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Pirates

Pirates

Piracy (from the Greek peirates - robber, robber) - sea robbery, in international law, illegal seizure, robbery or sinking of commercial and other civil ships, committed on the high seas by private or state ships. Attacking ships, submarines and military aircraft on merchant ships of neutral countries during a war is equated to piracy. In modern international law, the usual norms have developed according to which pirate ships and their crews should not enjoy the protection of any state.

A pirate ship can be pursued on the high seas, and if resisted, it can be sunk by warships of any state. The crew of such a vessel is subject to criminal prosecution and punishment, and the vessel itself is subject to confiscation under the laws of the seizing state. Military vessels of any state, if they have sufficient grounds to suspect that any vessel is engaged in sea robbery, have the right to detain the suspected vessel. The customary rules of international law relating to the fight against piracy are codified in the Geneva Convention on the High Seas, 1958.

Pirates buried their prey on uninhabited islands. Treasure hunters have dug up mountains of earth in search of pirate gold. But nobody managed to get rich thanks to the found treasures, because pirates never buried their prey. They did not trust each other too much to store the stolen goods in a common cauldron, and even in such a place as a desert island. No pirate has ever gone ashore without his share of the spoils.

Earrings, bandanas are the attributes of real pirates. Real pirates never wore earrings (because of which it was possible to get entangled in the gear) and bandanas - they were first "put" on sea robbers in his drawings by the American artist Howard Pyle, who lived at the end of the 19th century and did not see a single living pirate.

The pirates loved to sing the song "Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest." The mention of this legendary song, accompanied by the recognizable "yo-ho-ho", was first encountered by the same Stevenson in "Treasure Island": "Fifteen people for a dead man's chest, Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! Drink, and the devil will bring you to the end. Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! ". Recently, even a more complete version of this song appeared, which, it turns out, is called "Admiral Benbow" and consists of as many as 7 verses. However, this option has nothing to do with Stevenson - this is the work of his readers. Moreover, the lyrics of this song are not found in any collection of sea songs, or in any historical document covering the life of pirates. So this verse is pirated, only in relation to one work - "Treasure Island". Researchers have even discovered the roots of this song. It turns out that it belongs to Young Ellisson, and the verse was called "The Abandoned" and was published in 1891 after the publication of Stevenson's work. In the Russian version of the translator Pozdnyakov, this is not even a translation, but a free presentation. The original, for example, is several times larger. Interestingly, the fact that the poem was released after the appearance of "Treasure Island" may indicate that Allison simply picked up a popular motive and wrote a poem based on it. The very same story, set out in the verse, tells how, on a piece of land with an area of ​​200 m2, so small that it was nicknamed "Dead Man's Chest", the pirates landed 15 of their comrades-in-arms who were caught in a mutiny. Instead of water, they were given rum, which only increases their thirst. But instead of quick death, the pirates lived on the island under the scorching sun for a whole month and were picked up by their brothers and forgiven. A beautiful story, but not entirely true. Firstly, the Island of the Dead Man's Chest does exist and is located just off the island of Tortola, in the Virgin Islands. But its dimensions are much larger - only in length it stretches for more than a kilometer. Secondly, in the biography of the famous corsair Blackbeard, there is a legend about seventeen pirates who were landed on an uninhabited island off the coast of North America, a thousand miles from the Dead Man's Chest. By the way, captain Bonnet saved the hapless pirates a couple of days later. Thus, Stevenson came up with a piece of the song, based on the legend and the beautiful name. And then, thanks to the "researchers", the myth grew with new details.

There was always a parrot on the pirate ships. There were no parrots on pirate ships either: even if it had occurred to some sailor to have this bird for himself, it would have been eaten as soon as there was a shortage of food!

The pirates with a damaged eye covered it with a black bandage. There is no historical evidence for this.

English captain Francis Drake is often called the most famous pirate in history. However, this is not fair. Drake was not a pirate, he was a privateer. The difference between pirates and privateers was that the first were ordinary criminals, that is, they acted at their own peril and risk, robbed any ships and took all the loot for themselves. The latter were in the public service, attacked only enemy ships and gave 10 percent of the booty to the treasury.

All pirates raised a black flag with a skull over the crossbones on their ships ("Jolly Roger"). First of all, we note that the pirates did not have a unified flag: each captain strove to have his own banner. And they were very diverse, both in design and in colors. For example, John Cook carried out attacks under the yellow-red flag. Bartholomew Sharpe held up a red pennant with multi-colored ribbons. Montbar the Destroyer held a black flag with crossed bones and aces of cards, but he considered the best flag of a pirate ship to be the corpse of the skipper of the last robbed sailing ship. Many captains used a black flag, on which a skull and bones were depicted, but none of these pirate flags had the appearance known to us today: there either the skull was drawn in profile, or the bones were located not under, but behind the skull, or the banner itself was triangular. "Jolly Roger" as we know it today was invented by Hollywood designers in the 20th century.

All pirate films show at least one sword fight. But swords appeared only at the end of the first decade of the 17th century, and became widespread even later. The era of piracy had practically ended by this time, and all the famous captains, about whom films are now being filmed, had long been lying in graves or on the ocean floor ... The pirates' real weapon was a boarding saber - with a short wide curved blade and one chopping edge. She was ideally suited to the cramped conditions that existed aboard the ship. By the way, it is much more difficult to wield a sword in such a situation.

Pirate ships participated in artillery duels. Stills of films and texts of adventure novels draw pictures when a pirate ship, in pursuit of its prey, fired at it for a long time with all its guns, and then, as close as possible, takes it on board. Actually this is not true. Firearms are only a few centuries old, but piracy dates back thousands of years. The first primitive artillery, which existed many centuries ago, was rather primitive. The exception is "Greek fire", but there was no point in using it, because it burned enemy ships completely. The first examples of artillery used at sea were also not very effective and did not have a significant impact on the outcome of the battle. The first guns were very capricious, suffered from a lack of accuracy, and their reloading could even take several hours. Therefore, the guns were used only as preparation for boarding. Having approached the victim, the pirate ship fired a volley from a short distance, no one thought about reloading the guns - the team was boarding. It should be noted that it was the use of boarding that was the main tactic of the pirates, since their goal was to capture the ship as intact as possible, with an undamaged cargo. And the regular fleet also adhered to this tactic - who would refuse an entire enemy ship? Only by the beginning of the 17th century, artillery began to be suitable for conducting cannon duels and sea battles in the current sense. Ships equipped with a large number of cannons also appeared. As a matter of fact, this also testified to their low efficiency - they took in quantity, not quality, assuming that out of several tens of cores, someone would hit the target. The pirates used small-caliber artillery, firing at the sails and rigging, as well as making a grapeshot salvo just before boarding. Sometimes, the corsairs used bow cannons, from which they fired at the fleeing victim in the hope of getting into the steering wheel, depriving the ship of maneuverability. And often battles took place without cannon fire at all. Yes, and when describing a pirate ship, the number of people was usually indicated, not weapons. Ships were practically deprived of them, so a modern person may not understand how you can pirate with 3-4 guns on board. By the way, the lack of heavy guns only added maneuverability and speed to the corsairs. So naval artillery actually played only an auxiliary role for the pirates, the pirates preferred to use first ramming and later boarding.

Women on board bring bad luck. In fact, pirates often took them with them as prostitutes and mistresses. Even female pirates are known. In one of the naval archives, information was found about a former prostitute who two centuries ago was able to lead an entire pirate flotilla.

Pirates often swore with the phrase "Thunder me". In fact, the original English expression is "Shiver my timbers". Until the end of the 19th century, this phrase was not met or mentioned anywhere. And it means a strong surprise or an expression of distrust. It is believed that sailors could swear like that when a ship hit an underwater reef, as a result of which the ship began to vibrate ("shiver"). In literature, the phrase was first encountered in the novel "Treasure Island" by Stevenson, and later the colorful curse was carried over to other novels and films. But there is no evidence of the use of this phrase by real pirates.

There was a pirate Coastal Brotherhood. Many films and books mention a centralized pirate organization. As if, thanks to the Brotherhood, the corsairs could accumulate their forces, organize large armies. The Brotherhood had its own laws based on the pirates' own view of honor. However, no pirate organization has ever existed in the Caribbean, there is no evidence of this. Where did this myth come from? For the first time, the French historian Charlevoix mentioned the coastal brothers: "the pirates fraudulently cheated the coastal brothers - colonists who were not engaged in robbery and who joined us only in this raid." From the text it is clear that the settlers are the coastal brothers of the pirates, since they themselves came out of their midst at one time. At the beginning of the 19th century, the works of Charlevoix were misinterpreted, and so the myth of the legendary freedom-loving Coastal Brotherhood, which in fact did not exist, began to circulate.

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