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Golden Age of Piracy

A pirate attack on a Spanish vessel, 1715

The Golden Age of Piracy lasted from approximately 1650 to before 1730, during which there were several major outburtsts of pirate activity across the world's oceans. The first outburt occurred from 1650 to 1680, when buccaneers from England and France based on Jamaica and Tortuga targeted Spain's Caribbean and Latin American colonies and shipping, with the English and French governments allowing for these pirates to attack their common enemy, Spain. During the 1690s, pirates embarked on long-distance voyages from the Americas to attack Muslim and British East India Company vessels in the Indian Ocean in the "Pirate Round". The last outburst occurred in the aftermath of the War of the Spanish Succession (which had ended in 1713), when former British Royal Navy sailors and privateers turned to piracy to continue making money by plundering enemy ships. The North American eastern seaboard, the Caribbean, West Africa, and the Indian Ocean were locations of pirating actions from 1716 to 1726, but the quelling of the Nassau Republic uprising in the second half of 1718 and the European powers' bolstering of their fleets led to a decline in piracy. By 1719, the pirates were on the run, and the Golden Age did not outlast the 1720s.

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