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tv   Eric Jay Dolin Black Flags Blue Waters  CSPAN  May 26, 2022 7:19pm-8:26pm EDT

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ahoy, mate and welcome to tonight's great lives presentation on america's pirates. the talk is sponsored by the ahoy, mates. and welcome to tonight's great lives presentation on america's packs. the top is faltered by the community bank of chesapeake to whom we are grateful for their generous support over the past several years. and it's that kind of commitment that enables it the program to bring to the
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university and to the community outstanding speakers such as our guest tonight. eric jay dolin is the author of the fascinating book black flags blue waters. the epic history of america's most notorious pirates. eric grew up near the coast of new york and connecticut. in from an early age developed an interest in maritime affairs. toward that end, he earned the double major in biology and environmental studies then getting a masters degree in environmental management from yale. that was followed by a ph. d. in environmental policy and planning from mit, where his dissertation focused on the role of the courts in the cleanup of boston harbour. eric has held an interesting variety of jobs. many of them related to an interest in the national
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world. the one thing that remain constant throughout his career, he has said, is his enjoyment of writing and telling stories about topics that he has found most intriguing. this has led to the publication of more than 60 articles, of magazines and newspapers and professional journals. it has also resulted in the publication of a number of very popular books that include these titles. the furious sky, they 500-year history of america's hurricanes. brilliant beacons, a history of the american lighthouse. when america first met china and exotic history of
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tea, drugs, and money in the age of sail. four, fortune, and empire, the epic history of the free trade in america. the love via finn, the history of whaling in america. as well as the previously mentioned black flags, blue waters. all of these books have achieved not only popular but critical acclaim. that's a very difficult task indeed to pull off. there's one reviewer of the pitrate book is a fascinating adventurous tory. filled with rogues and rascals and ruthless renegades. this is stirring history that reads like a novel. another has said that in that book, dolin, quote, proves again that skillfully presented narrative nonfiction is even more gripping than swashbuckling theology. if you've never read dolin before prepare to have a new favorite historian and so it is a great pleasure to welcome tonight to
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the university of mary washington into the great lives podium a truly gifted writer eric j. dolin. >> [applause] thank you, bill. for that wonderful introduction. and thanks to bill and terry and ali for giving me a wonderful meal a few minutes ago and ali for organizing all of this. last time i was in fredericksburg was back when my wife and i lived in maryland in 1996, and i remember that in all the antique stores, and today i went down to fredericksburg and they're still there and it's a lot of fun. but anyway, thanks for coming out tonight. i know it's kind of tough situation i'm just getting back into the swing of giving talks. i've given about 40 or 50 zoom talks over the past two years. and now i'm just starting to give talks in person. so this is really a thrill for me to have an audience. pirates have long been among the most colorful and memorable celebrities in popular culture. a lot of that has to do with books that use
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pirates as a motif. in the most famous example of, that of course. is robert lewis stevenson's treasure island which was published in 1883. stevenson weaves a wonderfully dramatic tale of the search for pirate treasure, replete with a map of skeleton island where an ex marks the spot where the treasure is to be found. treasure island is also the book that gave us that familiar see shanty refrain, 15 men on a dead man's chest, yohoho and a bottle of rum. drink and the devil had done for the rest. yohoho and a bottle of rum. and now you know why i became a writer and not a singer. now during this time, i will be showing a number of new yorker cartoons that were late to the pirate theme. in case you can't them, i will read the punchline. for what it's worth,
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yohoho and a chilled penal grieves eo actually rhymes. you'd be amazed there are hundreds of cartoons the new yorkers put out of the decades that use pirates as a theme. now movies have also had a major impact on how we view pirates. most recently, disney's pirates of the caribbean franchise has generated a renewed pirate mania. this fellow looks like johnny depp, right? actually i want to have a picture of johnny depp in the book. i reached out to disney and i try to get a hold of johnny depp's agent. but i was unsuccessful. so i found this at the library of congress. it is a johnny depp impersonator in front of grossman's chinese restaurant in california. i think he did a pretty good job. now with all these cultural references, it's no wonder that pirate costumes are among the most popular worn
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on halloween night. in international talk like a pirate day is eagerly anticipated by millions every september 19th. and this one says, no i don't know where your pirate shirt is. there is no denying that pirates and grabbed hold of our imagination. many have danger unbelieving traditional society behind, boarding a ship and throwing in their lot with the hearty men and women intent on taking what they want and getting richer while enjoying the luxurious freedom of sailing of the world's oceans. with a hold full of rum. mark twain captured this longing in his memoir life in the mississippi. when he admitted that even though he and his friends had but one ambition, to be steamboat men. now and then, we had a hope that if we lived and were good god would permit us to be pirates. there are plenty of children out there who would love being a
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pirate. historians can certainly poke holes at these fictional representations of pirates especially those who depict them as a naturally attractive ricochets rapscallions having a grand isle time looking for love adventure and treasure on the waves. the reality of piracy is nothing like the breathless musings of the new york times reporter in 1892 who bitterly complained, it cannot be a source of regret to every true lover of the picturesque that pirates are no more. and piracy has lost his popularity. what tremendous fellows they must have been. what's heroes dandies, wits were to be found among them. they were immensely
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superior to landlubbers. who were mere milk compare with black beer in captain kid. while real pirates were incredibly intriguing and compelling characters, they most definitely were not tremendous fellows. instead, they were seaborne criminals who were neither enduring nor heroic. this says half a me loves being a pirate, in half of me regrets it. now black flags, blue waters cots through the hollywood imagery and mythology surrounding -- reveals a dramatic and surprising history of american power's golden age. spanning a late 16 hundreds through the early 1700s when lawless pirates plied the waters of north america and beyond. the golden age was the most dramatic air of maritime marauding the world has ever known. it produced such iconic characters as william kid and blackbeard, along with thousands of others. whose names are less familiar but whose despicable deeds are no less riveting. much has been written about that time period. this book adds to that literary lineage but with a twist. rather than focusing broadly on
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this era, black flags, blue waters zeroes in on the history of the pirates who either operated out of britain's american colonies or plundered the ships along the american coast. from the early 1680's to 1726, these pirates had an exceedingly close, often tempestuous, and frequently deadly relationship with the colonies. many people leave pirates in a romantic light. but there is absolutely nothing romantic about them. other than the legends women about their exploits after they were gone. that is not to say that pirates were boring. far from it. well the pirates of black flags blue waters can't compete with the magnetic charms of and will be repartee of captain jack sparrow, they are compelling characters nonetheless. and when i read this slide, it makes me laugh because there's somebody that wrote a comment about the book on amazon. and
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he gave the book one star. in his first line he said, for some reason this guy hates pirates. and he went on to complain about the fact that my book dispelled a lot of the myths about piracy. the real story of american piracy is even more astonishing and fascinating than any fictional pirated ever written or cast on the silver screen. this says i'm sorry, you tapped into something no one cares about. and that relates to how i pick topics for books. the most difficult thing is finding a and that relates to how i pick topic that i think will excite me and potential readers. the origin story for black flags blue waters started with my kids, lilly and harry, who are shown here as teenagers. after i finish my book on lighthouses, brilliant beacons, ahistory of the american lighthous, i was
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looking around for a new topic. and i asked lilly and harry what they thought i should write about? and i had a couple of ideas. one of the most pirates. when i mentioned pirates, both of their eyes lit up and they said that that's it. you have to write about pirates. i go very excited because neither of my children had up to the point read any of my books, so i thought this is going to be my big chance. lilly even threw out a possible, few possible titles for the books. including swords sales and swashbucklers, and arghhh, which i had to tell much to her chagrin is a word that no pirate of this era ever uttered. it is more a byproduct of hollywood in the mid 20th
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century. when i began working on this book and you very little about pirates but that was by design. i always choose topics i know very little about. you may be thinking maybe i don't know much of anything but it's really because i had to spend two years working on these books. and i get bored rather easily. if you ever summer resume, you would think i couldn't keep a job. and part of the reason i go to very different topics is because i like being excited by what i'm working on. and i hope that that excitement translates to the written page. now, sure, i'd seen a number of movies with pirates in them. including all the powers of the current korean movies, the last three of which friends are poor. muppets treasure island one of my favorites. the goonies, hook, and even princess bride, the princess bride with its dread pirates roberts. but i hadn't read any books about pirates. not even treasure island. which i somehow missed in my misspent youth. and you would hire streamed about, the big score, capturing a ship with a hold full of spanish silver pieces
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of eight and gold doubloons. i had heard about blackbeard a really didn't know much about him of than the fact that he had a black beard. had also heard about captain kidd. but the only thing i knew about him was that he supposedly buried treasure all along the eastern seaboard from delaware all the way on up to oak island, nova scotia. of course, that is the total myth. but it hasn't stopped many people over the years from spending significant amounts of i time and money searching for buried treasure. and coming up empty. so leaving it with a broker didn't do any good at all. i had also heard that pirates drank a lot, especially rum, wwhich was supposedly the pirates drink of choice. and that fact is 100 percent true. one pirate even admitted that the love of drink and a lazy life or stronger motives than gold. in luring in him into piracy. unfortunately for him, he uttered these words a few hours before he was
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hanged. the more i learn about pirates, however, the more fascinated became. pirates were an important part of the american history and their story was more complicated and intriguing then i suspected. the first known instance of piracy off the american coast occurred in the summer of 1632, when a pirate name dixie bull and his men plundered a number of english ships before disappearing from sight. other than that, the main connection that the colonies had with piracy during these early years was twofold. first, some american merchants traveled to jamaica and other caribbean islands to trade with the pirates. and in turn, some pirates who had gotten wealthy we're tired of the colonies to enjoy their riches. in 1684, for example, jamaican governor sir thomas lynch noted that the northern colonies are now full
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of pirates money. pirates had,, lynch claimed, occur the equivalent of 80,000 pounds sterling into boston alone. a city that one english official labeled as the common receptacle of pirates of all nations. now, to get an idea of magnitude of this loot, considered of the time, an average labor in the colony earned about ten pounds per year a a woman got roughly half of that, while a captain of a merchant vessel pulled down about 72 pounds. now, the mid 1600s is also an air of the buccaneers. does anyone know who this is? he's got a rum named after him. henry morgan, yes. this is when men like henry morgan, more famous now for his rum than for his exploits, roamed the caribbean in search of spanish treasure ships to plunder. the treasure
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ships were full of silver and gold that came from mines and mints in central and south america. the mines produced copious quantities of coins including gleaming gold doubloons and most importantly eight real coins. those so-called pieces of eight or spanish silver dollars. in a dinner, i was talking about the fact that after i write a book, i always try to get something that reminds me of the book. and i thought naively when i started this book that maybe i could buy a piece of eight after i was done. but once i realized the actual prices for a good piece of eight, that idea left me rather quickly. now the buccaneers favorite haunt was port royal on the english island of jamaica. arguably the wealthiest english city in the new world by 1680. port royal's veneer of sophistication could not hide
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its decidedly sleazy underbelly. this was when port royal gained the well earned reputation as the sodom of the west indies and the wickedest city in the world, an unsavory melange of buccaneers and privateers proud prowled port royal's streets and alley ways in search of liquid in and carnal leisure. as one buccaneer said in his peers, whenever they get a hold of something, they don't keep it
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full-on. they are busy dicing, whoring and drinking. so long as they have anything to spend. some of them will get through it -- and the next day not a shirt on their back. he continued, my own master used to buy a -- set in the middle of the street with the barrel head knocked in. and stand barring the way. every passerby had a drink with him or he'd have shot them dead with a gun he kept handy. on june 7th, 1692, a massive earthquake struck port royal in jamaica. when it was all over, nearly two thirds of the city had slipped beneath the waves and more than 5000 people were killed including many buccaneers. the gruesome aftermath, in the rematch matt, hundreds of dead bodies loaded bodies could be seen floating on the surface of the harbor and washed up on the shore. a local minister who survived the earthquake called it a terrible judgment of god. that was brought down upon the heads of the most ungodly debauched people in the world. by the late 1600s, buccaneers have been largely replaced by the so-called red seamen. the pirates who left for the american policies and sailed to the indian ocean where they preyed on ships coming from the mughal empire or will we know today as india. and they were
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traveling between india and the red sea ports of jeddah and mocha. on the surface, red seamen appear to be nothing more than privateers. for a fee, they issued privateering licenses, letters of marked by colonial governors which gave them permission to attack friendships. since at the time, england was at war with france. but these governors knew full well that the red sea men had no intention of attacking french ships. instead, they plan to go around cape horn, cape hope into the indian ocean attack mughal ships. the red sea men where the most successful ports of all, with some of them such as henry avery amassing considerable fortunes. avery's greatest success was capturing the gone
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ganj-i-sawai, which was one of the flagships of the emperor aurangzeb. >> on board were more than 1000 people going to mecca and they were loaded with jewels and money. the pirates plunder the ship for several days. when they weren't gathering loot, the pirates engaged in animalistic and violent orgy, viciously raping numerous women. a few of the intended victims unable to bear to have their families and friends see them ravish and defiled killed themselves by either jumping over the side of the ship or stabbing themselves. while in the indian ocean, the red sea men reached the island of saint marie off the northeast coast of madagascar mainland as their home base. there is plenty of gambling on the island as one might imagine. a single toss of dice earned the lucky pirate from new york 1300 pieces of eight. in one brawl 14 pirates who were unsatisfied with the amount of loot they had managed to obtain in their last voyage decided to split into two groups of seven a fight to the death to see who would get the money. one group of seven was completely demolished and five of the other group of seven were killed, the last two guys messages look at each other and said okay let's just split the
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money. now, the red sea men were welcomed with open's arms in america because they were in many cases the fathers sons and brothers of the people in the colonies. they were much beloved members of their communities. and they were seen as going halfway around the world to rob, quote, unquote infidels and bring all that valuable money in jewels and silk back to america now with all the red sea men were will come in the colonies the british parliament and the crown despised them. not only did pirates break the law, but they also threatened the entire east indian trade which was a bulwark of the english economy. the resulting crackdown on pirates used a combination of stricter laws, more effective prosecutions, naval attacks on pirate ships and increase
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hangings to reduce the pirate threat in the atlantic. by 1700, it was almost completely eliminated. this general reprieve from piracy continued for the duration of the war of the spanish succession between 1702 in 1713. and if you're like me, the war of the spanish succession is one of those wars they talk about in high school and you still absolutely have no idea what it was and why they fought it. the only significant case of paris in the colonies during the war was when captain john quelch sailed with his fellow nears from marblehead, my hometown, marblehead, massachusetts, in august of 1703 after murdering the captain of the privateer they were on. they didn't headed to brazil, where they
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plundered a number of ships and came back to marble head with more than 10,000 pounds worth of booty including a bag full of gold dust. quelch and part of his gang were caught after returning to marblehead and they were hanged on friday june 30th, 1704. at the edge of boston harbour. thousands of people came out to see them. we sent off to eternity. the famous puritan preacher, cotton mather, spoke to the assembled prop throng. he stood up and said it himself on a boat that was just offshore -- if you remain in boston, they were hanged right down the hill from cops hill burial ground near the old north church. and so cotton mather got up and he gave his sermon and he began. we, the ministers, have told you often, yay we have told you weeping, that you have by sin undone yourselves. we have shown you how to commit yourself into his saving and healing hands. and how to express repentance. we can do no more believe you in his merciful hands. when the scaffold platform was pulled away, and the men dropped to
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their death, the screams of the crowd were so loud that they could be heard more than a mile away. an almost 3000 people showed up to watch them die. a few years after the end of the war, piracy came roaring back. inaugurating the second major phase of piracy. which lasted from 1715 to 1726. and this is what you, most people know about. this is the pirates of the caribbean era. and it's when as many as 4000 pirates were active. this is in this time the major focus of activity was not the red sea but rather the waters off the american colonies and in the caribbean. there are many reasons for the explosion in piracy. a significant number of navy men and privateers who lost their positions when the war ended decided to turn to piracy. many men rose up and mutiny and turned to piracy as well. the sinking of a huge spanish treasure fleet in 1715 off the california coast created a stampede of men for almost all over the world that
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mainly are up who came to that area to dive on the rock and get as much money as they could. they didn't get much money because the spaniards who owned the ships got there first and managed to retrieve a lot of the money. but many of the men who had come seeking their fortune decided to stay in the caribbean and get their fortune as pirates. although many men voluntarily signed on to become pirates, others were forced to go on the account. the coming pirates against their will. 1715 to 1726 is also the period when pirates to used the black flag or the jolly roger as their terrifying calling card. the black flag was intended to strike fear into the hearts of any merchant ships that sought fluttering atop the main mast of the pirate ship. sending the unmistakable message surrender immediately or else we will attack. being risk-averse, pirates always hoped for surrender. and they never wanted to fight the if they
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could avoid it because there is no upside to battle. fortunately for the pirates, they rarely had to resort to force. since intimidation courtesy of the black flag worked so well. this flag is purportedly the flag of black beard. but in my research, i could find no reference to this being black beards flag. but it was a flag of a poem named ned low, and i'll talk about him a little bit later. and this is a modern representation of. it but you can understand the iconography. out the rules for their behavior and
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also mandated the virtually even distribution of wealth. and at the bottom of this cartoon it says there's the flag will fly a top our pirate ship. this is also in many black men served as pirates a significant number that were african slaves who have been captured by the pirates and they continued to be in servitude on the pirate ship until they were sold off as slaves to generate money, but that's only part of the story. many black pirates became value crew members and fought alongside t the skeleton and the harpoon piercing the heart with drops of blood falling from it. was supposed to signify death. and raised in his right arm is an hourglass indicating that he don't have much time to make a decision. you better make the right one. this is when pirates voted in democratic fashion to determine who would be the captain. and where they would go to hunt for prizes and which ships they would attack. this is when pirates signed the articles of agreement or the pirates code which laid out the rules for their behavior. and also mandated the virtually even distribution of wealth. and at the bottom of this cartoon, it says there is the flag will fly atop our pirate ship. this is also when many black men served as pirates. a significant number of them were
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african slaves who had been captured by the pirates and they continued to be in servitude on the pirate ship until they were sold off as slaves. to generate money. but that's only part of the story. many black pirates became valued crew members and fought alongside their white brother red in a shared equally in the prices. this is when and bonnie and mary lee, the only two women known to have served on pirate ships in the atlantic, during the golden age appeared briefly on history stage. both were put on trial import royal for being part of calico jack rack comes pirate crew. and bonnie also happened to be rackham's lover. the trials and jamaica are memorable not only through the mobile hanging's that ensued. recommend flooded. but even more for the unusual legal gambit unique among pirates used by bonnie and read. the court found guilty of piracy. and they were condemned to hang. immediately after that sentence was handed down, they pleaded their bellies to the court. informing the judge said they were both pregnant. upon investigation, it was found to be the case. and they were given a temporary stay of execution. on the day that rackham and went to the gallows, bonnie, his lover made it clear that she was extremely disappointed in him. saying that she was sorry to see him there but if he had fought like
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a man, he need not have been hanged like a dog. as for the ladies, reed died in jail from non specified illness soon thereafter, and bonnie simply disappears from the historical record. this is also when edward thatch, or teach, better known as blackbeard and 400 of his men blockaded charleston south carolina and for a week and traumatized the rest of the coast with their exploits. you see this picture? this is from the 1924 book on pirates, if you look closely, you can see smoke coming off of black beards hair it is that when black women into battle he would tie matches to the end of his hair, sometimes and it is beard like them. so as to be
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enrobed in smoke and look more fearsome when he wanted to battle. when a bunch of baloney. can you imagine having a lit flame at the end of your hair and nobody who was attacked by blackbeard ever mentioned this technique. it is just one of many myths about blackbeard, including one that a lot of people bring up, that he had 14 wives that he used to prostitute out to his man. be careful when you read about pirate history. that you are not reading the myths, you're getting the real thing. blackbeard met his grisly end at the end of naval lieutenant robert maynard, whose forces battled him in his man off of the island of okracoke. after the battle was over, maynard severed black beards head, and hung it from the bowsprit of his sloop blackbeard headless
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body was then pitched into the dark waters of paleo sound, according to legend it took a few laps around the ship before sinking from sight. blackbeard story has really come full circle. and 1996, salvagers and north carolina discovered the remains of blackbeard's flagship, queen anne's revenge in the relatively shallow water of the inlet. this period, from barbados decided to leave his gentlemanly life and become a pirate or the gentleman pirate, as he is often called. even built his own pirate ship, had the captains cabin lined with shelves so he could bring along his personal library. it is not clear why bonnet took the dramatic step of leaving his comfortable life and becoming a pirate. some speculated his sudden change in behavior was due to depression or perhaps insanity or perhaps some discomfort that he found in married life. if it was the last one he must have had a
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miserable marriage. i just learned a few days ago that one of the television stations, i think it's hbo, i'm not sure, there's a whole series on steve bonnet. it looks like a humorous series. i think a direct, or one of the actors, is that guy, taiko watiti, the director of the door. it looks like it's a funny play on the bomb its life. on his own, bomb it had some success along with many failures. he was finally captured in september of 1718 when colonel really him forces came upon bonnet and as man near the cape fear river and north carolina. the trial of bonnet and his man in charleston was a dramatic affair to say the least. first, bonnet and one of his men escaped. they were captured the next day and brought back to jail. then, all the upper class
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people in charleston begged the judge to let a bonnet off, basically saying that he was an aristocratic bearing and lineage. he should not be treated in this manner. fortunately, for those who want to justice to be meted out the judge did not agree. tried bonnet and has man and 19, all 19 of them were hangs at the edge of the harbor. this is also when pirate sam bellamy captured a british slave ship called the widow which is carrying a fortune in gold and silver. the proceeds were from selling 500 slaves in port royal, jamaica. he also had a booty for more than 50 captures that he and has man had achieved just in the prior year. excuse me, my allergies are kicking up. my throat is a little itchy. however, bellamy and his man would not be able to enjoy their riches. in april
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of 1717, as the widow was making its way up the east coast and was just about to go around the outstretched arm of cape cod, a nor'easter came barreling down the coast. it sent the whydah into the shallows, right near east town on the cape. about 1500 feet from shore. the ship, the back was broken, on a sand reef. 161 man were killed in the water. including bellamy. only two people survived and managed to climb up the cliffs. later, they were, if you want to learn what happens then you can read the book. it is fascinating. all that treasure, the key point, all the treasure also sank into the sand off of cape
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cod. for 267 years the whydah's treasure remain there. many people try to find it. one guy, a writer from massachusetts spent a considerable amount of money and dove many times off the coast trying to find those gold dubloons and silver pieces of eight. but no luck. in 1984, a salvage or and diver name barry clifford and his team, at the time included john f. kennedy jr., who i went to college with, found the whydah and began recovering its treasure. the item that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that all these artifacts came from the whydah is this. this is the whydah's bell. the reason it's green, if you go to the pirate museum, the pirate museum in west yarmouth on the cape, which is well worth a visit, fascinating pirate museum. it when you walk, and this is the first thing you see. it's the
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bell suspended in a greenish preservative solution. they knew they found the widow. is the first authenticated pirate treasure ever found. how much the recovered treasure is worth is not exactly clear. there have been estimates that range from unreasonably low $200,000 to a ridiculously high 400 million. whatever it's worth, it's worth a lot. the thing that's amazing, barry clifford, his investors, to the state have not sold a single piece of eight, dubloon, cannon, nothing. which i think is amazing. one other nasty pirate who want to pray off the american coast during this period was the despicable and arguably mentally deranged and edward low, ned low, i talked about him before. the guy who had the flag with the harpoon and the skeleton. he seemed to relish torturing and killing his victims. one of his signature moves was cutting off peoples ears or lips, roasting them, and then forcing the
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victim to eat their own flesh. by the way, he was much nastier than blackbeard. there's almost no evidence of black beer doing anything violent towards anybody. when the captain of one of the ships low caught had the temerity to cut the rope holding a bag of gold that was hovering over the surface of the water, when you cut that rope and let the gold plunge into the depth, when low found out about that, he shot the captain. and all 32 members of his crew. another time when low seized cast of wine and brandy from a captured vessel, its captain ask of low to be so kind to read a sentence or two so he could give to the owner of the ship. that would show that low had taken it, and that the captain hadn't sold it and
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pocketed the profits. low agreed and said it be right back with what the man requested. a few minutes later, low returns with two loaded pistols, presenting one at the captain's bowels, he told the petrified man, this was for his wine. then discharged at. he pointed the other pistol at the captains head saying, this one is for your branding, and fired. low was also a pirate that forced a marble head man, a fisherman name philip ashton, to join his crew in the summer of 1722. ashton however was able to escape and make his way to an uninhabited islands called roe roatan in the bay of honduras. it is about 40 miles on the honduran mainland. he stay there for almost two years before he was picked up by a
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ship from salem and brought back home. after returning to marble head, ashton saga of suffering and endurance became the top of new england. one reason why ashton's story struck suction accord was that it came in the wake of daniel defoe's wildly popular robinson crueso, which appeared and 1719. ashton was a real life robinson crew so. now, one thing that didn't happen during this period was this. walking the plank. no pirates during the golden age are known to have done this to any of their victims. why would they? there are plenty easier ways to kill somebody. you could shoot them, run them through with the cutlass, or just pitch them over the side of the ship. there are a few instances of pirates forcing people to walk the plank. those took place in the early 1800s, in the caribbean, when there was another outbreak of piracy, mainly off the islands of cuba and puerto rico. the second and very bloody period of piracy came to an end in the mid 1720s
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when the number of pirates plummeted to an insignificant level. of the many factors contributing to this decline, one was colonial resolve to fight piracy at sea williamsburn and charleston colonial officials condemned 68 men to the gallows and if you look at the broader atlantic more than 400 pirates were hanged. another critical determinant was britain's increased efforts to eliminate pirates throughout the atlantic using a combination of pardons stricter laws and force force executions and the eradication of the pirate strong hold at nasa on new in the bahamas. the last pirate to be hanged during this period was william fly and a few of his men fly had plundered a number of ships off the east coast, but he got too greedy.
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he had too many prisoners on board. they inspired rose up took over the ship put flying as men and chains sailed to boston where they were put on trial the pirates were executed on july 20 in july of 1726 at the edge of boston harbor after the execution their bodies were rode out to nix's mate a very small island. it's not an island today, but it was back then and flies to compatriots were buried but fly himself was hung up in chains. and the local boston paper said that the reason that he was hung up and chains was to serve as a spectacle for the warning of others, especially seafaring men, but the warning was hardly necessary flies spectacular bloody and brief heretical campaign was the last gasp of the golden age of piracy and
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this is where my book ends as well. the pirates depicted in black flags blue waters blaze the fiery and unforgettable path through the history of colonial america for centuries their turbulent destructive and fascinating lives have beguiled horrified and entertained us leaving an indelible and unique mark on our culture. undoubtedly, there will be more pirate movies. i hope better ones books and television shows in the future many of which will perpetuate myths or create them anew but in the end there is no need to embellish the history of these pirates for what they did actually did was amazing enough now, i have three more slides. it's become a tradition of mine with my books to have my daughter paint a picture that relates to the book and towards
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the end of writing black flags blue waters. my daughter painted this very small painting. it's three by four inches about and she said this is a pirate looking for his next victim and i didn't have the heart to tell lily at the time. although i've told her since that i think she was too heavily influenced by my wailing book because no no, you know, a self regarding pirate would be in a pirate ship that says boxy and slow moving is this one likely is this looks just like a whaling ship to me. but anyway, that picture is in the book. and this is really what pirates did during their downtime. it says jazzercise lito deck 4 pm and the last slide i have is a picture of my new book, which i have to give a plug to it's coming out of may 31st. it relates to pirates in the sense that part of the reason i'm i wrote this book is when i gave talks on black flags blue waters, i would invariably get a
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question our pirates the same as privateers or our privateers just legalized pirates. so i started reading more about privateering and yes privateering in the 1600s 1500 early 1700s. it did look a lot like piracy sometimes but privateering during the american revolution was absolutely not legalized piracy and what fascinated me and totally blew me away is how important of a role nearly 2,000 privateers and that's ships. they're almost 40,000 privateers men. a during the war in helping us win our battle against britain. so anyway that is the end of my talk? i'm happy to answer any questions you might have and thanks for coming out under these trying circumstances.
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thank you. thank you eric. so if you have questions and raise your hand kelly will seek you out and if you'll stand and ask your question, i'd be good. yes, you spent a lot of time telling us about power to. after they repires they got their money and then they got drunk or such or saturn. they were killed. do you know any that she got their money their name became? respectable citizens and live whatever life until they passed them. i wish i could say i knew a lot about that. they're undoubtedly. we're at especially in the during men who came back and were welcomed by their community was much of us likely during the pirates of the caribbean phase of the problem is none of these pirates successful or not wrote memoirs once they melted back into society. most of them came from the lower
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rungs of society to begin with once they melted back into society. you don't have a lot of echoes about them society history, especially back then is written by about important people or notorious people. so the pirates got caught and got put on trial we have trial records. we have depositions. we know a lot about them not so much about their early life, but the pirates that made a couple thousand pounds maybe and decided to go back to bristol, rhode island and give back with their wife or whatever and their kids and start a farm. we know very little very very little about any of them henry avery. he survived there was a global manhunt. they never found him, but there's no record of what actually happened to him. we know he was never found. he was never hanged. he's never tried and there are theories that he just resettled some place in england and different stories about what happened to him, but we have absolutely no. idea, and i wish you know if i get a drink with some of these
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pirates i can get some really good information, but it's very frustrating. it's big. it was very nice that there were so many trials and this is just that just at the period when the united states when the colonies not the united states and england started to really publish their pirate trials. so we have that record to pull from but in terms of knowing what they did the many pirates that must have come home and not been hanged. i don't know they could be our great great. great. great great great great grandparents. i mean, i'm sure some of them are. in the back and you're talking about the various pirate and pirate myths. did they ever leave someone on a deserted island with a gun and a couple of bullets? and yes. yes that actually did happen a number. there are a number of instances where that very thing is is mentioned marooning. i'm not sure they always left them with the bullet and some
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balls, but there were unruly pirates that were sometimes kicked off the crew by their fellows and left in very dangerous positions. there was one part when i talked about john quelch when he went down to the caribbean and not the caribbean we went down off brazil during their gold rush and was plundering ships. there was a danish pirate who they met along the way one of the ships they plundered he decided he wanted to become a pirate. but they need demanded a bigger cut of the share and the other guy said forget that and they just dropped them off on an uninhabited part of the south american coast. who knows what happened to him? excellent talk excellent. thank you. so two questions actually my first how would you characterize or describe blackbeard's relationship to caesar? because he does briefly come up in the book and this is something i'm personally trying
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to find more out about in regard to race and slavery amongst piracy. i did not find much more than the couple of references to caesar, especially in the final battle on ocracoke island. i don't i don't think anybody's written tried to write a book about caesar. although people have tried have written books about ann bonnie mary reed, even though there's only a page and a half of real information on and they've written entire books. i don't know much more what i know about the pirates interactions with black men of the time and well i get to women in a second but black men of the time it's very limited. they're mentioned once in a while. they definitely are mentioned his crew crew members. they also are very often sold to make money for the pirates but black women. it's very interesting madagascar. there are a lot of descendants on madagascar the pirates used to hang out there for a number of years and they had sex with local women.
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and so there are people in madagascar who can trace their lineage back to the ellie 1700s when these white predominantly white pirates came along had sex with local women and then left. but if you find anything more about caesar, i mean, that would be fascinating. yeah in my in my private hearing book. i have a pretty decent section on slavery because there was an interact there was a strong intersection between privateering and slave ships and there's a great book coming out on that and about a month or two, but if you can find that kind of stuff, it's great because it gives you another perspective on history that we all think we know about because just like poor people don't show up on our history books a lot black people, especially in the 1700s and early 1800s. don't show up a lot or insubstantial ways where we can really give a profile and say something important about them. okay, and second question is
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education is kind of ith in this new time period especially education amongst pirates there have been some accounts. i think that describe blackbeard is pretty being a pretty somewhat educated highly educated individuals there any truth behind this. i mean regard to his like early life as upbringing that would give some truth behind this notion. not sure about how educated he was proof. there's some people think he was a privateer during the war the spanish succession. there's some people think he was born in jamaica. there's some people think he was born in north carolina. there's some people think he was born in bristol england. there are different theories. i haven't seen the definitive. in detailing of his early life, so it's very hard to say much about him, but i have no doubt that a number of pirates were educated. i mean certainly as well educated is the average person of the day whether they were as educated as steve bonnet was for
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example an aristocrat. i doubt that that was quite common, but they were just like their fellow -- of the era people who went to see and were before the masked or weren't the officers and weren't the head guys. they often had very minimal education, but you have to remember back then. a lot of people didn't go to school at all. i mean they had very different kinds of careers. they were physical labor again if you can find more maybe it's out there. it would be wonderful if there was a great journal or something that nobody's found that gives us greater insights and i have no doubt that something will be found but a lot of people have poured over the records of piracy. and i didn't see anything that would substantiate his scholarly. bent hi, you had mentioned a couple of times that there were kind of a mix of people that went into piracy sort of their
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eyes open voluntarily others were sort of dragooned into it. right and you also mentioned that there was a kind of an egalitarian mood on the ships where they shared everything and but you also mentioned there was sort of a discipline. i guess was it was it more common that the crews were sort of cohesive and and you know shared out or was there more was it more common that you had sort of a strong leader that controlled everything and that there was a significant portion of people that were there because that was what they were forced to do as opposed to their choice all the above. i mean there there are examples of pirates getting into brawls amongst each other voting captains in and out. there are examples of men who were forced to join becoming very active participants and eager pirates. there are examples of men who are forced to join and escaped in various ways or ultimately killed because they wouldn't be
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subservient to the other pirates and sort of fall into line. i could imagine. i mean based on the accounts that we have sometimes the pirates got along quite well, especially when they were totally drunk and they were just in between plundering or if they were doing well, but they're also examples in the history of pirates attacking each other killing each other getting into fights. i think a lot of it depended on the quality of the leader and again here people like to well i'm too my wife always tells me i'm too literal. maybe that's why i write history not fiction. i once wrote a murder mystery. i showed it to my agent. he told me to stick with nonfiction, but i'm very literal so the but people take small things that they find out about pirates and expanded. i think there's even a book. there's an article written on blackbeard's captain abilities sort of like the seven. effective habits of highly effective people whatever that
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is, and there's whole article written on how blackbeard maintained order and it was fascinating article, but based on what i read about blackbeard. there's really very little information about how he actually ran his ships. and again, those aren't the kinds of details that come out in in trials what they mostly talk about is who they attacked where they attack them what they got whether they killed somebody but once in a while you get a glimmer of that and some of these pirate captains must have been good in the sense good leaders because a lot of them remain the captain for many months or even years and on a captain ship the pirates code you could be voted in and out and there are examples of that as well. so you can imagine if you had a leader who wasn't leading you to much treasure or you didn't like very much the crew just vote that person out. so some of them must have had some good leadership skills. again, getting back to that comment about the guy said i i
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hated pirates and other thing you mentioned democracy. this is something i deal with in the book. there was a comment that but one of sam bellamy's med and then made once where he said to somebody they were plenty they were plundering there on ship and he said we're like robin hood's men and from that one comment, a lot of people have said well, they were really democratic they were taking to the rich to give to the poor. no, they weren't they were taken from whoever they could to give to themselves. they weren't, you know, going through nottingham wood and they were they weren't democratic warriors. they weren't the predecessors of the democratic ideals that we talk about during the american revolution. although certainly not fully realized or the french revolution when it started and a lot of people want to take these little nuggets of information we have about the pirates and the fact that they had a somewhat. you know quote unquote democratic system, which is fascinating, but they were not.
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democratic philosophers, they were not political philosophers. so you have to sort of keep them in their own lane and not make them more of what they were even calling the republic of pirates. not the book, but they called jamaica and and nasa on the bahamas this little pirate republic. well, yes, it was it was a gathering place for pirates. they maybe had some form of loose government there. i haven't watched black sail so i don't really know what they talk about there, but it was not a breakaway republic. they were not trying to establish a new country. they just wanted to place to repair to in between plundering and hopefully had this place be all their own for as long as possible so they can continue robbing people at sea now just because i don't particularly like pirates in the sense that i don't think they're good people. i love them because they're fascinating to write about because a lot of great stories. so i guess we will be looking for a book on piracy as a model
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for modern business leadership from you anytime soon. no. as leaders act like pirates all the questions and he had you see any kelly. all right seeing god. i'll ask you a couple of quick questions myself, okay? did pirates really dress like captain sparrow? did they wear flashy clothes? yes, when they i'm not sure they dress exactly like camden sparrow jack sparrow, but it is true and we do have records of this that once they plundered a ship on board. there might be jewels or jeweled scabbards or silk or nice uniforms or clothes or jackets. they would often put those on and some of them were quite flamboyant and was sort of their way of giving the middle finger to society the society that they were outcasts from so it is definitely true. there's one account of thomas
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too a pirate and apparently he had this blue silk brocade and he had a bandolier of pistols and he wore fancy rings or rubies in them and he had a scabbard on one of his swords that had gemstones. so yes, we do have some record that people would dress a little bit like jack spar. even maybe more flamboyantly, but you have to remember regular -- of the time merchant --, you know, they were you know big pantaloons, so you call them or they were things that were sometimes colorful not quite to the extent of jack sparrow. so yes, that's sort of true. but about barry tragedy they have a bury their treasure. no, there's not a single record of any pirate bearing the treasure. that doesn't mean there's not it's not out there. but if you watched oak island again, i only watch one episode and it was so boring. i i don't know how they strung it out for so many seasons and
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they never really found the treasure from i understand, but there's not a single shred of evidence that a pirate ever buried their treasure on land and then left. why would they first they may never get back there, you know their life was short and brutish and who knows that they're gonna get back. second they might find it difficult to get back there just navigationally and third wouldn't they be worried about somebody doubling back or somebody else stealing their treasure? so if you find a real example of somebody who's buried treasure? that would be wonderful. well lastly. and now you don't like them very much. understandably the size would be a good topic to write about. but who's your favorite pirate? oh, yeah. this gives you a great insight in my war personality. my favorite pirate is ned lowe. the guy who cut people's noses and ears off just because he was so out there and so crazy and so
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horrific and his story is was so much fun to write again this i'm giving you a unintentional window into my personality. it was fun to write because it had so much energy and so many people were killed and so many people were treated poorly and then he got his sort of just desserts in the end and it just a fascinating story. because he was he was one of the worst pirates that i encountered. i didn't find blackbeard that interesting to tell you the truth. i found what has been written about blackbeard more interesting than blackbeard himself. yeah, i was i was surprised your book that i don't know much about piracy, but i was surprised how little. blackbeard seem to engage in really yes, he was all nice. he was only as somebody's wrote about him said that he's like a meteor streaking through the sky. he was only his piracy career only lasted about a year and a half. and at the end from all that we
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know he didn't accumulate a lot of money. in fact when he blockaded charleston harbor he had the entire city under his thumb. he captured five ships. he had four ships himself. he had about 400 pirates and all he asked for was a medicine chest instead of asking for money or ransom. he stole some money from some of the ships that he was he had out in the water, but he asked for a medicine chest and the thinking is that a lot of his men probably got syphilis or some venereal disease and the medicine chest had mercury and some things that he could treat it with now the other argument is if he had gone in an attack, charleston. he probably would have been destroyed. i mean because there are enough people in charleston and there were enough cannons and they're enough guns that it wouldn't have been easy to take over charleston, but i am surprised that he didn't ask for some serious money because the governor was scared to death of what was going to happen because his reputation preceded him, but
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he didn't well, it's edge to you here in frank spark. is it not true that perhaps his main nemesis was a person associated with with this area that is government spotswood. right after yeah, he went he's he's the guy he's the impetus behind the final denouement right of blackbeard in listening the british naval officers in their ships to go down and get them at thatch's hole and ocracoke island. yeah. he was a fascinating guy and one of the things that's fun is i have facebook page and i talk about my books and i talk about history stuff and nature and whatever's of interest and a lot of people read my books follow the page. and there's one guy. i can't remember his name now, but he's a descendant direct descendant of spotswood and he's added some information for me, but i didn't know but he's a really interesting character and they're been a couple of books written about him. so, yes, okay. well pretty much out of time.
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so we'll conclude tonight's program with many. thanks once again to eric for terrific presentation. and yes and like all of you for being here and good evening evee
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again. welcome to atlanta history center's virtual author talk series. my name is claire haley and i'm the vice president of public relations and programs for atlanta history center is absolutely my pleasure to welcome you to tonight's author talk. we are so lucky to be joined by adolf reed who will be discussing his book the south jim crow and it's after lives and he will be in discussion in conversation tonight with jim oaks if you have not yet purchased your coffee of the book. you can see all of my marks in here. i highly recommend that you do so they'll be a


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