A vintage reel tape recorder on a pirate flag

Land of the Free, Home of the Bootleggers

When technology made music mobile, the American South changed from one type of bootlegging industry to another: copying and selling records.
Convicts in Sydney, Australia, 1830

Colonial Masquerade: Convict, Pirate, Gentleman, Con

The convict ships that colonized Australia carried people desperate to get out of their sentence. At least, that was true of Michael Stewart.
William Dampier

William Dampier, Pirate Scientist

An oft-overlooked explorer who traversed the globe, driven by his thirst for scientific discovery—and a love of piracy.
Captain Misson, described by Captain Charles Johnson as the founder of a fictional "pirate utopia" called Libertalia or Libertatia.

Return to Pirate Island

The history of piracy illustrates a surprising connection to democratic Utopian radicalism—and, of course, stolen treasure.
Illustration of Ferdinand Magellan

The Pirate-y Life of Ferdinand Magellan

Magellan’s voyage in search of the “Spice Islands” was marked by storms, sharks, and scurvy—plus multiple attempts at mutiny.
Bart Roberts pirate

The Pirate Creed

Examining the 18th-century social contract of Captain Bartholomew Roberts and his men shows just how organized and codified pirate societies could be.
Ching Shih Pirate

Cheng I Sao, Female Pirate Extraordinaire

Learn more about Cheng I Sao, a female pirate who dominated the coast of the Kwangtung Province between 1795-1810.
women pirates

Women Were Pirates, Too

Maybe you've never heard of Anne Bonny and Mary Read, but they were real-life women pirates who cross-dressed to get on ships.
Saint Malo's walled city as viewed from Dinard from the south-west.

The Codfish Pirates of Saint Malo

Saint Malo has sheltered scoundrels and villains for much of its history, including pirates, cod smugglers, and even Nazis.