Research on the "Pirate's Sunset"
Tagged: pirates historical research
April 22, 2016 at 7:49 pm #2545
Hello Ladies and Gentlemen, MK Here…
For sometime I have intended to start a forum focusing on historical research and discussion. Its apparent from comments I have received and some user backgrounds, that many of you are much more interested in the historical content I post than with anything related to our video game development.
Recently I posted to Pyracy Pub. I have been reading and lurking there since 2011 and I joined in 2013, however I had never bothered posting or participating there until the last couple of months.
What drove me to this was three things:
1. There are some pretty intelligent fellows over there and there have been some really good historical discussions and excellent answers provided by some known scholars.
2. I have been writing my own book on Piracy for almost ten years and its finally almost complete. I have several chapters that still require polishing and areas (foot notes) requiring a little more research to adequately underpin my observations/conclusions. My final chapter entitled “Pirates Sunset” in tribute to Sid Meiers, is not finished and I need more dirt to complete it. I will talk more about this below.
3. There seems to be a bias by the “pirate community” at large towards the last vestiges of piracy during the so called “Golden Age of Piracy” immortalized by the stories of the rounders and the haunts of Nassau and New Providence circa 1715-1726. I find a lot of ignorance in this bias and some really bad scholarly dismissals of the times before as not being nearly so important or interesting in study as this preferred time-frame. This clearly bothers me and so I mean to “even the odds” a little through some additional education and focus on the really exciting events and personalities of the time before, which English speaking scholarship seems to over-generalize and sloppily label as “The age of buccaneers” primarily because of Exquemilin’s broad writing about the era.
I am seeding this historical forum with this first discussion to get things going, but I would really like to see historically mided members who are pirate/age of sail afficionados – (or even neophytes interested in simple answers to historical questions) start their own forum threads with their own questions here.
For now my first question regards my desire to complete my chapter on the “Pirate’s Sunset”. I want to know about pirates of the 1730s and if there even was such a thing. I am beginning to believe that pirates of the 1730s may just be unicorns or myths.
Here below quoted is my query to the forum on Pyracy Pub and below the question are links to the historical discussions I took part in, in which I have received very little help. So now I throw this out in our own community, hoping that some member or passers-by, or new members might join in the discussion and help me find what I am looking for!……
FROM PYRACY PUB: “Ladies and Gentlemen I am writing a book on piracy and have developed an analytical graph showing piratical activity with some additional bell curves thrown in illustrating increases in certain types of trading by different maritime countries over time – beginning in the 1620s. The piratical activity graph line peaks in the late 1670s/early 1680s and then another smaller peak occurs from the mid 1690s to 1715.
So we know that the last notable acts of piracy committed by notable and known pirates occurred in 1725-26. We also know that the pirates last major refuges were gone by 1719 and the ones left were forced to become “rounders” haunting the west African backwaters like the Kingdom of Whydah, but what do we know about the few that continued on???
We know that employment for honest seamen in the late 1720s into the 1730s was on an amazing rise from what it had been and that ship-building boomed on the Atlantic coast ensuring plenty of work.
We know that naval presence also increased in the Americas and that privateering was at a low point because no one was at war until the War of Jenkins Ear starting in 1739.
SO….What I want to know is: Have any of you here happened onto names, places, ships, actions, activities, insurance, harbor or lading documents, criminal trial documents, death warrants or execution proceedings – PROVING piratical actions after 1726 and at anytime during the 1730s before the War of Jenkin’s Ear?
I desperately want to know who these men were. Were there merchant captains that lost perishable cargoes and saw an easy target that could make up the loss and no one on their crew would tell? Were there some places in remote corners in Africa where some of these small time hold outs were able to act and achieve any sort of fame, wealth, or even just a living for their ship and crew?
Who were the pirates that still existed in the 1730s? ….and what were their motives for piracy? Please tell me. I desperately want to know so that I can complete my chart and even possibly have some additional material for the end of this period in the book.
Thank you in advance.
EDIT: I am not interested in Mediterranean or Barbary piracy – only Caribbean/West Indies/Brazil, West African, or East Indies examples.”
June 28, 2017 at 8:39 am #4168
Hey MK cant really help you with this as i know very little about it but thought i should leave a comment to get this recirculating, any updates on the book? Would definitely buy it if your previous articles are anything to go by and just wanted to say thanks for putting in the time to write these for amateur historians such as myself. Are there any other time periods that interest you? An update on the history lesson section would be awesome haha
P.S The fact you have been referencing books on the topic adds a certain legitimacy to your writing that is appealing to a certain demographic, i think with the right marketing this site could have a lot more followers
June 28, 2017 at 8:41 am #4169
Also the comments section on MKS History Lesson is down and i couldn’t reply to anything, I don’t know if this was intentional on your behalf or not.
June 29, 2017 at 12:05 am #4170
Thanks for the interest. You are certainly a rare bird to comment on my historical research endeavors. Few seem to be interested sadly. Until I am actually published myself, (beyond magazine articles, military journals and academic conference competition papers) I am right there with you as an amateur historian. Hopefully professional soon though!
As far as my book(s) go, it is a never ending joy and torture simultaneously. I am my own worst enemy. I have one book on philosophy that I have been writing for almost 30 years and its still not complete. For about 10 years I shelved it with the attitude that it would be arrogant for me to assume that I could tell anyone anything useful about living or morality when not only did I not have it(life) figured out myself, but was such a pathetic hypocritical example to emulate.
Friends and family encouraged me to pick the work back up but I find that half of what I wrote to now be useless after a lifetime of experience. So as I think of new ideas I just jot them down. The last third of the book is nothing still but an ordered outline yet that I slowly fill in with special sauce.
As far as the book on Piracy goes, it has been over a decade of effort now. I have found a lot more time to dedicate to it because it has been a passion of mine to dig deeper and deeper. I have found so many excellent stories and battles and places and historical personalities that other English speaking historians have hardly noticed at all. This is part of my problem, I keep finding new things to put into the book. I firmly believe that when finished, my work will be the most comprehensive and in-depth study of colonial expansion, competition/defense, maritime support of that expansion/competition and the concurrent criminal and state sponsored piracy that accompanied all of it – ever written.
I have four trips planned in the next year(or two) to the Netherlands, Spain, the Caribbean and the Yucatan in order to complete the research for the book. In each instance archival evidence that will support claims I am making need to be carefully examined and entered as research resources. This is essential not only to finishing, but also to being taken seriously by any historical academician that might read it. Not only do I lack a PhD (on the bucket list), but you see – history like so many other disciplines has a crony arrogant strata which will reject any author who does not belong to their special hoity-toity club from a select group of higher institutions. My family and I were just in Scottsdale AZ a couple weeks ago for a funeral and one of the few light points of the visit was that my son coined a new acronym for the residents of Scottsdale. He said they all suffer from HTD syndrome. This means Hooty Tooty Douchee syndrome. These places I name suffer badly from HDT just like the people in South Park from San Fran who smugly snif their own flatulence in champagne glasses. LOL
Don’t get me wrong, I do want to be taken seriously, but not by the likes of them. I will send a copy to some of my favorite authors and mentors for review and even find out if any of them are willing to write a Forward for me. If I got the notice of Karl F. Marx and his approval alone, I would consider my work such a great success because no other scholar on the subject and period has inspired me as much as he. David Marley is a close second just for his archival research alone. I have been on a crusade to find one of Marley’s out of print works for the longest time now and find I cannot completely finish my chapter on the great Laurens de Graaf until I finish perusing the archive at Merida as well as make a complete photo copy on my next trip north from a university library where I finally located a copy of Marley’s, “Sack of Veracruz: The Great Pirate Raid of 1683”.
This book has more information on Dutch piracy, pirates and privateers than any other book ever written – even more than Virginia Lundsford’s “Piracy and Privateering in the Golden Age Netherlands” which has been an excellent secondary source in my research.
All this to say that I think the book still needs three more years to be finished. My estimate is one year(+) more of travel/research, another year finishing the editing, index and bibliography, and another to get it printed through a good publisher and distributed.
So to answer some of your questions/comments. There are many more articles coming in various stages of completion. I rarely do any writing of any single piece without having half a dozen others open at the same time. The site is undergoing an update right now, you just can’t see any of it right now because I haven’t told it to display. In another day or so there will be lots of new stuff up to read. I do have other periods of interest. I am well balanced in all of western history. My passion for some years has been the era surrounding the wars of Reformation up through the Golden Age roughly 1480-1720. I also love the Carolingian Renaissance, the late Byzantine era and the North American Indian Wars/Civil War/Old West-pioneer expansion time-frames. I have many old papers both graduate and undergraduate (some prize winners) that have the makings/beginnings of some great books on these other historical subjects as well. Been sticking with the piracy lately because something just resonates with me there in the last decade since I have lost all trust in our current western model of corporations in bed with privately owned central-bank run governments. There is a better way.
As far as the comments go, I have tried to open them up numerous times, but the clunky wordpress anti-spam software constantly closes them again. I would love comments. When the new website is built in a couple more months, I will have all of that properly sorted out.
Lately (the last month) because of severe depression, I have stopped writing the book. I find myself writing poetry – something I have never done before. I even thought about starting a thread called MK’s Poetry Corner (That’ll be a popular thread EH!!!) LOL
Here is a selection of my most recent….
By Aaron R. Shields
A backhoe in corner with bucket wet
Rarely washed but with purpose yet
Oft not considered or so it seems
Long taking work from ditch digging teams
With power to move both stump and mass
Cuts scars in the earth now covered with grass
Daily it moves in its usual gear
Dredging up soil ordered furrow near
Six feet below is the depth it goes
The seeds of our dearest departed it soes
Filling up graves now marked with stones
With treasure below of charished bones
A BELLY FULL OF FOREVER
By Aaron R. Shields
My belly full,
my weight like a bull,
I move to lay myself down
To think a spell,
and sleep not well,
whilst in dark hours I doth drown
My troubled dreams,
present tangled streams
in fate yet ahead not found
I wake so sad
in tears nearly mad
and wonder at a sound
that stirs me up
to see my gut
as I struggle to my feet
what wonder is this
I’m thin and in bliss
my friends are all around
from my bed I fall
its naught at all
a snore that broke my sleep
I work and live
I love and I give
my new friends books that I keep
as time rolls on
I just mow the lawn
and know the time will get darker
the clock ticks wrong
my time less strong
my thoughts and days grow shorter
A plot awaits
with earth displaced
where unknowingly I will enter
My only hope
for my spirit to cope
my heart given free to our Savior
For with faith unbound
Put down in that ground
it shall not be my final space
For my soul will rise
High above the skies
to dwell in a far better place
…to dwell in a far better place…
True purpose found
and friendship abound
Judgement with total forgiveness
Darkness cast down
Distant memory now
Forever in pure happiness
A Final Retirement
By Aaron R. Shields
A lonely dark angel moves down to his place
Long given up in assaulting our race
His brothers now wonder at whence he has gone
In former times his presence so strong
He sighs as he opens a long dusty case
and gazes upon implements decaying in waste
An old broken hourglass askew on its side
Its contents blown windward as sands of the tide
Beside lays worn handle with attachment still there
a harvesting blade of ancient despair
Its grim cur’ved surface now dull with neglect
dried edge thick rusted, bloody function long checked
The sythe a reminder of sin that once was
Mortality and pain now replaced by the Dove
Up to the window of time he doth look
No longer collecting the souls he once took
Brutality – inequity both great and small
replaced with perfection, pure contentment for all
The spirit and body now one and the same
great debt paid in full by the One who was slain
defeating the angel by rising again
and raising us with Him – redeeming all men
Making the slayer’s old task obsolete
With death now retired and heaven complete
Disturbing no? Ever since my nephew died I have been in a very dark place. Our game helps me escape so much…
- This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by modernknight1.
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