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The Pirate History Podcast

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A podcast about the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean, the real men and women that threatened the trade and stability of the Old World empires, the forces that led them to piracy and the myths and stories they inspired.

A podcast about the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean, the real men and women that threatened the trade and stability of the Old World empires, the forces that led them to piracy and the myths and stories they inspired.
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A podcast about the Golden Age of Piracy in the Caribbean, the real men and women that threatened the trade and stability of the Old World empires, the forces that led them to piracy and the myths and stories they inspired.




Episode 73 - Threads of Gold

Today we discuss the Jewish population of Jamaica after most of the Catholics left. Then we'll talk about the first of two major figures in world politics that would influence their fate. It's a big picture episode, discussing how the Protestant Reformation, the Ottoman overthrow of the Dracula Dynasty, and an agent of the French king all play into the lives of the twenty Jewish families left on Jamaica.


Episode 72 - Jewish Pirates of the West Indies Part 1

The Jewish Pirates of the West Indies have their roots in the Sephardi Jews of Spain. Today we tell their story from the destruction of the second temple in 70 CE to their arrival on Jamaica in the company of Christopher Columbus.


Episode 71 - Dice for Your Life

In 1697 France was at war, and had been for almost a decade. French artists, sculptors, dramatists and authors were encouraged to produce works that would bolster French spirits. It was propaganda. One of those authors was a former buccaneer ten years removed from his last pirate voyage, Raveneau de Lussan. His story was filled with everything the French fighting man could want. Valor, bravery, victory, spoils, and the charms of fair maidens. Today we poke holes in that story as the second...


Episode 70 - Truth & Lies

Spring 1687. The pirates in the Pacific had been away from home for more than two years. They longed for Port Royal, or Tortuga, or anywhere they could sleep easy. Before they could return though, they needed one big prize.


Episode 69 - These New Turks

In April 1687 everyone in our story arrives at Drake's Isle. The French freebooters, the English corsairs, and a Spanish Naval Squadron sent to destroy them all.


Episode 68 - In a Word, Freebooters

The French privateers in Nicaragua found themselves at the mercy of - and at peace with - the Spanish army outside Leon. They were given orders, from the peace signed by Louis XIV, to attack the enemies of Catholicism. Which they did. Sort of. But starvation, poverty, and a thirst for vengeance led them back to Spanish shores.


Episode 67 - A Noisome Smell

The Buccaneers in the pacific were at an impasse. The coast of Nicaragua was preparing an army against them, and they had to get back to sea as quickly as possible. However, what to do once they were back on the water? Today we look at that decision, all while discussing the conquistadors, Medieval manufacturing practices, linguistics, and some disgusting medical details.


Episode 66 - Swan Song

1685 would be a reliable date for the end of the Buccaneer era of the Golden Age of Piracy. For the English pirates in the Pacific, they were fighting the last real buccaneer fight of their careers. However, buccaneering was, traditionally, a French occupation. The English were part timers. After 1685 most of them that chose to continue the trade would do so full time. Only now they wouldn't be privateers or Buccaneers, but outright pirates.


Episode 65 - Knavery

1685 saw the last great, and ultimately failed, piratical raid of the buccaneer era. A multinational armada of pirates sailed for Panama bay to capture the Spanish Treasure Fleet and were defeated. The aftermath saw the fleet disperse along national allegiances. Today we look at the national loyalties that drove this division and how they were beginning to crumble.


Episode 64 - People of Desperate Fortunes

Our small fleet of English pirates was at an impasse, when several pieces of good fortune fell into their laps. First, a treasure trove of letters carrying news of a prize worthy of a king, and then the men needed to capture it. We introduce them and tell their stories, and then follow the pirates to battle.


Episode 63 - Nostos & Kleos

What is it that drives people to piracy? Is it a lust for gold? A need to support themselves, and perhaps build a life? Or is there something more? Something that drives them to seek out notoriety and infamy? A desire to be remembered?


Episode 61 - Not Quite a Haven

What would it be like to spend three years in complete solitude, fighting for survival? Would it be better or worse if your only human contact came from other people trying to kill you? Today we discuss one man in that situation, and his rescue. Then we follow the pirates from the South Pacific to the Galapagos and beyond.


Episode 61 - More Willful & Less Under Command

In 1682, in the aftermath of the English Pacific Adventure, three crews prepared their ships for a new voyage to the Pacific. Charles Swan, John Eaton and Basil Ringrose arrived first, but they would soon be followed by John Cooke, Edward Davis, Lionel Wafer, & William Dampier.


Episode 60 - By the Will of God

We weave between the lines of truth and fiction. We explore ideas about prejudice, historiography, and social norms. Today we tell the story of the final days of Laurens de Graaf and Anne Dieu-le-Veut.


Episode 59 - The Tragedy of la Limonade

Today the war comes home to Cap‑Français. What was left of the French buccaneers on Saint-Domingue face off against a well armed, well organized Spanish Army.


Episode 58 - Fall of Titans

War arrives in the West Indies. Jan Willems, Anne, & Laurens de Graaf are each impacted in their own way. We discuss revenge, honor, and the end of a legend.


Episode 57 - A Parcel of Thieves

Laurens de Graaf sought revenge after the attack on his plantation. He hunted two Spanish privateers in particular - Juan Corso and Blas Miguel. He would find them, but Spain was sending reinforcements to deal with the pirate menace.


Episode 55 - Twilight of the Buccaneers Part 3

The Brethren of the Coast sail from Saint Dominique in one last flurry of high seas piracy. Are they the embodiment of Robin Hood? The Alamo? A metaphor for America? Maybe none of those. But their days of ruling the waves are finally at their end.


Episode 54 - The War of the Reunions

Christmas, 1683. King Louis XIV invaded The Holy Roman Empire in a bid to claim the western bank of the Rhine. At that exact moment Laurens de Graaf attacked one of the jewels of the Spanish Empire. He was called a pirate despite his Letter of Marque, but if so, his piracy was remarkably unprofitable and played perfectly into Louis' war aims.


Episode 53 - Twilight of the Buccaneers Part 2

The weeks following the raid on Veracruz were difficult for Laurens de Graaf and Michel de Grammont. Today we look at those weeks, and the initial fallout from the raid. Then we discuss the early days of a young woman named Anne, new to Tortuga, and what she may have gone through upon arriving on the island.