Piracy was at an all time high in between the 1600s and 1700s. The time from 1650 to 1730 was known as the Golden Age of Piracy. Pirates had already been around for centuries at that time, but piracy increased during this period due to the rise in valuable cargo being shipped to Europe, decreased European navy activity in certain areas, and corrupt government practices in European colonies.

Spanish Pirates in the 1700s

The Interdimensional Pirate: Destined for the High Seas takes place in the early 1700s. The pirate crew Marvin Quinn stumbles upon is a Spanish crew because Spain played a major role in piracy in the 1700s and 1800s.
Piracy in Spain did not begin with the voyages of Columbus, but his voyages encouraged the creation of the Spanish Main. The Spanish Main included the Caribbean basin and northern coast of South America. The Spanish Main started at the Isthmus of Panama and ended at the mouth of the Orinoco River. Several islands were included in this channel, like Trinidad and Margarita.

Known Spanish Pirates in the 1700s

One known Spanish pirate from the 1700s was Domino Lopez de Aviles. Aviles was sponsored by the governor of Cuba in 1737 to captain a ship and capture British ships. Avlies captured 10 British ships during his voyage.
Another known pirate of the 1700s was Juan Andres. Juan Andres captained a crew of runaway slaves and Native Americans from 1731-1733. He and his crew pillaged, plundered, and murdered their way along the Venezuelan coast, taking wares and treasures for themselves. The attacks in Venezuela ended because he moved his operations down to Curacao.

Length of a Pirate Voyage

The length of a pirate voyage could take anywhere from weeks to months at a time. Pirates sometimes would have to rely on attacking other ships to get supplies during these long voyages because they never knew when they would reach dry land. They had to rely on maps, compasses, and the sun, moon, and stars to navigate the vast seas.

Pirate Supplies

Pirates began each journey with a generous store of supplies. Fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, cheese, and water were hard to come by out on the ocean, and those supplies were usually the first to run out. Pirates also brought plenty of dried biscuits, salted meat, dried beans, rum, and beer to survive on once the fresh food and water ran out.
Sometimes, pirates would bring live animals onto the ship, like chickens or ducks, to have a consistent supply of protein. However, after many weeks or months at sea with no access to fresh meat, the animals would become food for the pirates.
Weapons, like guns, swords, knives, and spears, were a necessity for survival and were kept stocked on the ship. Gun powder, ammunition, and materials to repair weapons were also included in the ship’s supplies.
Pirates didn’t have the medical knowledge we have today to treat diseases and wounds, so many pirates died from scurvy and infection. However, pirates did have some limited medical supplies and did their best to keep their crew alive.

Pirate Hygiene

Hygiene in the 1700s wasn’t the greatest, and pirates had very poor hygiene. Although they had plenty of sea water, the salt content in the ocean can cause damage to your skin and hair, so bathing was rare. Oral health was poor among pirates, as most were deficient in vitamin C and suffering from scurvy. They also never brushed their teeth; the closest thing pirates had to a toothbrush was a chew stick, which was basically a piece of hard wood they chewed on.
Pirates were also fairly disgusting. Although they spent a lot of time cleaning during long voyages, pirate ships were filthy. Their ships were typically germ-infested, crawlings with rats, and riddled with worms and maggots. The bilge, where all the condensation and drainage from the ship collects, was usually a cesspool of bacteria and filth by the end of a voyage. 
Their toilets were either a plank at the bow (front) or stern (back) of the ship, or a bucket located somewhere below deck. Buckets were usually saved for bad weather, when the crew would be stuck below deck. The contents would be dumped overboard when the weather was better. Until the buckets could be dumped, the crew would have to live with the smell of their own urine and feces.
Pirates didn’t have soap or cleaning materials unless they had the supplies and know-how to make it themselves. Typical cleaning practices included burning sulfur pots to get rid of rats, bugs, and foul smells. They also tended to burn their trash.

Disposal of Bodies

In the age of piracy, which was brutal and full of bloodshed, there were lots of bodies that had to be disposed of. A burial at sea is typically done by dumping the body overboard into the sea. Pirates likely had a ritual they practiced to ensure no one was buried alive, such as wrapping the body in a hammock and sewing it up. The last stitch was likely sewn through the corpse’s nose to prevent live burials.
Sometimes, if the corpse belonged to an executed pirate, like the captain of an enemy ship, the body would be left to rot as a warning to other pirates, military ships, and anyone that posed a threat to the pirates.


The history of piracy in the 1700s is extensive. There are millions of articles, books, movies, and more about pirates, and it’s no wonder why. We will likely never fully grasp the life of piracy, but with the knowledge we do have, it’s clear that piracy was not for the faint of heart.

Want to learn more about pirates? Follow my blog! I’ll be posting a ton more articles about pirates that are relevant to new episodes of my series, The Interdimensional Pirate: Destined for the High Seas. Check it out today on Kindle Vella and use the form below to sign up for updates and much more!

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