Pirates of the Carolinas, Part 1 - History

The adventures and exploits of pirates and buccaneers have long captured our imaginations. These sea bandits roved the ocean lanes in all parts of the world, from the waters off Africa and Europe and the Orient to the Caribbean and off the coast of North America. Since the middle 1500s, the North and South Carolina coasts have been popular stomping grounds and rendezvous points for many of the world's most notorious pirates and privateersmen.   During this period, Spanish treasure fleets, and later merchant ships, transported their valuable cargoes and their riches in gold, silver, and jewels across the Atlantic. These ships became easy and unwitting prey for gangs of ruthless pirates, and fortunes were being made from the plunder of these vessels

Most pirates started out as regular sailors. Usually they grew up in a city that had waterfront... London, Charleston, Boston, New York, somewhere like that. They would sign on to work on a fishing or a merchant ship, or perhaps they would even join the navy. But eventually something happened that would cause them to leave the legal life of a sailor and to become an outlaw.

Pirates seeking sanctuary from pirate hunters often found it in the serene backwaters near Charleston and elsewhere along the Carolina coast. Inlets in South Carolina's Bull's Bay and McClellanville, Murrells Inlet and Georgetown, and North Carolina's Beaufort Inlet and the Cape Fear River were all favorite pirate haunts.

Pirates main goal was to scare the crew of the merchant ship so bad that resistance would just collapse before the pirates even boarded the ship. They were not looking for a fight and didn't want to sink a ship, because the goal was to capture ships. If they had to fight, the battles were bloody.