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Pirates of the Northern Seas and Scotland’s Oceanic Criminals

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Captain Kidd in New York Harbor by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1863 – 1930) (Public Domain)

Pirates of the Northern Seas and Scotland’s Oceanic Criminals

Pirates, maybe even more than mermaids and sea serpents, are the most fascinating and misunderstood entities of maritime history and while it is known today that mermaids were seals and giant serpents were the washed up carcasses of whales, the realities of piracy on the high seas is still enveloped in myths and legends.

            An Attack on a Galleon: illustration of pirates approaching a ship by Howard Pyle (1905) (Public Domain)

            An Attack on a Galleon: illustration of pirates approaching a ship by Howard Pyle (1905) (Public Domain)

Although Johnny Depp and Pirates of the Caribbean might be the archetypal impression of those swashbuckling oceanic criminals for the younger generation, the older generation may recall with nostalgia Peter Pan or Treasure Island, that populated childhood imaginations of yester year. Stepping beyond these popular depictions of pirates that do not necessarily follow historical fact, one is bound to ask: who were these ocean-bound criminals?


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