Pirates of the Carolinas, Part 2 - Rules

Pirates had a strict list of articles, or laws, that had to be signed by each member of the crew before a voyage began. Those rules governed who would get how much of whatever treasure was captured, down to the specific amount each person would be awarded. Those rules also governed their conduct while on board the ship. An example would be a rule that specified that they were required to maintain their weapons or to not keep any sort of written material on board the ship.

Pirates were the first ones to do what would be called workman's compensation. They were the first ones during that time that allowed for a person who was injured on the job, who lost an eye or a hand in an engagement, to be given a cash stipend for that damage because, reasonably, he could not continue to be a pirate.

The captains were chosen by the crew of the ship and could be deselected at any time. If the captain made a decision that the crew didn't like, they could vote him out as easily as they voted him in. It was not uncommon to see pirate ships that went through a number of different captains in a voyage.

For a crewman, breaking some of these rules could mean a severe flogging, mutilation, hanging, being shot, or being marooned on a remote island or sandbar with no hope of rescue.