Pirates have been a part of human history since sea traders were first established. They have caused fear and destruction with their thefts of weak and solitary ships, in the vastness of the ocean, unable to be defended against them. Piracy was at its peak in the 16th century and remained active well into the 17th and 18th centuries. One infamous pirate was Edward Teach, known by his famous moniker Blackbeard, who struck fear into many with his terrifying presence; lighting matches under his hat to add to effect. Born in Bristol, England in 1680, he had attained such power that he even had a hold over the governance of Carolina. But fate caught up with him and he met his end by beheading in 1718.
Throughout time, most pirates were men who lived on the fringes of society for one reason or another; but not all pirates were men! Anne Bonny ran away from home as a young woman with a sailor, creating her own bad reputation before abandoning him to become a pirate herself. She then stole a ship alongside her new companion which they used to capture vessels, among them being Mary Read – another female pirate disguised as a boy. Both women fought bravely at sea until they were sentenced to hang; however both escaped death as they both pleaded to be pregnant and avoided execution that way.
In certain cases there also existed privateers; these people did much of what pirates did but they had official authorization from governments for their deeds. One famous privateer was Sir Francis Drake who worked under Queen Elizabeth I herself as an instrument of war for her command. To this day piracy still exists despite global efforts against it and one can learn more about its history through watching documentaries such as this one – exploring its trail through time right up until now!