Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Impact of Pirates and of Piracy on the Spanish Empire Essay

The Impact of Pirates and of Piracy on the Spanish Empire When the word pirate is mentioned, many people think of ship carrying men across the seas as they pillage other ships. While this is true to some extent there was much more to the lives of the men that were known as pirates. Pirates were mostly men from French, English or Dutch heritage, and were privateers or merchants. Many of these men were sanctioned by their government. By the Spanish they were call piratas or unsanctioned sea-raiders, and would have a heavy influence of trade in the Caribbean and on the Spanish Empire. The first pirates were known as corsairs and appeared at the end of the 15th and into the beginning of the 16th century. It was at this time between 1530-60 when Spain began to transport the newly discovered riches in the New World. Large amounts of gold, sugar, tabacco and pearls were being sent back to Spain. In 1523 a French Corsair by the name of Jean Florin over took several weakly protected Spanish ships and captured a cargo that held 62,000 ducats in gold, 600 marks of pearls and several tons of sugar. This brought pirates into the Caribbean (Lane 16). Spain was forced to protect the cargo ships that transported the riches that they were obtaining in the New World and the cost was very great. Trade ships were required to travel in convoys and be armed. Also a Spanish fleet was formed that traveled the seas twice a year, patrolling the trade routes for pirates. There was great hesitation to form a navy that would patrol the Caribbean seas because of costs, but much would be lost because of this hesitation. Not only were merchant ships being pick off and there cargo taken, unprotected Caribbean towns were being raided and the colonists gains... ...story were used mainly for the raiding and capturing of Spanish colonies. These events would take place until the early 1670’s when governments attempted to phase out pirates. Laws were made in an attempt to make pirates give up the profession voluntarily (Lane 126). For the most part this worked, but there are many cases of raids and such after. The effect that piracy held on trade and the Spanish Empire was over after the sufficient damage that it caused. Damage that was highly influential in shaping the Caribbean and the Empires of Europe into what they are. Works Cited Kelsey, Harry. Sir Francis Drake The Queen’s Pirate. Yale University Press: New Haven. 1998. Lane, Kris E. Pillaging the Empire Piracy in the Americas. M.E. Sharpe: New York. 1998. Williams, Neville. The Sea Dogs Privateers, Plunders and Piracy in the Elizabethan Age. Macmillian: New York. 1975.

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