Willing to jump into a pirate adventure lacking Johnny Depp? Consider the History Channel’s “True Caribbean Pirates,” which tells dead man’s tales about Blackbeard, Black Bart and other pillagers and plunderers.
According to the two-hour program debuting 1 p.m. Sunday, piracy had its roots in the practice of “privateering,” in which nations lusting for New World riches used freelance private sailors instead of navies to counter dominant Spain in the Caribbean.
The lure of wealth tempted some to cross the line into piracy, but it was peace that really swelled the pirate ranks. With thousands of privateers and sailors out of work, the age of outlaw pirates was under way; even women, including Anne Bonny and Mary Read, joined in.
Among the more colorful details in the program: Blackbeard intimidated foes by placing burning rope beneath his hat to create a fearsome cloud of smoke; Nassau, Bahamas, became the site of a sort of all-pirate resort; the iconoclastic Black Bart Roberts conducted religious services but hanged an official from a ship yardarm.