The Golden Age of Pirates is the era when smuggling and piracy thrived. Of course, how else would the pirates make any money on the items that they looted if they couldn’t successfully get the stolen loot on land and be safe and unnoticed by the authorities?

Golden Age of Smuggling

The act of importing goods into any country with unlawful means is smuggling, and this is done to avoid paying import taxes, to bring in goods that were illegal (what pirates were known for), and to avoid people asking where the products came from. During the Golden Age of Smuggling, pirates and smugglers were deeply involved in corruption with their goods, which involved port officials and governors. The authorities always looked the other way to all the smuggling that occurred and the small smugglers would import their goods to buyers who remained private, and this usually occurred late at night in quiet coves off the sea.

A Profession

The quartermaster and the pirate captain were professional smugglers during the 1690-1720’s. During this time is when piracy and smuggling was at its highest and this occurred on the North African and Caribbean coast. During the late 1720’s, pirate activity was being suppressed by officials and by the Royal Navy of Great Britain. Nevertheless while piracy became a thing of the past, smuggling continued.

Pirate Ship Looters

During the Golden Age of Piracy even legitimate and honorable merchants started waiting for pirate ships to arrive from the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and the Caribbean Sea to purchase spices, commodities, and silks from the smugglers. Pirate ship looters would make a grand profit from the loot that they took as they sold the loot at a low price, and then the merchants got a good bargain and deal. Many of the savvier pirates would just sell directly to the traders and cut out the middle man when they arrived on land as the pirates would smuggle in their loot along the North American coast and European coast, then sell their loot to the merchants.

Trading and Bartering

Pirates would trade and barter their loot before arriving on land, so they would avoid any chance of being captured. Pirate bartering was very popular for the pirates. The stolen loot would be bartered for food, drinks, weapons, and parts for their ship.

It is very clear that pirates were not just a menace on the seas. The pirates were actually great businessmen that traded, bartered, and sold their loot.