Piracy in the Americas

This course treats the history of piracy in the Americas from European contact to the mid-eighteenth century, a period some historians call the “early modern.” The early modern period was marked by new ideas in science, medicine, and religion, and by advances in shipbuilding, mining, and artillery manufacture. It was also a time of endemic (often religious) strife, expansive empires, desperate searches for raw materials, and refractory fiefdoms. This may sound a bit like the world today, but as a reminder of how different this time was from our own, among Europeans and many others capital punishment was crude, gruesome, and vengeful. (Well, okay, not so much has changed.)