Howard Pyle's illustration of pirate walking the plank, a form of murder or torture that was practiced by pirates and other rogue seafarers. It involved the victim being forced to walk off the end of a wooden plank or beam extended over the side of a ship, thereby falling into the water to drown, sometimes with bound hands or weighed down, often into the vicinity of sharks (which would often follow ships). The earliest use of the phrase dates back to 1769 but it is not known how long the method of making someone walk a plank in order to send them overboard had been practiced.
Howard Pyle's fanciful painting of Captain Kidd and his ship, the Adventure Galley, in a New York City harbor. The Adventure Galley was a three-mast square-rigged ship, which weighed 287 tons, had 34 cannons, and a crew of about 150. When it was badly leaking it was lost in San Maria, a formable pirate base. It was stripped and the rest burned. It still remains in the shallow bay of the island.
Howard Pyle's illustration of pirate buried treasure. Buried treasure is an important part of the popular beliefs surrounding pirates. According to popular conception, pirates often buried their stolen fortunes in remote places, intending to return for them later (often with the use of treasure maps). However, in reality, the only pirate known to have done this was William Kidd, who is believed to have buried at least some of his wealth on Long Island before sailing into New York.
Howard Pyle's illustration of pirate marooning. Marooning is leaving someone behind on purpose in an uninhabited area, such as an uninhabited island. The chief practitioners of marooning were 17th and 18th century pirates, to such a degree that they were frequently referred to as "marooners." The pirate articles of captains Bartholomew Roberts and John Phillips specify marooning as a punishment for cheating one's fellow pirates or other offenses.
Howard Pyle's illustration of pirates looting. Looting, sacking, plundering, despoiling, or pillaging is the indiscriminate taking of goods by force as part of a military or political victory, or during a catastrophe or riot, such as during war, natural disaster, or rioting. The term is also used in a broader (some would argue metaphorical) sense, to describe egregious instances of theft and embezzlement, such as the "plundering" of private or public assets by corrupt or overly greedy corporate executives or government authorities. The proceeds of all these activities can be described as loot, plunder, or pillage.
Dead men tell no tales is the practice of killing pirates after hiding treasure so that they will not tell anyone. It can also be so others will not know about a crime committed.
Howard Pyle's illustration of Pierre Le Grand attacking a Spanish captain in his cabin. He was a Caribbean buccaneer of the 17th century. He is known to history only from one source, Alexandre Exquemelin's Buccaneers of America, and may be imaginary. Pierre le Grand is known only for his attack on a Spanish galleon near the coast of Hispaniola in the 17th century.
A merchant seaman practices with a 12 gauge shotgun to repel pirates. Pirates often operate in regions of developing or struggling countries with smaller navies and large trade routes. Pirates sometimes evade pursuers by sailing into waters controlled by their enemies. With the end of the Cold War, navies have decreased size and patrol, and trade has increased, making organized piracy far easier. Modern pirates are sometimes linked with organized-crime syndicates, but often are parts of small individual groups. Pirate attack crews may consist of 4 to 10 sailors for going after a ship's safe (raiding) or up to 70 (depending entirely on the ships and the ships crew size) if the plan is to seize the whole vessel.
A painting by American artist Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863–1930), titled Capture of the Pirate, Blackbeard, 1718, depicting the battle between Blackbeard and Lieutenant Robert Maynard in Ocracoke Bay on the evening of 21 November. After a furious battle, Blackbeard was killed and his head was cut off, eventually being tied to bowsprit of Maynard's ship, where it hung as proof of the infamous Blackbeard's death. Upon returning to his home port of Hampton, Maynard had Blackbeard's head placed on a stake near the mouth of the Hampton River as a warning to other pirates.
Howard Pyle's illustration of pirates extorting tribute from a captured citizen following the sacking of a city. In 1667, French pirate François l'Olonnais sailed from Tortuga with a fleet of eight ships and a crew of six hundred pirates to sack Maracaibo. En route, l'Olonnais crossed paths with a Spanish treasure ship, which he captured, along with its rich cargo of cacao, gemstones and more than 260,000 pieces of eight. Over the following two months, l'Olonnais and his men raped, pillaged and eventually burned much of Maracaibo before moving south to Gibraltar, on the southern shore of Lake Maracaibo. The damage l'Olonnais inflicted upon Gibraltar was so great that the city, formerly a major center for the exportation of cacao, nearly ceased to exist by 1680.
Captain Avery captures the Great Mogul's grand-daughter, an early twentieth century painting depicting a scene from Henry Every's capture of the Mughal trading vessel Ganj-i-sawai in 1695. Every retired from piracy after successfully evading the world's first worldwide manhunt, and his exploits served as a potent source of inspiration for later pirates. Few imitators were able to replicate Every’s successes, however, and Ganj-i-sawai remains one of the richest prizes ever taken by pirates.
Davy Jones' Locker is an idiom used as a euphemism for drowning ("to be sent to Davy Jones' Locker"). This illustration from the English satirical magazine Punch shows Jones on his locker while viewing a 1789 chart of Ferrol Harbour, Spain, belonging to HMS Howe. The ship had run aground at the mouth of the harbour on 2 November 1892, allegedly after using a poorly prepared naval chart to navigate its waters. In the accompanying caption (not included here), Jones is saying, "Aha! So long as they stick to them old charts, no fear o' my locker bein' empty!!"