Jeremy taught elementary school for 18 years in in the United States and in Switzerland. He has a Masters in Education from Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. He's taught grades 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8. His strength is in educational content writing and technology in the classroom
A Brief History of Pirates
Pirates have been around ever since people began to travel and trade goods across the seas. There are accounts of pirates going all the way back to ancient Greek and Roman times. In fact, it's believed that the famous Roman Julius Caesar was actually kidnapped and held for ransom by pirates. Ransom is money demanded for the return of someone or something that has been kidnapped or stolen.
The heyday of pirates, though, was during the exploration of the New World and the Caribbean. As ships from England and Spain sailed around trading gold, silver and gems, pirates became vicious in their attacks.
By the late 1700s, pirating started to decline. More and more pirates began losing battles to stronger ships and more heavily armed crews. Soon, the pirate flag flew no more and the seas became safer.
There are still pirates today, but they use small boats and powerful guns to board cargo ships. They usually capture the ship and hold the crew and captain for ransom.
How Pirates Plundered
Imagine you're on watch in the crow's nest of a Spanish galleon, a huge, multi-level sailing ship. Your job is to watch the seas for trouble. Suddenly, you see a ship closing in fast, flying a flag that looks like your own. You breathe a sigh of relief. It's a friendly ship. But you're wrong. Once the ship gets close enough to strike, they fly the Jolly Roger and begin to attack! Pirates often flew the Jolly Roger, which is the famous black flag with the white skull and crossbones.
Once they were close enough, they would begin firing their cannons, and sometimes they would get close enough to swing across on ropes. When this happened, a fierce battle could take place right on the deck of the ship. Most ships that were attacked had weapons, too, so they would fire guns and cannons at the attacking pirate ship. Pirates didn't always win the battle and, as time went on, more ships became heavily armored to protect themselves.
If the pirates were able to take over a ship, they would steal all the treasure and burn the ship on the water. Sometimes, they would make the captain and crew walk the plank, forcing them to walk off a piece of wood into the ocean to their deaths.
Once they had their hands on the treasure, they would often spend, sell or hide it. When pirates hid treasure, they would usually bury it on a small island somewhere and make a map. That's where the famous idea of a treasure map came from.
While there were many famous pirates, few could rival the fear that Blackbeard put in the hearts of sailors. Blackbeard captured a boat called the Queen Anne's Revenge and used it to plunder the coast of the United States and the Caribbean for years. It was said that he tied cannon fuse in his beard and lit it on fire when he attacked, making it look like his beard was smoking.
Captain Kidd became a famous pirate after he was paid by King William to hunt pirates. The pressure from his crew and his own greed turned him pirate in 1695. He was later captured and hanged.
Pirates are people who attack and rob ships at sea and have been around ever since people sailed the seas. They would attack ships by surprise and either steal the treasure or hold the ship and crew for ransom. Blackbeard and Captain Kidd were famous pirates who made a living robbing ships.
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