Pillaging the Empire

Pillaging the Empire : Global Piracy on the High Seas, 1500-1750

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Between 1500 and 1750, European expansion and global interaction produced vast wealth. As goods traveled by ship along new global trade routes, piracy also flourished on the world's seas. Pillaging the Empire tells the fascinating story of maritime predation in this period, including the perspectives of both pirates and their victims. Brushing aside the romantic legends of piracy, Kris Lane pays careful attention to the varied circumstances and motives that led to the rise of this bloodthirsty pursuit of riches, and places the history of piracy in the context of early modern empire building.

This second edition of Pillaging the Empire has been revised and expanded to incorporate the latest scholarship on piracy, maritime law, and early modern state formation. With a new chapter on piracy in East and Southeast Asia, Lane considers piracy as a global phenomenon. Filled with colorful details and stories of individual pirates from Francis Drake to the women pirates Ann Bonny and Mary Read, this engaging narrative will be of interest to all those studying the history of Latin America, the Atlantic world, and the global empires of the early modern era.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 252 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 15.24mm | 386g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • 2nd New edition
  • 2 Tables, black and white; 22 Illustrations, black and white
  • 0765638428
  • 9780765638427
  • 1,224,317

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Table of contents

List of Tables, Maps, and Figures

Preface and Acknowledgments

Preface for Second Edition

A Chronology of Early Modern Piracy in the Americas


1 Spain and the Sixteenth-Century Corsairs

2 Smugglers, Pirates, and Privateers: The Elizabethans

3 From the Low Countries to the High Seas: The Dutch Sea-Rovers

4 The Seventeenth-Century Caribbean Buccaneers

5 Buccaneers in the South Sea

6 The Last Buccaneers and Pirate Suppression


Appendix 1: Table of Early Modern Pirates and Contemporary European Monarchs

Appendix 2: Piracy in the South China Sea

Glossary of Terms

Select Bibliography


About the Author
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Review quote

Praise for the first edition:

"Lane has told this story with great verve, bringing alive the fabulous characters who were the buccaneers while also filling out the less well-known story of Spanish efforts at defense."

-Hispanic American Historical Review, Robert C. Ritchie, Huntington Library

"Kris Lane weaves a tale of pirate activities in the Americas and of Spanish responses to those activities that reveals aspects of pirate life and culture not usually addressed in the standard histories of Latin America. He demythologizes the pirates of popular culture and places them in their broader historical context....An intriguing, concise, and informative work that students are bound to enjoy."

-H-LatAm, H-Net Reviews, James E. Wadsworth, University of Arizona
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About Kris Lane

Kris Lane holds the France V. Scholes Chair in Colonial Latin American Historyat Tulane University. He is the author of Colour of Paradise: The Emerald in the Age of Gunpowder Empires and Quito 1599: City and Colony in Transition. He is currently writing a book on the colonial history of Potosi, Bolivia.
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