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Pirates have been around longer than you think 


In “Way past retro” (July 12), Chris White-Sanborn wrote, “No pirates. The event is set in England in 1585. Pirates came 100 years later.”

Oh, really?

Mr. Rick Smith, media coordinator of the Central Coast Renaissance Faire, needs to brush up on his history of piracy if he wishes to stage an ‘historically correct’ faire.

Piracy has been prevalent since man first set foot in a boat and started to trade by sea. The earliest documented instances of piracy are the exploits of the Sea Peoples who threatened the Aegean and Mediterranean in the 14th century BC. The Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Romans were plagued by pirates plundering their merchant ships.

Smith might want to take notes on some dates pertaining to piracy.

• 1228: William de Briggeho is executed for piracy, the first recorded execution of a pirate in England.

• 1241: William Maurice, a wanted and convicted pirate, is the first man to be hanged, drawn, and quartered in England. That punishment was specifically “invented” as a penalty for those convicted of Piracy.

• Early to mid-1500s: Piracy off the coast of Great Britain was rife, especially off of the coast of Cornwall and Ireland.

• 1536: The English Parliament passes new legislation dealing with piracy that strengthens and clarifies existing law.

• 1549: English law extends the death penalty to anyone caught and convicted of aiding and abetting pirates.

• 1577: Queen Elizabeth I provides financial backing for pirate raids on Spanish ships.

• 1581: James Swift, the English Admiralty’s marshal, compiles a detailed report on piracy.

And one additional date of note, only three years after 1585:

• 1588, July 19: Capt. Thomas Fleming, wanted for piracy by the English, is the first to spot the Spanish Armada and sails to warn the English fleet. It is Fleming that reports the Spanish fleet to one Sir Francis Drake.

So piracy didn’t exist in 1585?

I respectfully suggest that Smith, and also the writer of the piece, White-Sanborn, need to return to school and re-take some history classes so that readers of New Times are not misinformed by such historically inaccurate articles.

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