A blog full of randomness; about anything and everything.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Pirates (of the Caribbean)

So after much research I think I may have come up with a working title for my dissertation :D Which means I have had to discard half of what I was researching! As my 'special subject' is trade in the early modern period I have to somehow answer something to do with trade and piracy - so I first decided to focus on how piracy impacted upon trade and how it was dealt with by those in power. So then I had to decide on place and a time period and other associating factors.

After having a search for what was out there in the way of books, journals and primary sources I decided foucusing on Colonial America and the Caribbean was probably the best idea. So then I had to pick what time period. Two major time periods stood out as the most interesting to me - The Buccaneers of the late 16th and early 17th century. Mostly privateers for the governments of the warring powers in the Americas (Britain, Spain, France and Holland) and the pirates that made Tortuga and Port Royal famous. Secondly there was what is commonly termed as the 'Golden Age' of Piracy (a term thought to have been used for the first time by Raffeal Sabatini author of Captain Blood etc). This is said to stretch between approximatley 1700 and 1730 and was a period of increased pirate activity in the Americas and West Africa. It is also the time of Pirates such as Blackbeard, Jack Rackham, Charles Vane and Anne Bonny. The increase in Pirates can be seen as a product of the governments. Wars had stopped and letters of Marque removed leaving many privateers without a legitimate job. Many turned to piracy. After lots of research I bhave decided to focus on the 'Golden Age' as it seems to have a lot more association with trade whereas the Buccaneers are more strongly linked with war.

Now i have to try and decide whether to focus on one country - say Britain - and their approach to dealing with Piracy as focusing on all four of the main powers may be too broad. If I was to focus on one country, I would pick Britain becuase I already know a lot about how they dealt with piracy - the installment of a British Governor, Woodes Rogers, in the Pirate Haven New Providence, King George's 1718 proclomation which pardoned any pirates who surrendoured themselves to the British and the tactics used to capture many of the famous pirates such as Charles Vane and the resulting mass executions.

I would also like to try and fit in something about the perceptions of the general public and how this effected how piracy was dealt with. Many people had and still ahve a romantic (Jonny Depp style) image of Piracy that just wasn't that accurate!

Other than having my head stuck in a book I have finally got round to doing some more sewing! First time I've felt up to it in days :) I've finished two mini plushies - a cat and a dove and am going to embark on making another dove and a sock monkey head next!


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