The 5 Most Important Pirate Hideouts of All Time
A force to be reckoned with, especially during the 16th and 17th centuries, pirates continue to fascinate us today. But not even the great Blackbeard or Sir Henry Morgan would have been able to rule the seas without a proper hideout. Here are the most important pirate havens throughout history:
5. Newport, Rhode Island
Often referred to as â€œRogues Islandâ€, Newport was one of the main ports in North America, in the late 17th century. Piracy was considered a great way to boost local economy and ensure employment for sailors.
Under the protection of local leaders, like Governor Benjamin Fletcher, who would tell his superiors about his struggles against piracy, while entertaining characters the likes of Thomas Tew and Captain William Kidd. Eventually, the English saw through his lies and stripped him of his duties, in 1698. Not long after, with more and more commercial ships arriving in Newport, the help of pirates was no longer necessary.
By 1720, pirates were hunted down and hanged. In Newport, the age of pirates had ended.
4. Ocracoke, North Carolina
With a population of around 800, the town of Ocracoke may not look very special, but it was once the home of Blackbeard, the greatest pirate that ever lived.
After wreaking havoc in the Caribbean and Western Atlantic, Blackbeard returned to North Carolina with his fellow pirates. But his wild lifestyle and crazy parties were not to be accepted by the Governor Spotswood of Virginia. He sent Lieutenant Maynard to deal with Blackbeard and, after a ferocious battle, the famous pirate was killed.
Nowadays, Ocracoke is famous as The Home of Blackbeard the Pirate.
3. New Providence, Bahamas
New Providence is now the most populated island of the Bahamas, but, during The Golden Age of Piracy, it was considered heaven by almost every corsair.
Abandoned by the English at the very beginning of the 1700s, New Providence and its main port, Nassau, proved a welcoming retreat for notorious pirates like Blackbeard, Henry Jennings, Samuel Bellamy and many others. Its shallow anchorage prevented warships from getting too close and the close trade routes and abundance of resources attracted cutthroats from all around the world.
Unfortunately for the pirates, the British found out about the characters inhabiting their former island and, with the help of pirate hunters, forced the pirates to find safe-haven somewhere else.
2. Tortuga, Haiti
Translated as â€œTurtle Islandâ€, Tortuga was one of the main centers of piracy. Named because of its turtle-like shape, this little island initially proved to be a great haven for meat traders, who realized piracy was much more profitable.
Just like the English did at Port Royal, the French used buccaneers to repel Spanish attacks. They even helped build a 24 cannon fort. The famous Henry Morgan began his successful career as a pirate on Tortuga and Francois Lâ€™Ollonais used it to perform his psychotic acts of torture and murder.
Tortugaâ€™s decline began after the year 1670, when most of the pirates moved to the more evolved Port Royal. Featured in the books of Rafael Sabatini and blockbuster hits like Pirates of the Caribbean, Tortuga attracts thousands of tourists every year.
1. Port Royal, Jamaica
Known as the â€œSodom of the New Worldâ€, during the Golden Age of Piracy, Port Royal was as rich as it was depraved. Perfectly located near the most important trade routes and being a great place to launch a raid on Spanish settlements, Port Royal quickly became a town full of pirates, cutthroats and prostitutes.
The British, who lacked the manpower to defend the city against the Spanish and the French, welcomed the pirates and relied on them to defend it. Port Royal was so economically evolved that people preferred to deal with coins rather than bartering goods for services.
Unlike other pirate havens, Port Royal cleaned itself up. After Henry Morgan became lieutenant governor, the town turned from a city of pirates to a dreaded place of execution. Pirates like Charles Vane and Calico Jack lost their lives here.