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Patterns of Pillage

A Geography of Caribbean-based Piracy in Spanish America, 1536-1718


Peter R. Galvin

Patterns of Pillage offers a fresh, geographical perspective on the story of piracy in and around the Caribbean. It focuses on places associated with the sea rovers of Spanish America: routes, targets, hideaways, rendezvous, and island strongholds. Why did pirates - the likes of Francis Drake, Henry Morgan, and Blackbeard - haunt particular places? How did their spatial strategies develop and change over the centuries? Much of the explanation lies in geographic factors such as winds, ocean currents, coastal features, maritime bottlenecks, historical geopolitics, merchant traffic flow, and the distribution of natural resources. All contributed to patterns of piracy that connected the Caribbean Sea to the Gulf of Mexico, Cape Horn, and beyond.