Pirates

Nothing stirs the curiosity quite like stories of swashbuckling pirates and their tales of plunder. From fiction's Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Hook to the infamous true-life tales of Blackbeard and Captain Henry Morgan, we explore the gripping world of pirates and their part in history.

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Though pirates have existed since ancient times, the Golden Age of piracy was in the 17th and early 18th centuries.  During this time more than 5000 pirates were said to be at sea. 

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Justice, like life, was short, brutal and spectacular for pirates.

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For over 300 years, we have thrilled to the antics of fictional and fictionalised pirates from Long John Silver to Jack Sparrow.

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Dare you encounter Blackbeard, Ned Low, Captain Henry Morgan, Anne Bonny and Mary Read?

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Who became a pirate and what was life like for them? Step into the world of pirates in the classic age of piracy.

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While Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean films are entirely fictional, there is no doubting that the Caribbean was the centre of piracy in the ‘Golden Age of Piracy’.

A letter of marque was a commission authorising privately owned ships (known as privateers) to capture enemy merchant ships.

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Severndroog Castle is a Grade II-listed gothic building in Shooter's Hill, near Greenwich, and a monument to naval hero Sir William James (1720–73).

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Designers from Vivienne Westwood to Galliano and Chanel have all created collections inspired by naval wear and maritime culture. 

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Grace O’Malley (a. 1530 - 1603) is one of the most famous pirates of all time. From the age of eleven, she forged a career in seafaring and piracy and was considered a fierce leader at sea and a shrewd politician on land. She successfully defended the independence of her territories at a time when much of Ireland fell under the English rule and is still considered today ‘the pirate queen of Ireland.’

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