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CaptionA privateer or corsair was similar in method but had a commission or a letter of marque from a government or king to capture merchant ships belonging to an enemy nation. The famous Barbary Corsairs of the Mediterranean were privateers as were the Maltese Corsairs who were authorized by the Knights of St. John. The letter of marque was recognized by international law and meant that a privateer could not be charged with piracy although this was often not enough to save them. The letter of marque was banned under international law in 1854. The difference between a privateer and a pirate was a subtle often invisible one and the issuance of letters of marque and reprisal to private parties was banned for the signatories of the Declaration of Paris in 1856. The United States was not a signatory and is not bound by that Declaration but did issue statements during its internal 1861-65 War of Secession and during its 1898 war against Spain that it would abide by the principles of the Declaration of Paris for the duration of the hostilities. Privateering was an age-old practice on both sides of the Mediterranean. North African rulers engaged in it increasingly in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century because it was so lucrative and because their merchant vessels formerly a major source of income were not permitted to enter European ports. This was considerably boosted after Spain gave their non-Christian population a choice between conversion death or exile in 1492 1502 and 1526 when most Spanish Muslims and Jews found their way to North African ports; mostly destitute and bearing a strong grudge against Spain they flocked to the profession of privateering in large numbers. Although the methods varied privateering generally involved private vessels raiding the ships of an enemy in peacetime under the authority of a ruler. Its purposes were to disrupt an opponent's trade and to reap rewards from the captives and cargo.
HeadlineMaltese Corsairs were authorized by the Knights of St. John but it was a brand of piracy that eventually saw their letter of marque banned under international law in 1854.
Keywordspirates Naval-combat
Copyright NoticeBarbary pirates by wikipedia
URLhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbary_pirates
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pirates_knights.jpg 34 Kb 03/21/2005 87 5.00 (1 votes)

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