Space and Time Project HIST289O: Major Piratical Events and People around the Globe
Space and Time Project HIST289O: Major Piratical Events and People around the Globe
Resurrection Men (1800s)
This was another nickname for body snatchers who would dig up graves and remove corpses from coffins with motives of selling it to an anatomy school for dissection or dissecting the body themselves. They were usually working-class men who tended to be in regular employment jobs but many became successful businessmen due to this business. Many others eventually became involved in criminal activities.
Bodysnatching continued to become a widespread issue in Britain; people were deeply afraid that their loved ones would not be at rest. There was a lot of controversy surrounding the moral and ethical implications of digging up a body and continued until the late 1800s.
Company of Surgeons (1800s)
Company of Surgeons was a guild of experts and people from professional organizations which included the most prestigious surgeons who carried out dissections. They were the only ones who were legally allowed to dissect a human body. They received a lot of backlash due to the moral views of society about mutilating a body that was previously “at rest”. Surgeons viewed themselves as laborers carrying out the law.
Many people felt that it was unfair for only the Company to perform dissections. Others were angry that this was acceptable in the science society leading to the New York Riot against dissections altogether.
Lin Zexu (1839)
In 1839, an opium crisis developed after the British started to trade opium with China. A Chinese scholar put in charge of the campaign against opium. He was named the drug tsar of Chinese government and Imperial Commissioner in Canton. He destroyed smoking equipment as well as the opium, demanded that addicts reform in a year or face execution, imprisoned and punished Chinese dealers and anybody involved. He called on British government to stop smuggling opium, threatened to behead Hong merchants, and instituted a trade embargo.
Due to Lin Zexu’s destroying of opium, the British started to attack Chinese ports which started a war between the two countries.
Anatomy Act of 1832 (1832)
This law required licensing of person who dissected bodies; Ended Company of Surgeon’s monopoly on legal dissection; required license for persons who kept records of dissected; ended practice of dissecting murderers as an attempt to remove stigma of dissection being a punishment. It also legalized turnover of bodies for dissection of anyone who died in prison, hospital, or workhouses if unclaimed by a relative after 72 hours. It legalized bequests of bodies for dissection and created the position of Inspector of Anatomy.
It still did not address the issue of selling body parts nor did it make disinterment of bodies illegal. This was especially concerning for the public.
Bai Ling (1809-1810)
His methods of exterminating piracy included coastal blockades by blocking coastal cities and using the navy to line ships along the harbor so nobody could come in and out of the ports without permission. The ongoing famine at this time made it extremely difficult for pirates to obtain provisions such as food and water during the blockades. Alliances with gentry (upper/middle class) who lost money/valuables to the pirates and alliances with the government proved especially effective. He also used help from the military to create walls around communities and hired guards to improve security of villages. Like many others, he offered amnesties and rewards to pirates who surrendered.
Previously, he was the Guangdong governor and was promoted to Governor general afterwards. He was overall successful with his war against pirates in the Guangdong province.
Henry Warburton (1832)
He created legislation designed to end body snatching in Britain. He recommended that government should set up system where unclaimed bodies of the poor would be sent to surgeons but not be limited to the hands of the Company of Surgeons. He argued that military services required dissections in order to know how to help men on the battlefields (amputations, wounds). His committee against bodysnatching concluded that two main problems existed; There was a pressing need for bodies to advance science and that Anatomists should not have to deal with resurrection men to obtain bodies.
Member of the Parliament in the late 1820s early 1830s. He was the one who drafted a bill for the Anatomy Act and introduced it into parliament for discussion.
Zheng Yi Sao (1800s)
After her husband’s death, she acted quickly to make sure she had support from the Zheng family. She collected harbor fees from fish markets and others or else they could be prone to attacks. During this time, the emperor initiated a peace policy asking pirates to surrender in exchange of pardons and rewards. She surrendered with a fleet of over 17,000 followers. Zheng Yi Sao was originally a prostitute on Canton’s floating brothels (flower boats) and played a key role in helping her husband Zheng Yi.
She was the wife of Zheng Yi, a pirate chief of the 7 most powerful pirate gangs along the South China sea. She was one of very few to comfortably retire from piracy.
High Tide of Chinese Piracy (1780-1810)
There were mostly commoner pirates and NO sea bans. Poverty and discrimination was rampant. Activities of these pirate gangs included extortion, raiding coastal villages, and exploiting captives. Most of their income was based on extortion. They generally shared loot (egalitarian qualities) and sometimes even used deception by dressing up as ordinary soldiers or merchants or fly a banner of a legitimate ship to obtain their prizes. Main goals included taking loot and captives (needed for labor and ransom). People were usually very poor and resorted to piratical activities as a means of income.
The behavior of the Chinese gangs during this time period strongly reflected that of Chinese society at the time. China had a violent government during the Qing dynasty and the death penalty was used frequently for a wide range of crimes.
12 Anne (1714)
This was a set of laws passed during Queen Anne’s rule in England. Ensuring a distressed ship without permission, obstructing the saving of a ship or goods, defacing owner ship marks on goods -->Fines or 12 months of jail. Deliberate wrecking (making holes in ship or stealing ship’s pump) --> Death penalty
Queen Anne; This was the start of the crackdown on piracy in England
War Against Pirates (1715-1730)
In 1717, the King announced that he would pardon them if they surrendered before September 1718 and they could keep their loot. During this time period, many laws against piracy were passed. There were many trials with judges and convicted criminals. Also during this time, the British navy stocked up on necessary weapons and materials to lead the fight against the pirates as well as gain support from the general public and law enforcement.
Pirates around the globe. Pirates often faced strong crackdowns by the British.
26 George II (1753)
Plundering, stealing, taking away goods belonging to a wrecked ship, beating or wounding with intent to kill or destroy survivors, obstructing the escape of survivors, deliberate wrecking (putting out false lights) --> death. Stealing of goods of small value without violence --> Fines and convicted of petty larceny.
King George II; Start of crackdown on pirates in England
1700 Piracy Law (1717)
1700 Piracy Law allowed pirate trials to be held anywhere in the British empire without a jury. This made it particularly easy for them to convict and execute them as well as punish collaborators. The trials were held under military law. George I offered a pardon to pirates who surrendered by letting them keep all of their loot. If they chose not to surrender, they were prosecuted with the full rigor of the law and put on the wanted list shown to the general public. Executions were held publicly as the bodies were chained to a stake afterwards and left at high-tide. Bodies were dissected for science.
British officials started to crack down on pirates to exterminate the activity.
Hong Merchants (Mid 1700s)
Britain wanted to reverse their trade deficit so they started to sell opium to China which would not only reverse the deficit but also balance in their favor. The English East India company would meet with these Hong merchants to sell opium. However, trade was considered illicit because the Chinese were only allowed to trade with other Chinese and foreign trade was only to be done by Hong merchants in Canton. Many trading also occurred along the South China Sea.
Hong merchants contributed to the war on drugs in China by accepting trade of opium for silver coins.
Articles of Capitulation (Mid 1500s-1600s)
Ottoman Empire and various European powers such as Venice, France, Spain, England, and Holland
A type of trade agreement that the Ottoman Sultan made with many of these agreements with different European states. Both sides agreed to respect the other’s borders. Europeans trading within the Ottoman empire could practice their own religion and were given access to consuls in times of need. Ottoman authorities would punish Muslim corsairs who attacked Europeans and refund the value of property taken from them by corsairs.
The agreement was made in hopes of deterring corsair attacks on the Ottoman empire.
Barbarossa Brothers (1400s-1500s)
Barbary Coast (Mediterranean)
Two brothers: Aruj and Hayreddin (Oruc and Hzur) worked for the Sultan as warriors against the Spanish and their specialty was attacking Italian merchant ships and the Knights of St. John. Hayreddin eventually so successful that he was appointed Admiral of entire Ottoman fleet in 1533. He conquered Algiers for Ottoman empire. Aruj was captured and worked as a galley slave for 3 years before he returned to his brother. The term “Barbarian” comes from corsairs along the Barbary coast because they were known for being savage and ruthless.
Successfully made corsairs major part of Ottoman state policy and integral part to Barbary coast’s economy and society.
Knights of the Order of St. John Hospitaller (1530-1798)
Originally set up in Jerusalem, moved main base many times
They thought of themselves as warriors for Christianity. Hired by Spain and Christian Island of Malta from 1530-1798. Malta was a pirate island and the Knights often hired pirates to serve them to defend Christian faith. They established rules such as no attacks on Christian ships (but sometimes they had to attack Christians but had to pass laws about it) and 9% of loot was given to the Knights who also got first pick for captives. They set up churches and hospitals for the poor and sick. Functioned as a political entity with a very good, fierce reputation.
Major motive was protecting Christianity and making profit.
Phase 1 of Western Piracy (1500s-1600s)
Age of the Gentlemen Pirates, “gentlemen privateers”. They were usually involved in short and long-distance piracy. Pirating was seen as a casual occupation when they could no longer make ends meet with their regular jobs. It was considered useful because it provided communities with cheap goods and employed locals who may have robbed their neighbors otherwise. Activities were mostly along the Atlantic coast and pirates were sponsored by state authorities, the government, or wealthy investors.
Mostly English and French pirates. First phase of Western Piracy
Francis Drake (1540-1596)
English sea captain who originally started as a ship’s boy. He worked for his cousins at the Hawkins merchant family and sailed with John Hawkins. He raided merchant ships until the Spanish navy attacked and he nearly died. Drake then worked as an independent contractor raiding Spanish and Portuguese ships. He also participated in legal and illegal trading with the Spanish.
Had support of Queen Elizabeth who eventually knighted him. Drake eventually defeated the Spanish Armada and became in charge of the British fleet.
Henry Morgan (1635-1688)
Originally worked as a privateer with intentions to attack and conquer the Spanish island of Hispaniola. He was not religious, received no education, came from a poor family, and signed up to be a soldier in 1654 on a secret expedition organized by the British government. The governor of Jamaica often hired him as a privateer. The King of England would explicitly tell Morgan and the governor not to attack Spanish ships because they were in the middle of negotiations or trade but they defied orders and attacked anyways. In 1669, the King overlooked defiance and gave Morgan a stake of land in Jamaica as a thank you for protection from pirate attacks.
Made Port Royal in Jamaica as the center of Buccaneer activity. The King had Morgan knighted and deputy governor of Jamaica with the main (ironic) job of exterminating pirates.
Yasef Rais (1553-1622)
Barbary Coast & Tunis
He was first a fisherman and then went into the royal navy which deserted to become a Mediterranean corsair. He commanded a band of 500 men that attacked Dutch, Venetian, and English ships. He came to North Africa for mostly political reasons as corsairing became illegal under the rule of James I. He changed his name to Yasef Rais (formerly John Ward) after converting to the Muslim faith. Due to his immense wealth from corsairing, he lived in a princely, magnificent state in Tunis.
One of the first known pirates to be elected by his crew as captain.