Blackbeard's Terror

Artifacts pulled from the wreck of Blackbeard's flagship Queen Anne's Revenge offer a glimpse into the bloody decades of the early 18th century, when pirates ruled the Carolina coast

Artifacts pulled from the wreck of Blackbeard's flagship Queen Anne's Revenge offer a glimpse into the bloody decades of the early 18th century, when pirates ruled the Carolina coastRead more »

The Shores Of Tripoli

OUR FIRST FIGHT AGAINST INTERNATIONAL TERRORISTS

The mission now confronting our nation—to transport a military force to a distant, hostile, Islamic country, subdue a brazen terrorist network, and put an end to the random slaughter and harassment of American citizens—may seem a daunting one. If it is any consolation, though, we have done it before.

William Kidd: Good Guy, Bad Guy

Most overrated:
Capt. William Kidd (c. 1645-1701) of New York City. His reputation as our outstanding pirate is a gross exaggeration, although he did hang for it. Had he been half the pirate his punishment suggested, Kidd would have left some valuable treasure buried somewhere.

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Barataria

With astonishing tenacity, the people of the rich river-mouth region of the Mississippi have remained what and where they are through two and a half centuries

Just a few decades more, or so we are told, and the process of the homogenization of America will have been completed. All regional personalities will have been sanitized out of existence, and the national culture will be a bland, predictable, and packaged product. Probably this is not a prospect we need immediately contemplate. This is a hell of a big country, as the poet Charles Olson said, and it will take considerably more time and enterprise before it can be so reduced.Read more »

The U.S. vs. International Terrorists

A Chapter From Our Past

Terrorists hijack an airplane and hold the passengers for ransom. A merchant ship is seized by the forces of a small, disorganized state. The United States retaliates. The ship and crew are rescued, but many lives are lost.

The Boys In The Boat

Remember in “Captain Blood” how the pirate Errol Flynn ended up with Olivia de Haviland? Well, forget it. According to B. R. Burg, an associate professor of history at Arizona State University, Captain Blood and his colleagues would not have been interested in Olivia de Haviland, or any other woman for that matter. In a paper delivered before the Organization of American Historians, Professor Burg concluded that the Caribbean pirates of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were homosexuals. (As for Errol Flynn, that’s another story.)

War Makes Thieves, Peace Hangs Them

In an era that condoned smuggling and lawbreaking the transition from privateer to pirate was easy

Piracy along the American coast began with legalized plunder. Sea warfare in colonial times was only partly an affair of navies. The rest was free private enterprise. If an individual adventurer could reap a fortune from a war, he had the satisfaction of knowing that his riches were patriotically gained.