Abstract

Trial records pertaining to the pirate captain Thomas Green contain the following statements: "A pirate is in a perpetual war with every individual, and every state, christian or infidel. Pirates properly have no country, but by the nature of their guilt, separate themselves, and renounce on this matter, the benefit of all lawful societies." Pirates had no king, served no master, and did not sail under a universal flag. As a result of these tendencies, maintaining order and solidarity in times of danger proved difficult. During their prime, pirates assumed a predatory status by intimidating merchant vessels. They were ruthless and experienced fighters and generally outnumbered their opponents in strength of men and guns. However, once the British Navy was deployed the tables quickly turned. As the hunter became the hunted, the pirates proved no match for the military might of an empire, and in the end this loose conglomeration of ignoble and murderous men doomed themselves to perish.

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