Piracy Timeline


I have tried to gather most of the important events of piracy throughout history into a single time line. If you find that I have left something important out (and as this is a first run, I'm sure I have), please feel free to send me email using the link at the bottom of this page.

Assault on town or settlement
Pirates capture ship
Pirate executed

Year Location   Event
1400-1300 BC Mediterranean   Lukka sea raiders attack shipping from the coast of Asia Minor
1300-1200BC Mediterranean   Lukka sea raiders ally with Hittites
1220-1186BC Eastern Mediterranean   Area controlled by the 'Sea Peoples'
1000-900BC Mediterranean   Minoans overrun by Dorian Greeks using Cretan cities as pirate bases
700-600BC Mediterranean   Phoenician and Greek merchants attacked by pirates
500-400BC Mediterranean   Athenian navy attacks Greek pirate islands Kithnos, Mikonos and the Sporades
200-100BC Mediterranean   Carthaginian war distracts Rome, pirate communities grow
168BC Mediterranean   Rome annexes Illyria to curb piracy
67BC Mediterranean   Anti-pirate campaign by Roman general Pompey the Great eliminates Cilician sea raiders
220 Asia   End of the Han Dynasty, piracy flourishes
1200-1300 Europe   Reprisal contracts awarded to wronged European mariners and creates privateering
1203 Mediterranean   Venetians fail to clear pirate bases from Ionian Islands
1217 Europe   Eustace the Monk attacks shipping
1241 Europe   Hanseatic League formed by Baltic German cities to suppress piracy
c.1300 Europe   League of the Cinque Ports formed protect English Channel from pirates
1390 Mediterranean   French and English fleet sets out to do battle with African based corsairs
1392 Europe   Port of Bergen attacked by German pirates, Hanseatic League stunned
1573 Europe Henzlein and 32 of his crew beheaded for piracy
1400-1500 Mediterranean   Barbary pirates harass shipping
1400-1500 Asia   Ming Dynasty regains control of Chinese waters
c.1470 Mediterranean   Greek Barbarossa brothers are born
1500-1600 Asia   Increased trade between Asia and Europe attract pirates
1520 Mediterranean   Italian Ulaj Ali, born as Giovanni Dionigi
1523 Atlantic Jean Florin captures three Spanish ships returning from the Caribbean loaded with gold and jewels
1527 Europe Jean Florin captured and hanged as pirate
1530 Mediterranean   Knights of Malta are granted control of Malta by Emporer Charles V
1532 England   John Hawkins is born
1534 Mediterranean   Albanian Murat Rais is born
1540 England   Francis Drake is born
1544 Caribbean French Huguenot pirates capture and raze Cartagena
c.1550 Spanish Main Spanish treasure ships become prime targets for piracy
1554 Caribbean French Huguenot pirates led by Francios le Clerk capture Santiago, Cuba
1555 Caribbean French Huguenot pirates led by Jacques de Sores capture Havana, Cuba
1565 Caribbean Pedro de Menendez de Avilles, wipes out French settlement in St.Augustine, Florida
c.1570-90 Caribbean English attack Spanish shipping and colonies
1572 Caribbean Francis Drake captures Nombre de Dios, but is seriously wounded
1577 Caribbean   Queen Elizabeth provides financial backing for pirates raids on Spanish
1579 Pacific Francis Drake sacks Valparaiso, Chile
1579 Pacific Francis Drake captures Cacafuego treasure galleon
1586 Caribbean Francis Drake captures Santo Domingo, Hispaņola
1586 Caribbean Francis Drake captures Cartagena, Venezuela
1586 Caribbean Francis Drake captures St. Augustine, Florida
1595 Caribbean Francis Drake attacks Las Palmas, Canary Islands but is repulsed
1595 Caribbean Francis Drake attacks Puerto Rico but is repulsed
1595 Caribbean Francis Drake captures small towns in Venezuela
1595 Caribbean Francis Drake captures Nombre de Dios again
1596 Caribbean   Francis Drake dies of fever
c.1600 Caribbean   Rum invented by the Spanish in Barbados
c.1620 Caribbean French outlaws on Hispanola begin attacking Spanish shipping, the birth of buccaneers
1623-38 Caribbean Dutch capture about 500 Spanish and Portuguese ships
1625 England   Christopher Myngs is born
1627 Atlantic Jan Janssen captures Reykjavik, Iceland and enslaves 400 or more Icelanders
c.1630 Caribbean   Spanish fail to drive buccaneers off Tortuga Island
1641 Asia   Chih Lung accepts emporer's appointment as admiral and ends pirate career
1642 Caribbean William Jackson leads fleet that captures Maracaibo in December
1643 Caribbean William Jackson captures Santiago de la Vega, Spanish capital of Jamaica, in April
1643 Caribbean William Jackson captures Trujillo, Honduras
c.1650 Mediterranean   Barbary pirates begin to decline
c.1653 Caribbean French Jean "L'Olonnais" Nau begins to attack Spanish ships
1654 Caribbean   Dutch Rock Braziliano arrives at Port Royal, Jamaica
c.1655 Caribbean   Port Royal, Jamaica becomes a haven for buccaneers
c.1655 Caribbean   Portuguese Bartolomeo arrives at Port Royal, Jamaica
c.1658 Caribbean Christopher Myngs burns Tolu, Columbia
c.1658 Caribbean Christopher Myngs captures Cumano, Puerto Caballos and Coro in Venezuela
1662 Caribbean   Henry Morgan receives privateering commission
1662 Caribbean Christopher Myngs captures Santiago, Cuba
1663 Caribbean Christopher Myngs captures San Francisco in the Bay of Campeche
1666 Atlantic   Christopher Myngs killed by Dutch cannonball during the Four Days' Battle
1667 Caribbean Jean David Nau captures Maracaibo and Gibralter, Venezuela
1668 Caribbean Henry Morgan captures Porto Bello
1669 Caribbean Henry Morgan captures Maracaibo and Gibralter, Venezuela
c.1670 Caribbean Jean David Nau captures Puerto Caballos
c.1670 Caribbean Jean David Nau captures San Pedro
1670 Caribbean   Spain and England sign Treaty of Madrid and buccaneering raids decline
1671 Caribbean Henry Morgan captures Panama
1674 Caribbean   Henry Morgan is knighted
1678 Caribbean Michel de Grammont captures Trujillo
1680 Caribbean Thomas Paine and Jan Willems sack Rio de la Hacha
1680 Caribbean Michel de Grammont captures La Guaira, Venezuela
1683 Caribbean Michel de Grammont and Dutch Laurens de Graff attack Vera Cruz
1685 Caribbean Michel de Grammont and Dutch Laurens de Graff capture and burn Campeche, Mexico
1688 Caribbean   Henry Morgan dies
1689 Caribbean Jean Du Casse and Baron Jean de Pointis capture Cartagena
1689 Caribbean   William Kidd first noticed as member of buccaneer crew
c.1690-1730 Caribbean, Atlantic, Indian   The Golden Age of Piracy
1694 Atlantic Henry Every leads mutiny aboard privateer and begins pirate career
1695 Indian   Thomas Tew killed in battle with Arab ship
c.1700 Caribbean, Atlantic, Indian   Widespread usage of 'Jolly Roger' flags
1701 England William Kidd executed
1714 Europe   End of the War of the Spanish Succession, privateers switch over to piracy
c.1714 Caribbean   New Providence in the Bahamas becomes a base for pirates
1716 Caribbean   Edward Teach arrives in New Providence and joins the crew of Benjamin Hornigold
1717 Caribbean   Stede Bonnet turns to piracy
1717 Caribbean   Woodes Rogers, ex-privateer made governor of New Providence
1717 New England   Samuel Bellamy and crew drown after running ship aground
1718 New England Blackbeard blockades Charleston, South Carolina
1718 Caribbean   Charles Vane escapes New Providence on arrival of Woodes Rogers
1718 Atlantic   Blackbeard dies in battle with lieutenant Maynard near Ocracoke
1718 New England Stede Bonnet tried for piracy and hanged
1719 Guinea   Howell Davis dies in ambush on Principe
1720 Caribbean Charles Vane tried for piracy and hanged
1720 Caribbean Jack Rackham, Anne Bonny and Mary Read tried for piracy, Rackham is hanged
1720 Indian Edward England captures English East Indiaman
1722 Atlantic   Bartholomew Roberts killed in battle with English warship
1729 Indian   African Kanhoji Angria dies and is succeeded by his sons Sumbhaji and Mannaji
1747 Europe   John Paul Jones is born
1775 Atlantic   Beginning of American Revolution, privateering flourishes
c.1800 Mediterranean   Barbary pirates still operating, but only in small groups
1803 Mediterranean, Atlantic, Caribbean   Napoleonic Wars begin, privateering flourishes
c.1807 Asia   Ching Yih forms pirate confederation numbering over 600 ships and 150,000 men
1812 Atlantic   Beginning of the War of 1812, privateering flourishes
c.1812 Caribbean   Jean and Pierre Laffite begin operations near New Orleans
c.1820 Caribbean   U.S. and British navies all but eliminate piracy in the Caribbean
1820 Caribbean   U.S. navy clears pirates from Galviston Bay, they move to Cuba
1821 Caribbean   David Porter forms anti-pirate squadron
1827 Atlantic Portuguese Benito de Soto takes over slave ship and turns to piracy
1833 Caribbean   Don Pedro Gibert captured by the British and tried in the U.S.
1849 Asia   British navy eliminates Shap-'ng Tsai's pirate fleet in Hongha river delta
c.1850 Asia   European navies eliminate organized piracy in Far East and China

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