Continuing my posts about the topics covered in my biography of Captain Thomas Bowrey that deserve a wider airing, today I am writing about piracy – something which touched Bowrey’s life and business for most of his life.
My necessary research into the subject disclosed just how easy it was for ordinary men – there were a few women pirates but it was overwhelmingly a male occupation – to fall into piracy. There were more than mariners on every early modern ship simply because most ships needed to be self-sufficient communities. If you were unable to find work on land, there was always a ship looking for tradesmen. In times of war, there was always the press-gang. Once you took to the sea, there was a risk of becoming a pirate. It was less a matter of how honest and law abiding you were than “circumstances”.
What sort of life would you have led as a pirate? Would you make your fortune? Could you ever return home again? These are questions I will answer in one a series of the talks I am proposing. If you are looking for speakers (in the UK), please contact me.