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Piracy is a crime that people do on ships which are at sea. Pirate is the name given to those people. They usually have small and fast boats. They use these boats to attack other ships, which are usually large cargo ships.


The Jolly Roger flag is a well known symbol of Pirates

For as long as ships have sailed the sea, there have been pirates. From the Greeks, to the Romans, to the Middle Ages, to the British Empire, there have always been pirates. A lot of piracy happens in the Gulf of Aden, mostly by Somali pirates.

Modern times

Modern-day pirates usually climb onto ships to get money. In the process, they may kill the crew, or hold them for ransom. In a very few cases, they may also take over the ship and sell its cargo.

The cargo ships that travel the oceans are huge. They usually have very few crew members. (Crew is the name for all the people who work on a boat.) Since the ships are so big, they often carry a lot of money in the ship's safe. This money is used to pay the crew, and to pay for the taxes to stay at a port, or to pass through a channel.

Famous pirates

More reading

  • Deary, Terry (2008). Pirates (Horrible Histories Handbooks). Scholastic. ISBN 9780439955782