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The End of the Pirates of the Caribbean

The End of the Pirates of the Caribbean

by Cherie Pugh

Cherie Pugh discovered the true story of the Nassau pirates when sailing through the Caribbean on a traditional wooden ship. She found the court records of their trials in London, and spent years researching and writing her pirate novel Mary Read – Sailor, Soldier, Pirate”.

The ultimate pirate yarn is now available as an ebook or paperback from

At its height, the Brethren of the Sea was a loose organisation of thousands of pirates, in companies of hundreds of men, in large fleets of ships. And the corrupt governors of the New World colonies were only too happy to trade with the pirates, instead of buying expensive goods imported from Europe.

[For more information on the pirate life, see my article

The Real Pirates of the Caribbean”]

Then English King George lost patience with his Navy’s inability to catch the pirates, mostly because the commanders were too busy making their fortunes by convoying merchantmen for up to a quarter of the cargo. The King offered a Pardon, which halved the pirate numbers, most of them happy to return home from a long exile in fear of the noose. He began the radical step of paying high-ranking government employees a salary large enough to save them from the necessity of making money from corruption – up until then common practice. He also increased the powers of the Governors to hang whole crews of pirates, instead of just captains and quartermasters. This was justified by a vicious smear campaign that insisted that the pirates were all like Blackbeard- bloodthirsty psychopaths, half-mad from the pox. In fact, Blackbeard and his crew were based on Saint Thomas, and then the American mainland, and were not welcome in Nassau.

[For more information on Nassau, see my article

Nassau – Pirate Haven in the Caribbean]

John Haman designed and built the pirate ships at Harbour Island in the Bahamas, and he based his designs on the sloops of the Malacca pirates, ‘fast to attack, faster to run’, which were themselves based on the Arab dhow. Shallow draughted and agile, the pirate sloops were much more suited to sailing the treacherous reefs and shallows of the Caribbean. Their fleets of small, quick sloops and schooners, all with the new bird-wing sails and longer prows, glided across the water under the lightest of breezes. Despite, or because of, their smaller size, they easily outran, out-sailed and out-fought the clumsy, square-rigged, massive Navy ships. The Dutch had provided an effective defense against Spanish invasion using small, lightly-armed fishing boats against huge Spanish galleons, and these lessons were not lost on the pirates. Thousands of them flourished in the Caribbean by 1715, in companies of hundreds of men, in fleets of fast ships.

King George also sent Captain Woodes Rogers to take Nassau back from the pirates. During Queen Anne’s War, Rogers had captured enough Spanish gold to finance England’s entire campaign against French domination. When he sailed his fleet into Nassau, Captain Vane met him with fireships, and forced him out again. Yet that night, Vane’s supporters melted away from him. Given their love of freedom, and Vane’s reputation for arrogance, they chose to live as Englishmen, in an English colony, with a Governor, rather than as the subjects of a pirate King. When the Governor sailed in again the next morning, Vane only stayed long enough to fire a volley at him, and then fled through the impossibly narrow eastern channel. Anne Bonny, masquerading as a man, sailed with him.

[For more information on pirate women, see my article

Mary Read and Anne Bonny – Pirate Women of the Caribbean”]

Governor Woodes Rogers was an ambitious Puritan, with little time for women, and none for the Brethren. He didn’t understand the pirates’ readiness to surrender, and was sure they would mutiny against him. Rogers had brought colonists from Europe, but the rains brought fever, and he buried most of them within weeks. The Brethren would not farm, and when he insisted that they slave to erect forts against an expected Spanish attack, many returned to the sea. When the Spaniards finally attacked, the remaining Brethren easily beat them off, but Rogers still distrusted them.

With absolutely no support from his government, Rogers was soon deeply in debt, and forced, with ruined health and reputation, to return to England to beg for help, where his creditors had him arrested for debt. He returned to Nassau eventually, and with the rovers gone, finally succeeded in governing Nassau.

When the Naval commanders based in the colonies appealed to the local Governors for money to equip small fleets of sloops, they were finally able to challenge the pirates. When Rogers sailed into Nassau, he had sloops with him, though they did not dare follow Vane through the narrow eastern channel out of Nassau harbour. Yet Blackbeard and Stede Bonnet were both captured by naval sloops that trapped them in the shallow mudflats of rivers on the American Main, and blasted them to pieces. Bonnet’s crew was hung en masse, before they could die of their wounds. Jack Rackam was also finally captured by a Jamaican Navy sloop, though the wild women in his crew almost fought off their attackers single handed.

The Caribbean pirates committed a great deal of theft, and very little murder, and were hunted down and exterminated by a government that had abandoned them to crime in the first place. That the English government justified this slaughter by smearing their reputations for centuries is an injustice that must now be remedied. The truth is, the Caribbean pirates were brilliant sailors, made desperate by their own rulers. They united under ethical government, and lived consistently by fair rules, which is more than can be said for their government that trained them until they were among the best sailors in the world. The British government, in its contempt for the sailors that made it a great nation, created the pirates of the Caribbean. When they brought world trade to a halt, the pirates were then destroyed by the British government, with exactly the same contempt.

The ultimate pirate yarn is now available as an ebook or paperback from

Cherie Pugh


  1. jessica r

    Pirates caribbean??I just saw pirates. I thought they would do more with Jack’s father since they were making such a big deal that he would be played by Keith Richards. does anyone know why he wasnt in the movie so much?

  2. Cuz nobody really cares about him so much? Or maybe because the writers didn’t really know how to associate him in the movie more.References :

  3. nashvillekat

    well considering Jack Sparrow’s character was created from Keith Richards….I guess they thought it would be cool for him to make an appearance as Jack’s dad……I thought it was cool, even though he was only on there for a couple of minutes.References :

  4. stephr1107

    Keith Richards only was on set for 3 days (due to scheduling and his accident involving a coconut tree). The appearance by Keith Richards as Teague Sparrow was just supposed to be a cameo of sorts.References :

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