The age of Buccaneers
The war between Spain and England in the 17th century has been one of the factors that started the age of naval robbers. They are the pirates, the buccaneers, and the privateers. Pirates, from the Latin word pirata which means finding luck at sea, are people who were known to rob ships at sea (Wikipedia.org, 2008a). They are sea robbers who prey mostly on merchant ships, and are not related or commissioned by a sovereign state. Buccaneers are similar to pirates, and often attacked Spanish, French, and Dutch shipping (Knight 1990, p.98). They are found mostly in the Caribbean Island, during the end of the seventeenth century. They were previously traders with other ships, but as time passed, they were associated with attacks and acts of robbery (Knight 1990, 97). Buccaneers have larger crews as compared to the common pirate, and they were known to attack even the coastal areas, robbing the people living there. A privateer on the other hand is somewhat like a pirate or a buccaneer, but they are authorized by the government of a certain country to attack the ships of other nations (Wikipedia.org, 2008b). This most common at wartime, wherein privateers are entitled to attack and rob enemy ships.
Admiral Sir Henry Morgan was a famous privateer who operated mostly in the Caribbean. He became rich in the field of piracy and privateering that he was able to purchase lands in Jamaica (Knight 1990, p.100). He has ransacked and destroyed a lot of ships and has killed many, gaining the reputation as one of the most dangerous pirates. For Morgan, the Buccaneers are like brothers at sea, only that they are not attached to any government (Knight 1990, p.97). Jean Baptiste Labat on the other hand accepted the fact that Buccaneers were of use to the government especially at times of war. It was the government who allowed them to rob enemy ships, and at times of peace, fishing was always an alternative (Knight 1990, p. 99). However, not all were happy about buccaneering during these times. Alexander Exquemelin was one of them, as he gave negative accounts of what a buccaneer is, and how they were nothing more than a pirate who does not recognize any laws (Knight 1990, p.103). Henry Morgan reacted to these statements, as he lived most of his life as a privateer, in essence a buccaneer.
Knight, F. W. (1990). The Caribbean – The Genesis of a Fragmented Nationalism (Second Edition ed.): Oxford University Press.
Wikipedia.org. (2008a). Piracy. Retrieved October 5, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pirate
Wikipedia.org. (2008b). Privateer. Retrieved October 5, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privateer