Sadat Hussain Rafsanjani : Piracy is the criminal act of looting and robbing sea vessels, typically in the coastal seashores or at the heart level. It is the criminal violence that has been practiced in all most all continents of the world from ancient times. Initially it was proclaimed that, only the IIIryans and Tyrrhenian were the marauders of Europe but after the settlement of Spanish and French colonies in American soil, piracy became the common trade in the Atlantic and Caribbean Sea, as ship was the only transportation medium. From African coast slaves were regularly trafficked to those colonies. From 1650 to 1725 is called the golden age of piracy as some of the most notorious pirates were born and apprehended in this time. However, there is a distinction between piracy and privateer. Piracy is unlawful where privateer are attacking ships that are given permissions from the respective government to seize and attack any enemy vessels within the native shore or away. They are given a grant called letter of marquee. Thus it is completely unrelated to piracy although controversial at some cases. Piracy in the Caribbean lasted from 16th century to 1830. After the colonial settlement, many sailors went rogue. This is because sailors were often cheated of their wage, underpaid and often forced to work. Even navy sailors found it very difficult to serve honestly in a military ship, as the duty was very abominable. Criminals, ex- royal navy sailors, unemployed men, merchant sea man volunteered to form small groups of marauders and went on to rob others. They took piracy to become rich, they proclaimed themselves as the emperor of sea. Some of them were women and some of them were escaped African slaves. The most successful period was 1660 to 1730. In this time duration many pirates rose to prominence and became the terrors of Caribbean Sea. But not all of them were uneducated thugs and criminals. For instance, William Kidd was a decorated sailor, a privateer and a very rich man who set out in 1696 to fight piracy. But soon he turned to piracy. Major Stede Bonnet was a wealthy plantation owner who also took piracy later in 1717. At the beginning, pirates did not have heavily armed ships instead they used to attack ships with small sloops. Sloops are smaller sailing ships that are designed for short distance travelling. The biggest advantage of sloop was it was fast thus any bigger ship can be easily chased and seized; it was ideal to rob a heavy ship and disappear quickly to hide in the coastal area. It was also helpful to outrun any military ship when being chased. Once the captain and crews captured an ideal ship, they would use it to go longer distance to loot. A pirate ship was a well-managed machine. Here, every person had a separate duty and rank. All the crews were sailors. The captain is the leader and he had the supreme authority to decide which ship to attack and where to go. He is the most experienced person and often selected by the crews by voting. He must not be too aggressive and must not be too meek in nature. The quartermaster over would oversee the operation and divide the loot among others. He is the second in command after the captain. What to rob and what to leave behind is often decided by him. The task of pirate courts, discipline maintenance is carried by him. He took the same share as the captain from any loot. And there were navigators. At that time, a trained navigator was hard to find. Coopers used to take care of wooden barrels. In sea, wooden barrels were the best way to preserve foods, water. Carpenters were the engineers of the ship. They maintained the structural integrity of the ship by fixing the damages after an engagement. Boatswains looked after the sails, ship structures and ropes of the ship. He directed the carpenter to fix any anomaly. They used to decide when to sail and when to anchor. Even cleaning the deck was their duty too. There was also a doctor at some ships. As pirates usually engaged in fight frequently, they got serious injury. So treatment was a necessity. Also, due to log term staying in the sea, they lacked in vitamins and some eventually lost one eye. This was the reason why pirates used patches on a blind eye. Pirate ships were also full with rats. Rats were the carrier of plague. Thus sometimes plague became epidemic in the ship. That is why doctor was an important person. Every pirate ship had a list of codes that must be abided by the crews. Not only that, it is said that pirates had some sort of voting systems on board called pirate democracy. Although the captain owned the ship and authority, the supreme authority was assigned to the crews. They had the rights to choose a captain, set the ship course, making other decisions and vote out a captain if necessary. Pirates used to kill their victims by throwing them to the sea. Also they used to make the victim walk off a plank to jump to the sea. Sometimes if they got betrayed by any other pirate on the board they would punish him in a peculiar way. It is called ‘Maroon.’ When a pirate goes rogue, he was left in a small sandy island in the middle of sea with a bottle of rum and a loaded musket pistol. The marooned pirate would drink the rum as long as it remained and afterward when the rum ran out he would shoot himself with the musket. Pirates used may sort of weapons to terrorise and take over ships. The prime weapon was explosive like black powder. Black powder is a simple explosive made up of carbon (often coal), sulphur and potassium nitrate also called Chilean saltpeter. This mixture of explosive is used vigorously in pirate ships from small arms to large canon. It has an advantage that it will not work as an explosive unless and until it is put in a pressurized container and allowed to explode at that state otherwise it is harmless. One of the mostly used pirate firearms was flintlock pistol. This pistol used patched balls to fire. It has a long barrel. The barrel is supplied with some black powder and patched ball is put inside the barrel. Then a rod is used to compress it to lock air. At the back of barrel, there is a flint and a frizzen is fitted at the front. Beneath the flint, there is a small pit. Some priming charge (black powder) is put in that hole and the flintlock are pushed back. One the trigger is squeezed; the flint strikes the frizzen, which creates a spark that discharge, the ball from the barrel by igniting the main inside charges. But it was very inaccurate thus needed to draw closer to the target. Pirates used it for face to face confrontations. They used a blunderbuss, an anti-personnel weapon. The mechanism is same but in addition to the patch it used small metal pallets. During the discharge these pallets spreads at a greater range and devastates the target with smaller wounds. Pirates also used swords. There were two sorts of swords they used, one is the thin sword. It was difficult to operate, as it required large space to poke the opponent. The other one is shorter broader blade to hack and chop at close distance, it is called ‘cutlass.’ The pirate ships were also loaded with canon, medium to large in size. These canons were used to disable the targeting ship by hitting the sails with two different types of throwing balls. One is bar shot, which looks like a dumbbell, and the other one is chain ball, which is two balls, is connected by a short chain. These weapons can easily tear down the sails. Pirates were also naval warfare tacticians. They used psychological warfare technique to terrorise their victims. Just before the attack they used black coloured flags called Jolly Rogers to show no mercy but death, commonly known as no quarter. The term possibly derived from the term old roger means devil although who coined it and how did it start is not known. These flags were marked with many symbols often depicting death or danger. Among the symbols some are skull with cross swords (used by Calico Jack), skull bone, bleeding heart and a skeleton wielding a downward poking spear to that heart where in some versions the heart is pierced with the spear, skull bone with a person wielding a sword on right hand and a sand clock on the other hand, muscular arm holding a sword, red skeleton (Edward Low), pirate figure wielding sword while standing on two human skull (used by Black Bart), red flag with a side view of a skull, three skull in a row and many others. Despite various symbol, often black flags were used too by many pirates. After the war of Spanish succession in 1714, many privateers turned to piracy and used Jolly Rogers extensively. The pirate ship only would hoist the Jolly Roger when they felt confirm about that the prey was within the firing range.