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The discovery of America quickly made Spain the richest nation of Europe, so it was directly or indirectly attacked by all other nations in order to appropriate their wealth. The first to enter the Caribbean Sea after the discovery by the Spaniards were the French, after that the English, Dutch and even the Nordic countries. Tthe main buccaneers of the 16th century were french, later on pirates, corsairs and filibusters until the 18th century.

The english were also throughout the Caribbean Sea practicing the same activities, with its main colony in Jamaica that for a long time was the most important port of pirates and smugglers. The Dutch colonized the islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Bonaire in the south of the Caribbean Sea, from there they raided the Spanish fleet and ports numerous times, robbed in the salt marshes of Araya and smuggled.

In the Caribbean Sea, piracy is closely associated with smuggling, which is because both belong to organized crime and slaves trafic, all these activities were established even before the end of the conquest. It all began with the looting of the treasures of the aboriginal cultures of America and later through trade with Europe.

 

 

The Spaniards tried to maintain the monopoly of America with a strong control of all commerce, which had as its only destination the port of Cadiz in Spain. It`s sed that it was the Spanish monopoly over the territories of America that led to piracy and organized smuggling of the other European nations that were also present in the Caribbean Sea. Not only to obtain great benefits from legal commerce but also from the criminal activities, including piracy and smuggling. To a large extent, the eternal hatreds and wars among Europeans justified piracy and all its ramifications in the Caribbean Sea, everything for doing damage to Spain and in the process they obtain pingues gains with it.

The Caribbean Sea was also the scene of the continuous wars between Spain, France, England, Holland and Portugal, all against the first, something that justified the invasion of Spanish possessions. This is how those nations in the Caribbean Sea established their territories, taking the uninhabited islands or expelling the settlers who occupied them. In this scenario the pirates and privateers were the mercenaries of the time.

Portobello
Cartagena de Indias

Bombing of the forts of Puerto Bello by the fleet of British Admiral Vernon, November 22, 1739. Work by Samuel Scott. At the bottom and right of the bay you can see the city of Portobelo, while in the first place the English ships bombard the Todofierro castle at the entrance of the bay.

Battle of Cartagena de Indias, del March 13 to 20 of May, 1741. and

Some historians divide piracy in the Caribbean Sea into three periods:

  1520 Buccaneers and Filibusters
  1650 Beginning of the Boom of Piracy
  1701 to 1720 Spanish Succession War
  1713-1715 End of piracy in the Caribbean Sea with the signing of the Treaty of Utrecht and ceasing of the Spain monopoly in America

 

The purpose of the Pirate Code, also known as Charte Partie, was to establish a code of conduct with rules and punishments to maintain coexistence between buccaneers, pirates, corsairs and filibusters of the new Pirate Republic. Each man who wanted to belong to the republic signed a document where he promised to comply with the rules, a similar document was also signed by each sailor who embarked on a campaign. This document had the date, name of the ship, the distribution of the loot, compensation for the injured, the oath to obey the superiors and other things. Also included in this act is the crime of hiding looted loot, spoil of partners, traps in the game and the murder of partners . With the change of pirates to corsican by the patents granted in the Pirate Republic they almost managed to dominate the Caribbean Sea for a while.

For the extermination of piracy in the Caribbean, the reforms carried out in the Spanish governorates and the persecution, capture and execution of all pirates, mainly of the founders of the Pirate Republic between the years 1720 and 1726, were important.

 

It is possible that some consider that pirate behavior is inevitable with the conditions in which the society of America was during the period from the conquest to independence, when the theft and murder of entire populations was the news of the day. What should not be forgotten is that pirates do not care about any society other than their own. In the Caribbean Sea there is still piracy, although renewed by a modernity, which intends from a small scale it is to the international scale to create a pseudo-pirate empire with economic resources of organized crime and the support of the most dispossessed, just like 400 years ago.

 

Pirates

“Webster's dictionary defines the pirate as a sea thief, a man who takes over the violence of another's property at sea, especially one whose profession is to navigate in order to steal and loot; a seaman, and also the one who steals in the ports ” incomplete definition according to some.

Piracy has been around practically since man learned to sail. Because it is a criminal activity that requires the participation of at least one group of men, according to today's criminal corporations it can be classified as Organized Crime.

Currently, this type of organization not only acts at the national level but also does it internationally, being able to reach unsuspected levels with drug trafficking, smuggling of people and goods, money laundering, terrorism, hacking, etc. Where you can even include the kidnapping of a country by bands of terrorists and drug traffickers who hide behind the image of Democratic politicians establish themselves with a power project and then become dictators with communist populist policies to give an image of international legality.

In the Caribbean Sea, regardless of the denomination given to these criminals, all of them were governed by the same rules of the Pirate Code. It didn't matter if there was a war involved, or if they were buccaneers and became corsairs, filibusters or pirates. Nor did it matter to the power they served, whether they were recognized or not or if they depended on others or not. The characteristic of these men was greed for possessions, theft of others, bloodthirsty by nature and free by choice.

In the Caribbean Sea during the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries the definition of pirate had its variants depending on the interests for which they worked, always supported by their employers who intended to justify them and even absorb them from their crimes in order to work for them so that they will cause the greatest possible damage to their enemies.

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