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This discussion addresses the following outcomes:
Discuss the conditions that gave rise to the Golden Age of Pirates after 1715 (CO#3).
Examine the origins and motivations of those who became pirates between 1715 and 1726 (CO#4).
Analyze the ways in which Golden Age pirates created a social world contrary to the larger European goal of settling and colonizing the Americas (CO#4).
A painting depicting “life below deck” for sailors. Britannica ImageQuest. Retrieved from: quest.eb.com/search/108_259174/1/108_259174/cite.
Several factors led to the outbreak of the Golden Age of Pirates after 1715. This discussion will focus on the major factors responsible for the outbreak of piracy at the global level and at the individual level, explaining why some people, and not others, chose to go “upon the account” and become pirates. Past conceptions of pirates have overwhelmingly been based on simple greed. However, the pirates of the Golden Age originated from several different groups, including sailors, naval workers, and logwood cutters from Mexico.
Pirates created a social world that, in essence, was a contradiction to the larger world of European colonization efforts in the Americas in these years and actively worked to undermine Atlantic commerce. Although no European nation imagined such a large number of people would emerge to threaten their colonial empires, pirates were able to inflict a serious threat to the entire colonization agenda after 1715.
In preparation for our discussion, be sure to read the Module Notes and Chapters 2 and 3 in Rediker. Based on your readings, consider the following in a post of at least 250 words:
Rediker posits several factors accounted for the outbreak of piracy after 1715. From your reading, what do you think was the most important factor that contributed to this outbreak?
Why did some people choose to become pirates? What were their commonalities and differences in socioeconomic background, occupations, and motivations?
How could “a few thousand ragged outlaws” be so detrimental to the most powerful nations of Europe?