Pirates of the Indian Ocean: From ‘Golden Age of Piracy’ to Today

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Pirate – this word may frighten a number of people, but for the fashion lovers, it is a subject of fascination. The pirate clothes of the swashbucklers of the medieval/renaissance age or the fictional freebooters of the movies are the great fashion trends of today without any second thought.

But, the major inspirations are those historical raiders who have provided the stuff to the swashbuckler themed movies and games as well as to the fashion world. These pirates would plunder the ships or the coastal areas. Besides, the waters are not free from the raiders even in today’s scenario also. Today, the pirates are armed with the modern ammunitions, but their intent is same as of the historical swashbuckling types.

There are a number of places where these swashbucklers were active in history. Indian Ocean was also not free from the piracy. Even in the modern times, the piracy was prevalent in some areas of the Indian Ocean such as Somalia.

Some of the popular raiders of the Indian Ocean include:

George Booth: George Booth was an English pirate active in the late 17th century in the “golden age of piracy”. His early life is highly unknown. His career was first recorded as a gunner in 1696 in the crew of Pelican and later on in Dolphin. The period when he was active was the “golden age of piracy”. Both of them (Pelican and Dolphin) operated in the Indian Ocean. He died in 1700 AD.

John Bowen: John Bowen was the contemporary of George Booth and was also his successor. Bowen was highly successful. He took £170,000 in goods and coinage and finally he took the retirement to Bourbon for some period of time before his death in 1704.

Nathanial North: Nathanial North was born in Bermuda in 1671 and was active in Indian Ocean under John Bowen. He also captained Defiant and finally he took the retirement in 1704 with a lot of wealth. He got settled in Rajapura in India and married a local girl in 1709. But, he was murdered by her family.

Thomas Howard: Thomas Howard was also a pirate of the Indian Ocean in the golden age of piracy. He worked under the pirates like George Booth and John Bowen. Like Nathanial North, he also settled in Rajapura and married a local girl. He was murdered later on by her relatives.

Drik Chivers: Drik Chivers was a swashbuckler born in Netherlands and was active in Indian Ocean during 1690s. He finally retired from piracy and went back to Netherlands.

John Hasley: John Hasley has been praised a lot in “A General History of Pyrates” by Denial Defoe. He was actually a privateer in 1704-05.  When “letter of marque” was expired at that time, and John turned to piracy. He remained acted as a pirate in 1708. In 1708, he died out of fever.

Modern Pirates: In the modern times also, we can find the piracy in the Indian Ocean. Some modern swashbucklers attack the ships of distinct nations in the Indian Ocean. These raiders also demand ransoms. The modern pirates usually come from Somalia and Sumatra. Asad ‘Booyah’ Abdulahi is one of the famous names of Somalia pirates. He is active since 1998 and is involved in capturing ships for ransoms.

The long history of the raiders has undoubtedly made them popular and gave the stuff to the authors who have written the pirate history. Besides, the fame of pirate clothing fashion has also gained a huge success.


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