Pirates history and Malvinas claim . Good morning.
Piracy , the act of seizing a ship or its cargo from its lawful owners or their agents , has been endemic to maritime nations ever since man first set upon the high seas . By the time Elizabeth Tudor has ascended the throne in 1958 , English piracy has entered into a Golden age , as freebooters roamed its coastal waters virtually unchallenged . With fat prizes particularly Spanish treasures ships to be found further out to sea , the plundering spread into the waters of the Atlantic and finally to the Caribbean , the well-spring of Spain`s ever increasing wealth . But as the violent , frequently profitable Enterprise of piracy escalated into a state of near anarchy , English commerce began to suffer heavy losses in the waters closer to home .
The Crown made sporadic attemps to bring piracy under control but the results were frequently less tan desirable . In an effort to deal with the disruption of English shipping by pirates without causing undo expense to itself , the Crown offered commissions to merchants and port towns having the most urgent need to make sea-lanes safe for their own comercial enterprises . The merchants concerned received no payment from the Crown and were required to outfit their own ships at their own expense . However , the terms of the commission allowed the recipients to attack and seize pirate ships and cargo in order to recoup their personal losses . Far from alleviating the piracy problems this system simply added to the chaos when commissioned merchants were not too scrupulous as to how or from whom they recouped their losses .
The Calendar of State Papers from the reign of Elizabeth contain many hundreds of complaints of piracy , petitions for compensation and requests for the convening of courts of inquirí directed to the Crown and local authorities . But unless a specific act of piracy outraged an influential English merchant or caused diplomatic embarrassment , punishment was neither consistent nor severe . In 1573 , for example , a ship bearing the Earl of Wocester , the Quee`s emissary to the court of France , was seized by pirates in the Straits of Dover . The Queen`s Christening gift to the infant daughter of Charles the IX , a gold salver , was somehow saved but a dozen of the Earl`s retainers were killed and property valued at L 500 , an enourmous sum in those days , was taken . In this case , the Queen herself was the outraged party and hundreds of known pirates subsequently were rounded up and jailed . But after the dust had settled most of them were set free and only three suffered the penalty for piracy and were hanged . Despite this ( ....) episode , the Crown`s stance remained typically "Elizabethan" , wich is to say , contradictory . In an aged wich vacilated between enlighmment and gross inhumanity , the Crown while deploring piracy ( .....) was perfectly willing to turn a blind eye to the pilling when it was in its ( ....) best interest to do so . Thus considered to be rogues and criminals when they interrupted their own country`s shipping , English pirates were magically transformed into patriot-heros when their plundering was directed against the enemies of the Crown . The Qeen herself was known to have loaned ships and taken her share of the loot from marauding expeditions aimed at Spanish or French shipping . Inevitably , the situation deterirated into a quagmire of of conflicts of interest and lawlessness . Pirates were frequently under the patronage and protection of influential men , government officials who were themselves involved in the ilegal but profitable ventures as underwriters . A veritable catalog of piratical crimes may be found documented in the calendar of State Papers , Acts of the Privy Council and High Court of Admiralty records for the reign of Elizabeth I - Captured pirates being released by town mayors , brokers negotiating deals between ship owners and pirates for the return of godos seized by the latter , respectable merchants involved in the discret "fencing" of pirate loot . In the year 1578 alone , persons fined for "trafficking with pyrats " included the mayor of Dartmouth , the Lietenan and Deputy Customs Searcher of Porsmouth , the Deputy Vice Admiral of Bristol , the High Sheriff of Glamorganshire , William Winter , a relative of the Surveyor of the Navy and William Hawkings , brother of the Treasurer of the Navy . To say simply that English piracy flourished during the last half of the 16th century is a gross understatement of the situation . It had , in fact , achieved the status of a recognized profession . Social mobility in Elizabethan England was such that many Young men who forged careers and amassed modest fortunes as members of the marauding brotherhood of pirates , rose meteorically in the service of their Queen and Country . The career of that notable Elizabethan and intrepid Yorkshireman , Matin Frobisher , is ilustrative . Arrested many times in the 1560s for piracy , Frobisher was subsequently hired by the Queen`s most trusted councilor , William Cecil , as a ship`s captain on Crown business . By the mid 1570s. Frobisther had become convinced of the existence of a Northwest Passsage to the Orient and mounted expeditions to go in search of it . But his reputation as pirate was so well known that potential merchants underwiters were reluctant to commit ships and money to the now "reformed" Frobisher . It was only after Frobisther the explorer returned to England with an eskimo and ore , mistakenly identified as gold , that substantial and whole support was secured for two more such voyages . Though Frobisher was not successful in finding the ilusive passage to the Orient and the ore in question turned out to be worthless , he rose in fame , fortune and service to the Crown . The year 1588 saw the sometime pirate in command of one of the four English Squadrons in the campaign against the Spanish Armada . When Sir Frances Drake couldn`t resist taking a ship for spoil during the middle of the engagement , Frobisther flew into a rage and left the following utterances to history : "................ she (the spanish galleon) had spent her masts , then like a coward he (drake) kept by her all night because he would all the spoil . He thinketh to cozen us of our chares of 15 Thousand ducats but we will have our shares or I will make him spend the best blood in his belly : for (I have) had enough of those cozening cheats already " . Despite the almost unbearable distraction of Drake making off with more than his fair share of the spoil of war , the outraged Frobisher managed to concentrate on the bussines at hand , distinguished himself in the engagement and earned a knighthood . Sir Martin Frobisther , Elizabethan extraordinaire , pirate and patriot , died in Plymouth in 1594 of wounds suffered while fighting the old Spanish nemesis off the coast of France . The brilliant career of Sir Martin Frobisther , played out during that turbulent and reckless time when England was forging its destiny on the seas , was not unique . There are many similarities and parallels to be drawn between Sir Martin and his equally brilliant and famous contemporaries : Drake , Ralegh , Hawkings , Grenville , the Gilberts (among many others ) who rose to Rank and prominence despite frequent lapses into acts of outright piracy .
The illustrious Sir Henry Mainwaring , who rose from the status of a common pirate to knighthood and Admiral in the Navy under Elizabeth`s successor , best summed up the situation when he said of his former brotherhood : ".......the state may hereafter want such men who are commonly the most serviceable in war ."
The "Sea Dogs " of war and the rise of privateering
When in 1585 hostilities with Spain heated to the boiling point and war became inminent , the Crown lacked sufficient funds to build an efficient wartime navy . With an invincible armada poising to strike , England had no alternative but to depend on private shipping to help defend her shores and interrupt enemy commerce . In an effort to defend herself against the " gathering storm " , Queen Elizabeth openly and officially instituted the system to become known as "privateering" , one which was based on very shaky legal and moral foundation , but its evident necessity deemed justifiable enough at the time .
A privateer , the term which also encompasses men who served aboard her , was a privately owned armed vessel commissioned by a letter of marque from the Crown to interrupt and capture enemy shipping in time of a declared war . The first letter of marque issued in England dates from the late 13th century but only after 1585 did the letters make provisions for prizes to be condemned (declared as contraband from an enemy state) and confiscated by an Admiralty Court with a subsequent division of those goods made among the Crown , the privateer who seized them , and others officials . Thus , while the actual practice of privateering was well established among seafaring nations , it had never been governed in England by a system of rules and regulations laid down by the Admiralty until the hostilities with Spain had developed into open warfare in the mid 1580 . A period of reprisal or state of belligerancy which developed between two nations for specific acts of grievances could have existed before an actual declaration of war . In that case , letters of reprisal were issued , which enabled the bearer to undertake operations to interrupt enemy shipping althought a state of war had not officially been declared . The diference between a letter of reprisal and a letter of marque was a matter of hair splitting as the former invariably led to the latter and a full scale declared shooting war .
Harassment and disruption of Spanish shipping had become an activity officially sanctioned by the Crown in 1585. Letters of marque were issued by the High Court of the Admiralty to anyone who wished to take prizes and had the price of a commisison. Privateering offered the Crown a measure of control as well as a sizable piece of the profits -only enemy shipping was to be taken , all prizes were to be brought back to the English ship`s home port and the cargo was not to be rifled until inventories and appraisals were made by Admiralty Officers and the appropiate divisions made . Since the system known as privateering largely has absorbed the bulk of pre-war pirates into its ranks along with their attitude and general lease on life , commissioned privateering frequently deteriorated into the taking of neutral ships or the embezzling of captured cargo before the Admiralty Officers could secure the Queen`s custom duties . Frequently , ships would be taken without benefit of a letter of marque but Admiralty Officers might no objet too strongly provided they received a share of the booty . Since privateering crews were not salaried but received a percentage of the spoils , they threw themselves into their work whit great enthusiasm . The distinguishing line between outright piracy and licensed privateering was frequently perilously thin .
Ralegh the Privateer and Roanoke
While he received many offices and lucrative endowments from Queen Elizabeth I , one of Sir Walter Ralegh`s main sources of income came from privateering enterprises . When in 1584 Ralegh acquired the patent authorizing him to search out and take possession of , for himself and for his heirs , "remote , heathen and barbarous lands" not held by any Christian prince , he sent the first reconnaissance voyage to Roanoke in the hopes that a colonial scheme would add to his purse .
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