, aircraft, persons, or property in a place outside the jurisdiction of any state."

Being a pirate is likely the most romanticized occupation in history, thanks to literature (R. L. Stevenson's Treasure Island), Walt Disney (again: Treasure Island and Peter Pan), Hollywood (the Pirates of the Caribbean films among many, many others) and toy manufacturers.

In reality it was a hard life, of course, with very little romance and lots of violence and misery. Interestingly, pirates did form some kind of egalitarian society, long before the traditional Western societies of the time put anything like democracy in place. Captains and quartermasters were generally democratically elected by the crew, outcasts (of all colours) were readily accepted in the ranks (eg as many as 40% of the pirate vessels crews were slaves liberated from captured slavers).
These days piracy is -again- a big problem; in the Caribbean, off the coast of poverty struck and un-controlled Somalia, the Chinese Sea...
Have a look here, to find out more on piracy.

No, not many pirates were known for their beret covered heads, but I do like the picture above...

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