Under Jolly Roger This is about early American piracy.

Essay by chipie_ambrosiaUniversity, Bachelor'sA, December 2002

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Under Jolly Roger

This term I would like to write my essay on the subject: American piracy. In my opinion pirates played an imporatant role in the early American settlers life. They made discoveries of distant lands, were freedom fighters and sometimes even poets or gentlemen.

For most people the word pirate simply means one who robs or plunders on the sea. Now piracy is only a term for sea-robbery, piracy being a robbery committed within the jurisdiction of the Admiralty. But there are several words to differenciate between pirate and pirate. They were called otherwise in Britain, in Spain and in the Caribbians.

"We are the men, the curse of the sea!"

The term privateer could apply to an armed vessel, its captain or its crew. The main difference between a privateer and a pirate was that a privateer was authorized by a commission or a letter of marque from the government to capture the merchant vessels of a hostile nation.

A letter of marque was recognized by international law and, in theory, a privateer could not be charged with piracy. Many nations made use of privateers in times of war as a cheap way of attacking enemy shipping (saving the cost of building and maintaining a navy). In exchange for providing the privateer with a safe haven and license to attack, the issuer shared in the profits. Sometimes, privateers turned to piracy during times of peace. While Henry III of England was the first to employ privateers, they fought in European and North American wars into the 19th century. Since the United States Navy owned few ships, privateers played a key role in the War of 1812. Privateers came into their own curing the American Revolution (1775 - 83) when hundreds boosted the small American Navy and attacked...