“Nugget of Knowledge” #3 – The “Golden” Age

blog_map_hispanola_thumb“The Golden Age of Piracy” is a period of piracy that lasted from roughly 1680 through 1730 and was centered in the Caribbean. In the previous entry, we talked of the island of Dry Tortuga being the early pirate center of the era. By 1680, Dry Tortuga began to wane as a focal point for piracy.  At the beginning of the 1700’s, the city of Nassau on New Providence had become largely deserted. It had a favorable bay, and like Tortuga, had ready access to shipping lanes. Pirates adopted it and began to frequent the new pirate haven.

By 1714, Nassau had become the focal point for piracy in the area, with as many as 500 pirates, privateers, and other brigands operating from this this busy commercial center. So prevalent was the piracy, that Woodes Rogers was appointed the British governor and arrived in August of 1718 with orders to clean up the problem. Many of the pirates with advance warning of the governor’s arrival had already fled, many others took amnesty and became more or less legitimate citizens of Nassau. Those pirates that resisted, were rounded up and became part of a mass public hanging. This era of piracy and arrival of Woodes Rogers is loosely depicted in “Pirates of the Caribbean, The Curse of the Black Pearl”. The real Woodes Rogers had New Providence cleared of pirates in less than a year, so the “Golden Age” in reality was at its height from 1714 to 1718,  a mere four years.