Pirates are not about buried treasure and maps leading to it

13 August 2022

It seems there’s a lot I don’t know about pirates, except they are the scourge of the oceans. What they are not about — among other things — is buried treasure, and hiding maps leading to the booty.

On the other hand, if you are an insider, there’s a code that both binds and protects. Pirate crews can also be egalitarian, with their leader being chosen by ballot, according to Rebecca Simon, a historian who studies pirates past and present.

Many pirate ships had rules called articles. Some articles prohibited drinking on board because alcohol could cause trouble. Gambling was usually banned, too. There were rules about compensation if someone suffered a severe injury such as losing an arm or a leg.