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True Caribbean Pirates
True Caribbean Pirates @ The History Channel

What makes a pirate a pirate and not a privateer? Well here's the difference. One is sanctioned by their respected government, given Letters of Marque and they do not attack ships from their own country. The other harasses anyone who passes by, takes no prisoners and gives no quarter. Throughout history there are examples of privateers crossing the line from legitimate to illegal, and unless their home country was in the middle of delicate negotiations with the enemy, the home countries tended to ignore such lapses in morals.

One significant difference between Pirates and Privateers were the Articles of Piracy . Though pirates were lawless, they lived by a certain set of codes. The articles were drawn up by the crew, and everyone would then sign the contract that bound the ship together. The following is an example of the Articles of Piracy. These were the articles used by the ship Revenge which was commanded by Captain John Phillips.
They tended to live a warped version of profit-first democracy, and in no way did pirates like authority. Contrary to the book Treasure Island, most Captains didn't command by an iron fist, they commanded because of skill, daring, and the ability to win prize and booty. The Pirate ship elected its Captain through a vote. If the Captain fell in disfavor the crew were just as quick to maroon their captain, or throw him overboard, or perhaps if he were lucky they would just let him off at the nearest port.

Copy courtesy of Pirates of the Caribbean , in Fact and Fiction , Gibson, W. Tobias on {last updated January 2006} and Robert Ossian's Pirate Cove ,

True Caribbean Pirates @ The History Channel
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True Caribbean Pirates
The History Channel DVD:
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