Pirates: The Real History (The Great Courses Series)
What is the Pirates: The Real History Course?
In Pirates: The Real History, you'll find yourself looking at world history from a new point of view, realizing that much of what you've learned before could-and possibly should-be viewed through a more accurate, post-imperialistic filter. You will be exposed to new ways of thinking about global interactions, from the West Indies and the Red Sea to the North Atlantic and Indonesia, and beyond. You'll learn what inspires piracy, why it still flourishes today-and why women sometimes wielded the real power behind the scenes in an enterprise conducted almost exclusively by men.
What Is a Pirate?
Most of the average person's knowledge of piracy comes from pop-culture portrayals in literature and film. The truth is, we actually have very little reliable, first-hand information about pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries. The trial testimony, newspaper articles, and journal entries we do have lead us to believe the guns and the filth of pirate tales were certainly real, although much else was fiction. If we cannot identify pirates by their dress or speech-there was no common pirate language, contrary to portrayals in media-how can we identify them? We recognized pirates the same way we recognize any criminal today: by their behavior. But as you'll learn in this course, there were many types of pirates operating in different sections of the world, some of whom had the backing of a well-established government. Different types of sea-faring marauders include: Pirates, Buccaneers, Privateers, and Corsairs.
Taking a New Look at History
If you had to name some famous pirates right now, who would come to mind? Chances are you'd think of Long John Silver, Captain Jack Sparrow, and maybe Blackbeard (two of whom are fictional). But you probably would not think of the international explorers you learned about in history class. Sir Francis Drake, John Paul Jones, Christopher Columbus, Sir Walter Ralegh-pirates all, depending on your point of view. These privateers, sometimes known as "pirates with papers," were some of the first who sailed from Europe through the Atlantic to unknown lands, or even south from Europe along the coast of Africa, around into the Indian Ocean and into the Red Sea. The truth, of course, is that these lands were not "unknown" to the peoples who already lived there with their own culture, language, and commerce. Assignments address the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) Social Studies-History Standards.
This course is applicable towards the United States History Certificate.