> Pirates, Corsairs...
> ...Buccaneers and Filibusters
> Some Names
dijous, 30 de març de 2006
From the 16th of March to the 15th of October, the Barcelona Maritime Museum, located at what was once the royal shipyards ('Drassanes'), is holding the 'Pirates' exhibition, an overview of the history of a phenomenon that is as old as navigation itself and which, even today, is still alive in some parts of the globe.
The exhibition shows how piracy evolved over time and is divided into four areas: 'The Ancient Era and Classical Antiquity', 'The Middle Ages', 'The Modern Age' and 'Piracy Today'. Set designs, reproductions, models and original pieces illustrate these four areas, which are completed with an educational area adapted for children.
The whole idea of the exhibition is to show the true scope of a condemnable criminal activity which has nevertheless become the stuff of legend. We must remember that piracy is nothing more than attacking and seizing ships and merchandise on the open sea or pillaging coastal settlements.
It is a practice that, as previously mentioned, still persists in some oceans, as witnessed by reports drawn up by the International Maritime Organisation and the International Maritime Bureau (a specialist section of the International Chamber of Commerce), which are working to eradicate it completely.
As explained in the 'Pirates' exhibition, historically the phenomenon of piracy has not been restricted to any specific area – it has stretched to any sea with a notable level of maritime traffic. Piracy was already around in the Mediterranean during the Egyptian, Phoenician, Etruscan and Greek periods and it created a lot of headaches for Ancient Rome, which managed to politically unify the northern and southern coasts of the sea that the Romans called Mare Nostrum (Our Sea). In the Middle Ages, the figure of the corsair thrived; on the basis of what was known as the Letter of Marque, they attacked enemy ships with the state's consent.
...Buccaneers and Filibusters
European 'discovery' of America, at the end of the 15th century, kicked off a new era in the history of piracy, which then centred mostly on attacks against Spanish ships laden with silver and different objects of value. Next, the Modern Era, a time of buccaneers and filibusters, which are also covered in the exhibition at the Maritime Museum. Of English, French and Dutch origin, these pirates were based in the Antilles– the centre of operations of their wicked deeds.
The most famous pirates or corsairs in history are from the Modern Era. In the Mediterranean, we had the feared Barbarossa brothers, who were active during the first half of the 16th century (in 1535, one of them, Khayr al-Din, commanded the sacking of Mahon, Menorca); and in American waters, we find names such as Francis Drake, John Hawkins, Henry Morgan and Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard...
> Bandolers i corsaris a Catalunya durant l'edat moderna.
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