Review:- ‘Suppressing Piracy in the Early Eighteenth Century: Pirates, merchants and British imperial authority in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans’ by D. Wilson

By Jeremy Land, published May 2022

Abstract

Testing the traditional narrative of a stateled effort by Britain to eradicate piracy in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans in the first few decades of the eighteenth century, David Wilson questions the archive and finds a different story than the one commonly accepted in the historiography. Rather than focus on the imperial record, Wilson utilizes the archives and sources from throughout the Atlantic to determine whether there was a concerted effort by the Royal Navy and British government to suppress the pirates that roamed the Caribbean, the Atlantic, and Indian Oceans causing significant losses to the growing maritime commerce of the early modern world. Instead of finding a unified, state-led campaign, Wilson argues that piracy was suppressed only through disjointed and largely privately or colonial funded naval efforts to discourage and capture the pirates who, for decades, made maritime trade dangerous and risky…

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Filed under: Atlantic | Eighteenth Century | Pirates | Indian Ocean | Caribbean
Subjects include: Pirates, Corsairs & Privateers | Strategy & Diplomacy

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