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Pirate Life on reenactor.NetPirate Life

An area for Pirate reenactors and enthusiasts. Pirate reenacting is one of the fastest-growing impressions there is right now, probably owing to a policy of inclusion and of welcoming newcomers.

On Piracy

The word Pirate brings to mind buried treasure, walking the plank, parrots, cutlasses, black eye patches, wooden legs, pieces of eight, and jolly Roger flags. How close are these images, though, to the real world of pirates? Who were these men and how did they live their lives?

Piracy is as old as the history of sailing itself. Some of the earliest pirates were the Phoenicians who plied the Mediterranean from about 2000 B.C.. While the Phoenicians conducted much legitimate trade, they also didn't flinch from attacking other merchant ships or even coastal towns.

The Golden Age of Piracy

The pirates we are most familiar with, though, are those from a time that might be called The Golden Age of Piracy. This period started soon after the discovery of the New World and continued for about 250 years.

In 1494 the Pope divided the New World between Spain and Portugal. Predictably this did not sit well with the other European nations. They wanted a part of the gold the Spanish were stealing from the Aztecs of South America and conflict was inevitable.

The part of the New World coast from South America through the Caribbean to Northern Florida was known as "The Spanish Main" (right). It was from ports along these coasts that Spanish galleons, large treasure ships, sailed for Europe. The European powers began attacking these ships and taking the gold for themselves.

Outfitting ships was expensive and one way to raise a fleet at little cost was to issue "letters of marque" that entitled the owner of a private ship to outfit it for war and use it to attack enemy ships. In return for official permission the ship's owner split any booty captured with the royal treasury. Men who engaged in this activity were referred to as "privateers."

Privateers were in effect legal pirates. Or at least legal to those governments with which they shared the loot. Sir Francis Drake, who started his career in 1570, was a hated pirate to Spain, but a hero in England where Queen Elizabeth addressed him as "my dear pirate." His popularity with the crown was assured after one expedition where he captured for treasury 300,000 pounds of booty, keeping another 10,000 for himself. Drake not only raided ships, but attacked Spanish towns and mule trains carrying gold. So favored was Drake by the Queen that she presented him with a special sword to use upon her enemies.

There was a danger in using privateers, though. Often these independent captains were tempted to attack ships of countries besides those their nation was at war against. Also in times of peace it left thousands of men jobless who had been trained to attack ships and seize goods. The temptation to turn pirate during these times was immense and many men did so.


The buccaneers often used small boats called pinnaces for their attacks. Using these they could sneak up on unsuspecting merchant ships and get control of the ship even before the crew knew they were under attack. When they used larger ships the pirates often favored smaller, single-masted sloops that could operate in shallow water. This allowed the ships to be easily hidden in small hidden bays and inlets. The English buccaneers liked attacking with the dozen or so cannon on deck, while French pirates preferred hand-to-hand combat with small arms and knives.

A Different Life

While some pirates were excessively cruel outlaws, many were just plain sailors who could not find an honest living. The life of a sailor in those times was hard. The power of the captain of a merchant ship or a military vessel was nearly absolute. Crewmen could be whipped by a cruel captain for the least offense.

In contrast many pirate ships were run democratically. Before a voyage the crew held a council that included all the members. As a group they decided where to sail, who should be captain, and how any booty should be divided up. The captain usually got a double share and crew members with special skills, such as a doctor or carpenter got one and one half. The council also drew up a list of rules that all the crew agreed to obey.

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The Crewe of the Archangel (MidLant, USA, Earth)
The Crewe of the Archangel is spread across 6 states, with widely varied backgrounds, many drawing from vast experience in Civil War, War of Independence, Wild West and many other time frames. Should you desire to join our ranks, our crewe members are happy to help you establish your role.

Utilizing over 50 cumulative years of Public Interaction, the Living Historians of the Crewe of the Archangel offer historical preservation through educational entertainment. Our mission's focus attempts to clarify the myths and reality surrounding the Golden Age of Pyracy in ways that are memorable and thought provoking.

To present a complete experience, Crewe members recreate personalities from the late 17th and early 18th century, incorporating historical dress, accoutrement & activities appropriate to the time. Encampments, displays and live demonstration further intrigue audiences.
Blackbeard's Crew (USA, MidLant, Virginia)
Blackbeard's Crew, founded in the year of our lord 2000, is a living history performance group dedicated to the accurate representation of seafaring life in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, specifically 1650-1730.
Our Mission

To educate the public as to the contribution of ordinary seamen to transatlantic
trade and  North American colonization during the period 1650 to 1730.

To educate the public as to the impact of piracy upon the economic cycle of
transatlantic trade during the Golden Age of Piracy.

To educate the public as to the impact of mans activities upon the
North Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay environment since
North American colonization began .

To employ living history interpretation as a primary method to educate the public
by accurately portraying the lifestyle, manner of dress and speech, common knowledge and skills, weapons, tools, and crew organization of both pirates and ordinary seamen both afloat and ashore during the Golden Age of Piracy.

To provide realistic portrayals of pirates and other seamen so the public,
especially children may readily see them in contrast to pirates and seamen
typically portrayed in the movie industry.

To cooperate with other non profit organizations that build, accept
or operate replica vessels of the period 1650 to 1730 in pursuit of the above goals.
Authentic historic interpretation has always been the hallmark of Blackbeard's Crew.  Getting started a few years before the Pirates of the Caribbean craze hit, The Crew prides themselves on not being the dime-a-dozen polyester Jack Sparrow wannabes.  Our authentic costuming, presentation and camp displays are beyond and more impressive than that which Hollywood would like you to believe.
It is our Mission "To educate Ourselves and Others in Matters regarding River Piracy as it was practiced inland on the Lakes and Rivers of the 18th and early 19th C., through the adoption of the Clothing and Mannerisms of the Pirates and their Associates, Victims &c."

The Great Lakes River Pirates are available for Educational Presentations and Living History Events. Specialties include Raids & Robberies of all River Traffick, Disruption of Commerce and General Mayhem. Our Fleet includes the batteaux Raith and Wespe, the dory Tantrum, the punt Catspaw, and a plank-built pirogue simply known as II. Our flagship is a 23 foot sloop, Pirata Del Lago. We come equipped with three- and four-pound Cannon, Bowguns and various other Firearms and Weapons and the skills, knowledge, and inclination to use them.
Merricks Privateers (USA, MidLant, Maryland)
Merricks Privateers, is a re-enactmnet unit dedicated to educating the public about the life and time of the Golden Age of Piracy

We have performed at many Historical Sites in the Midatlantic Region

-Jamestown Festival Park
-Marrietta Mansion
-Fort Frederick
-The Maryland  Renaissance Festival

Additionally we give presentations to schools and civic groups.
The Northern California Pirate Festival has one goal:
To create an entertaining event where everyone who loves pirates will have
a great time and feel welcome!

Whether you love nautical music, swordfighting, sailing, cannon-battles, theater, maritime crafts, food and drink, or just shopping fer' pirate booty...there's something here for YOU!

Fun For ALL AGES: Children, Adults, Teens & Whole Families!

We encourage coming out in costume...whether you dress as an historical era pirate from the Golden Age of Sail or a bejeweled Mardi-Gras Krewmate from New Orleans...
whether your taste runs towards Hollywood Swashbucklers or Foreign Buccaneers from international waters! Dress up and share in the experience...

You certainly don't need to come out in costume,
but when you leave you're sure to feel like a pirate!

Sail out to the PirateFest and join us for a great time!
Black Hearted Buccaneers (Southern and central California )
We are a pirate living history guild. we portray a buccaneer crew from the 1680-1715, and historical accuracy is very important to us. The guild will be going to pirate fairs and museums events; where we will be teaching the history of piracy. we will be taking members of all ages. Applicants under the age of 18 must have prenatal consent before membership is granted. Our home port is in Santa Barbara California.
The Forsaken is dedicated to accurately portraying  pirates, privateers, pirate hunters and civilians that roamed the seas and harbor towns during the Golden Age of Piracy.

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