How Hazardous Was the Life of an English Pirate at the Beginning of 1700s?
Life of a pirate of the golden age of piracy (1690-1730), as it described in pop-culture, seems to be serene and full of breathtaking adventures and battles. However, as always, picture we are used to could be very different in real life. So what are the most common difficulties and dangers of an ordinary pirate? Let us see.
The most frightful thing in the life of the pirate in my opinion is the fact that this “profession” is related to the constant risk of death in battle. Here I consider mentioning the story of the famous Blackbeard – Edward Teach. He is known to be one of the most dangerous pirate captains of the golden age, but this fact have not saved him from his sad end in 1718. He died in battle with lieutenant Maynard which decapitated him and suspended his head on the bowsprit of the ship. If such famous pirate leader were killed in so brutal way what could happen to ordinary pirates? In battles with trained and most powerful fleet of those times died thousands of them. Moreover, what if you weren’t killed in battle and were caught by the authorities? Whew will think a man from 21st century, better to be prisoned than to be dead. Back in that time mostly every captioned pirate was publically hanged. In addition, even when you weren’t captured or killed you were not secure. Every wound that is now not serious in 1700th could lead to death due to anti-sanitary on the ship, absence of the antibiotics and the fact that commonly all medical work on the ship were performed by cook. Even a common life on the ship were full of dangers. Pirates, as I mentioned, were not welcomed on land so they spent most of their life in the sea. Bad food supplies on the pirate ships often led to various diseases the most common of which were scurvy, the deficiency of vitamin C. Scurvy could cause muscle pain, hair and teeth loss and in severe cases even death which were not rare on the pirate vessels.
These are the most common dangers, which a pirate from 18th century could experience. Therefore, life of a pirate wasn’t even nearly so idyllic as it is in our opinion and was accompanied by permanent risk for life.